By John Hopkins
MONT-TREMBLANT, Que. – Christmas came early for Mopar Canadian Superbike star Jodi Christie at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant on Friday.
The Keene, Ont. racer took his first official laps on board his Honda CBR1000RR Superbike, which he expects to use in the feature class for the remainder of the 2012 season.
The Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies-backed rider ended a damp first day with the fastest time in the Pro Superbike class, a 1:57.384. He turned the time in the morning session, in which conditions were slightly better than the afternoon, which was plagued with steady rain.
“The handling’s great and it definitely feels comfortable off the bat,” Christie said. “I think we’ve got a good base set-up. If qualifying tomorrow is held in the rain I think we’ll be able to work through that.”
Up to this point in the season Christie has been running a smaller Honda CBR600RR in the Superbike class, but although he could be somewhat competitive with the true Superbikes at tighter tracks like Autodrome St-Eustache and Atlantic Motorsport Park, he wouldn’t stand a chance against them on high speed circuits like Mont-Tremblant and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which concludes the season in two weeks.
“We plan to use the Superbike for the rest of the season,” explained Christie, who is currently fourth in the Superbike standings after a brilliant ride to second spot at AMP in the previous round. “I’d like to be able to use the traction control to my advantage, even though I’m completely new to it.”
Christie’s early pace was also impressive given that this is his first visit to the fast and flowing, 4.26km Mont-Tremblant circuit, which last hosted a Superbike national in 2007.
“The whole track flows together nicely and I enjoy riding here,” Christie added. “I rode a lot on my 600 in the rain here yesterday, and I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a day of riding in the rain so much.”
The wet weather conditions on Friday shook up the running order in the Superbike class, while some of the heavy hitters stayed on the sidelines.
Rookie Samuel Proulx of Magog, Que. was second fastest to Christie with a time of 1:57.415 on his Team Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR and Warman, Sask.’s Bodhi Edie had the third best time of 1:57.495 with the Edie Racing / Blue Streak / Fast Company BMW S1000RR. The top three all set their times in the morning session.
Francois Dumas of St-Raymond, Que. had the quickest time in the afternoon on his Team Dumas Superbike / boulangeriedumas.com BMW S1000RR, a 1:57.827, which put him fourth overall for the day.
Mopar Pro Superbike points leader Jordan Szoke didn’t venture out at all on Friday with the Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR, while his closest title rival, Andrew Nelson, only ran in the morning session, setting the fifth best time overall of 1:57.906 on his Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR.
Szoke leads Nelson by 35 points, 151-116 in the class standings.
Christie wasn’t able to duplicate his Pro Superbike heroics in the K&N Performance Filters Pro Sport Bike class. His 2:01.599 was just topped by Belfountain, Ont.’s Kenny Riedmann, who recorded a 2:01.118 on the Riedmann Racing / Sturgess Cycle Triumph 675. This is Riedmann’s first national appearance of the season, as he has focused on the AMA SportBike class in the U.S.
In his first racing appearance in two years James Collins of Kaladar, Ont. was third fastest on his Acme Slate Yamaha YZF-R6 with a 2:05.864. Collins regularly tunes for Frank Trombino, but the Kleinburg, Ont. racer is absent this weekend.
Philippe Masse of St-Hyacinthe, Que. was quickest in practice for the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike class with a time of 2:02.286 on his racingphil.com / Pete’s Superbike Kawasaki ZX-6R, while Gatineau, Que.’s Tim Robinson led Bazzaz Amateur Superbike with a 1:55.834 on his Robinson Racing / Gym-Max BMW S1000RR. As with all classes on Friday, the best Amateur times came in the morning, when conditions were marginally better than in the afternoon.
Toronto’s Michael Taylor paced the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada XR1200 Cup for the Mackie Harley-Davidson team, turning a lap at 2:02.162. The Ruthless Racing duo of John Ross MacRae and Darren James were second and third, respectively, while points leader Steve Crevier had the fourth best time.
Points leader Ryan Roche of Pickering, Ont. set the best time in the Honda CBR250R National Race Series class with a 2:25.695.
Qualifying in all classes is set for Saturday, along with the first of two Honda CBR250R races.