By John Hopkins
SHANNONVILLE, Ont. – Defending national champions Jodi Christie and Steve Crevier made strong starts in their bids to repeat during qualifying for the opening round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Saturday.
Christie claimed pole in the K&N Performance Filters Pro Sport Bike class with a time of 1:05.605 on his Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR. Later in the afternoon, Crevier recorded a 1:10.402 to earn the Tactical Products Canada Pole Award in the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada XR1200 Cup.
Christie was on top virtually throughout the 25-minute Pro Sport Bike qualifying session, although he put in his best lap near the end as he tried to withstand a late surge by his chief rival Frank Trombino.
“John [Sharrard of Accelerated Technologies] made a few suspension adjustments after yesterday so I was confident going into qualifying,” said the Keene, Ont. racer, who took his first career Pro national title in last year’s Sport Bike chase. “We only had three laps of practice to try things out this morning because of the rain, but the bike felt good.
“I didn’t have a big cushion on Frank near the end, and I wanted to open the gap, so I went back out to try and go a little quicker.”
Trombino wound up second on the grid with a time of 1:05.777 on the 725 Sports / Acme Slate Suzuki GSX-R600.
“The bike is the best it’s going to get but as a rider I’ve got to find a bit more,” said the Kleinburg, Ont. veteran, who was fastest in practice on Friday. “I tried some different lines, and sliding it in the corners instead of hanging the tail out. The guys from 725 have done a great job of setting the bike up and I did my best laps here on a 600 today. I’m aging well, like good wine.”
Third quickest was Raphael Archambault on the Team Archambault Racing / Picotte Motorsports / G Suspension Suzuki GSX-R600 with a time of 1:06.170.
“We’re still struggling out of the hairpin, not getting good drive,” the Terrebonne, Que. youngster admitted. “But overall this was one of my best qualifying sessions ever.”
Completing the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race is fastest rookie Pro Aubrey Bailey of Parry Sound, Ont., who recorded a 1:06.759 on his ProStar Motorsports Honda CBR600RR.
Fifth quickest in qualifying was another rookie, Amzy Nawaz of Thornton, Ont. on the Velocity Sportsgear Kawasaki ZX-6R with a time of 1:07.230. Completing the slender grid on Sunday will be Beaconsfield, Que.’s Michael Leon on the Royal Distributing Honda CBR600RR and the Team Couturier Racing / Centre Hamel Honda CBR600RR of Ste-Marthe, Que.’s Louie Raffa.
In the XR1200 Cup class, Crevier was not completely happy on the MotoSport Plus-backed entry despite turning a lap almost a second quicker than his nearest pursuers, the Ruthless Racing duo of Darren James and John Ross MacRae.
“We’re searching for power,” the six-time national Superbike champion explained. “It’s working in the turns but I think we can get better bump off of the corners.”
Crevier received a prize pack of Luminox products from Tactical Products Canada for his performance, valued at $700.
North Vancouver’s James turned in a lap at 1:11.345 while his young teammate, Calgarian MacRae, recorded a 1:11.718.
There was some bad blood between the Ruthless riders and Crevier, however, over allegations of blocking during the qualifying session. James accused Crevier of checking up twice on he and MacRae in turn one, while Crevier argued that he had tried to let them through initially and then proceeded to take his normal line.
Fourth quickest in XR1200 Cup qualifying was two-time Superbike champion Michael Taylor of Toronto, who recorded a 1:12.014 on his Mackie Harley-Davidson entry. Elie Daccache of Newcastle, Ont. qualified fifth but was docked a position for coming in underweight in post race tech, so he was dropped to sixth behind the Maritime Harley Dealers entry of Blaise Fougere.
Seventh quickest was multi time Canadian Flat Track champion Don Taylor of Port Colborne, Ont. with a time of 1:15.910.
Pro Sport Bike Qualifying Results
1.Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR600RR, 1:05.605
2. Frank Trombino, Kleinburg, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:05.777
3. Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, Que., Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:06.170
4. Aubrey Bailey, Parry Sound, Ont., Honda CBR600RR, 1:06.759
5. Amzy Nawaz, Thornton, Ont., Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:07.230
6. Michael Leon, Beaconsfield, Que., Honda CBR600RR, 1:07.665
7. Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que., Honda CBR600RR, 1:07.922
XR1200 Cup Qualifying Results
1.Steve Crevier, Maple Ridge, B.C., 1:10.402
2. Darren James, North Vancouver, B.C., 1:11.345
3. John Ross MacRae, Calgary, Alta., 1:11.718
4. Michael Taylor, Toronto, Ont., 1:12.014
5. Blaise Fougere, Dartmouth, N.S., 1:14.407
6. Elie Daccache, Newcastle, Ont., 1:12.497*
7. Don Taylor, Port Colborne, Ont., 1:14.407
8. Eric Trudel, St-Pierre, Que., 1:18.229
9. Patrick Chartrand, Mississauga, Ont., 1:19.258
10. Gump Harrison, Ailsa Craig, Ont., 1:21.347
*-Penalized one position for being under weight limit
All riders aboard Harley-Davidson XR1200 motorcycles