Last weekend, the 2022 CSBK National Championship returned to Grand Bend Motorplex for the first time since 2019, as the Championship works to return to a new normal. A strong turn out and mixed weather produced intense competition, with more pace at the front than expected.
YOUNG ALMOST PERFECT
Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW Motorrad pilot Ben Young won two races during the seven round 2021 campaign, and he has already matched that total for 2022 thanks to a near perfect effort at Grand Bend.
The only missing component was BS Batteries Pole Position, and Young was close in that department too – but few expected the LDS Consultants BMW of local ace Trevor Dion set a new outright track lap record.
After working through some minor rear wheel issues while switching Dunlop slicks in the busy pit lane, Dion went 1:02.3 to net Pole, an amazing achievement for the 20-year-old entering his first Feature race.
Young was next at 1:03.0, a time that would be a record expect for Dion’s amazing lap – .7 of a second better than Young over a short lap was a remarkable effort. Although Young played it down, he was not actually on his latest BMW, and should be in even better shape when the tour reconvenes for Round Two at Calabogie next month.
DUMAS NOT DOWN, NOT OUT
Reigning National #1 Alex Dumas of the Patrice Goyette-lead Liqui Moly/FAST Riding School Suzuki team was supposed to struggle at Grand Bend, since he had never visited the former World War Two airbase-based circuit.
However, Dumas proved a quick study, even if he was caught out by just how much the lap record dropped during Friday’s crucial forty-minute-long BS Batteries Pole session.
In Saturday’s opening race, Dumas didn’t have ultimate pace, but worked his way through to get a solid second, although he was no longer atop the series points standing, the first time that had happened in almost a year!
Sunday, Dumas was aggressive from the Start Lights and battled Young for the lead, winding up second when traffic didn’t break his way. While Dumas is behind in points, it seems likely that when the two races at Calabogie are compete, the established sparing partners Young and Dumas are more-or-less tied in the standings.
DION’S BIG DAY
Dion had a breakthrough event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last August, but that was in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike middleweight division.
At home at Grand Bend, Dion was busy with both his Sport Bike Kawasaki and Feature class BeeMm, and clearly comfortable on both.
The amazing BS Batteries pole effort probably put some undue pressure eon Dion, but he earned his first National win in the first Pro event on the program, Saturday’s Pro Sport Bike opener.
That division is now missing ace and number one Sebastien Tremblay’s class standard Turcotte Kawasaki, and a number of young Canuks are eager to fill the middleweight gap created by “The Shaker’s” departure.
At Grand Bend, Dion and fellow Kawasaki pilot David McKay were the pace setters, and McKay’s fall in the Carousel after Saturday’s restart meant Dion had a clear run to his inaugural success. 2019 Champ Will Hornblower, fresh from a testing crash early in the week at Calabogie, might have been able to mount a challenge, but he, too, tumbled.
On Sunday, several aces were looking to make up for a bad outing Saturday, and none delivered more than McKay, who broke through to earn his first career Pro National success.
Runner-up in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike last year and comfortable at Calabogie, it could well be that McKay mounts a challenge to Dion’s points edge.
HORNBLOWER’S BIG RETURN
Hornblower’s 2019 title campaign was legendary, and his title popular in the paddock: Will is certainly a man of the people, and good with a yarn. He almost raced with his hard-won number one plate in 2020, only to fall in a rainstorm during the warm-up lap at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Last year was a wash due to a shoulder injury at the start of the season, so Grand Bend really did mark a return for the Yamaha ace.
Hornblower had a weird, lost his balance, almost got it back crash Saturday, and claimed that he would have to take in easy and just get some points Sunday.
Instead, he pressured McKay, and came up just short (inches) at the finish line for the race two win. That meant that Hornblower made it to the podium and entertained the crowd with his unique take on motorsports competition.
Hornblower is getting married in the fall and has long considered moving up to the Feature class. Let’s hope he has a couple of more serious campaigns, including one aboard a 1000cc machine, in his future.
Trevor Daley has been busy helping build other people’s race bikes this spring but came to Grand Bend with his OneSpeed Suzuki recently updated and fully prepared.
Daley packs a lot of action into every session, and Grand Bend was no different – to watch Daley was to enjoy a one man highlight reel.
After some Feature race drama, including an amazing Sunday near miss that should make for good viewing shortly on TSN, Daley earned a fourth and a third, meaning he is in serious contention, points wise.
He was a star at the daunting Atlantic Motorsport Park back in 2019, and the July 23-24 races on the east coast would be another chance to watch Daley’s all-in attack on a tight track.
When the Canadian Superbike Championship was first broadcast on TSN in 1995, the Director of Photography for the five episodes was Michael Brown, a veteran sports shooter with Olympic experience.
Now semi-retired, ‘Brownie’ lives in Grand Bend and came to shoot the races, his first CSBK gig in over a decade.
After catching up with some old friends, CSBK’s current D.O.P. Cameron McFadyen is working to get Brown to work at “old Mosport” for the final 2022 event in August.