The Canadian Superbike Championship returns for more thrilling action in round two at Calabogie Motorsports Park, and with it comes more opportunities for the five wide-open support classes to steal the show this weekend, July 9-10.
The biggest spotlight amongst them is on the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, where emerging star Trevor Dion carries a slim 12-point advantage into the second-round doubleheader over Elliot Vieira and just another point clear of David MacKay.
Dion made plenty of headlines for his Pro Superbike efforts in Grand Bend as he produced a historic rookie debut while “doing the double” in the two Pro categories, but it was his performance in the Sport Bike class that he will likely be more pleased with as he won race one and followed it up with a third-place finish in race two.
His home track advantage gave him the early benchmark he needed, especially given Dion’s lack of experience at Calabogie. The LDS Consultants Kawasaki rider has yet to appear at the track as a Pro, and in fact has not raced at CMP since his Lightweight days back in 2019, a key story to watch as he hopes to exit the first four races with a championship lead intact.
The betting favourite on race days may instead be Vieira, something the former Guyanese champion has likely not heard in some time. The Snow City Yamaha rider has made steady progress since moving to Canada in 2017, but luck has rarely gone Vieira’s way – most notably last season in Calabogie when he suffered a mechanical failure whilst pushing Sebastian Tremblay for the win.
That performance was especially notable as it represented one of the only legitimate challenges to Tremblay, who bagged a perfect season en route to the title. With the reigning champion now out of the picture, good luck may be all that stands in Vieira’s way of a first career Pro national victory.
Benefitting most from that mechanical issue a year ago was MacKay, who went on to finish second in the race and the championship overall. The disappointment of a race one DNF at his home track will still sting, but a race two victory has kept the Fast Company Kawasaki rider firmly in the title mix with six races to go.
With consistency proving to be key in the support classes, this weekend could be especially crucial for MacKay, who has proven to be a sure-fire podium threat at every track on the calendar. The same could almost be said of Hornblower, but the fourth-place runner in the championship has yet to score national points at Calabogie, putting the pressure on the 2019 champion and Bickle Racing Yamaha rider this weekend.
Another name to watch out for in ‘Bogie will be the return of Phillippe Masse, who finished third in the overall standings a year ago thanks to podiums in both CMP rounds (and three of four races overall). Masse did not contest round one in Grand Bend, but has continued his local dominance in the Pro 6 GP regional series and will look to carry that momentum back onto the podium this weekend.
As for the Amateur ranks, a familiar name will look to overcome two differing rivals, as Julien Lafortune leads the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike class and Sebastian Hothaza paces the Amateur Sport Bike category – both ahead of Nathan Playford.
Lafortune got the better of Playford in the opening round at Calabogie last season, qualifying on pole position and eventually finishing third for Kawasaki, while Playford could only muster seventh aboard his Honda, but both riders have shown increased pace to begin the 2022 campaign.
However, both may have to deal with the return of local BMW star Guillaume Lavalee, who finished second in both races at Calabogie last season and has continued his expertise in the Pro 6 GP series.
As for in the Sport Bike category, its Hothaza who will carry a slim lead over Playford, but the Grand Bend local is questionable for round two in Calabogie. Regardless, Playford may be the overwhelming favourite to take over the title chase, having finished third in round one at CMP last season and running at the front again in round three before crashing out.
The most wide-open class remains the Super Sonic Race School Lightweight category, even if the round one results would suggest otherwise. Championship leader Evan Moriarity dominated Grand Bend with pole position and a pair of victories, but a win at the recent Pro 6 GP event has been his only ever experience at Calabogie.
His biggest challenger may be Kawasaki veteran Jacob Black, who finished second in all four races he finished last season but had his championship challenge ruined by a pair of crashes. Black has continued his strong form regionally at Calabogie, and remains just six points off second in the national championship through round one.
As for the Pro/Am ranks, the inaugural series will head to CMP for the first time after a successful debut weekend in round one. Jared Walker will lead the Pro ranks after a pair of overall victories, though his two closest competitors, Istvan Hidvegi and Harvey Renaud, both have far more experience around the Calabogie circuit.
The Amateur division will carry the closest margin of any class into round two, as Vincent Wilson leads Grant Nesbitt by just a single point. Nesbitt would be the more experience of the pair at Calabogie, though both will have to contend with Black at the front in the combined series.
The full schedule of the support class action can be found on the series’ official website.