A tough weekend ended on a much happier tone for Alex Dumas, as he closed out the year with a start-to-finish victory in race three of the GP Bikes Pro Superbike class at the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship finale at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
With nothing but pride and stats left to play for in the last race of the year after the Canada Cup and Constructors Championship were clinched on Saturday, Dumas jumped out to an early lead on lap one and paced an exciting four-rider battle for majority of the contest, holding off champion Ben Young the entire way.
The victory was dominant but hardly easy, as Young followed close behind his rival for all 14 laps while both outlasted an early assault from Trevor Dion and Jordan Szoke.
Though the victory won’t make Dumas forget the crash that ruined his championship hopes on Friday, the Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki rider showed plenty of excitement – and perhaps relief – as he ended the weekend with a win.
“It’s been a hard weekend. Not at all the weekend we wanted, so it’s good to at least end it on a high note,” an emotional Dumas said. “I have to thank the team for putting together a really good program, and one that didn’t plan on being second. But it’s always nice to win the last race of the season, so now we’ll see what we can do next year.”
Dumas was back to his usual self on Sunday after an uncharacteristic stretch of rough performances, earning back some momentum he hopes will carry over into 2024.
As for Young, it was a quiet end to his spectacular 2023 comeback, making no attempt at an overtake as he followed Dumas start-to-finish to claim second. The Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW star didn’t necessarily need to add anything to his season resumé, though, after scoring five consecutive victories to clinch the championship on Saturday.
“Alex rode incredible today, and we knew he was going to be strong, so I didn’t really want to end the year by throwing myself down the road,” Young laughed. “We got what we came here for, so it was just risk vs reward today.”
While Dumas has made no illusions about his future, committing to his goal of recapturing the Canada Cup, the same cannot be said of Young after the three-time champ was coy about his 2024 plans.
“We’ll see. It’s tough to say, because there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than people realize, but we’re going to take it one step at a time,” Young said.
Regardless of what happens in the offseason, the era of Dumas vs Young already showed signs of being threatened this weekend, thanks in large part to the breakthrough performances of rookie Trevor Dion.
Piloting the Economy Lube and Tire/LDS Consultants Ducati for the first time this round, he completed the hat-trick of podiums on Sunday by claiming another third-place finish, though this was the most impressive one yet as he challenged Dumas and Young for the lead throughout the middle portion of the race.
“To finish the weekend up here on the box again is incredible, but what makes it even better is proving to myself that I can ride a Superbike at the front with these guys,” Dion said. “It’s been a tough year at times, but this Ducati has been a dream come true. I’m speechless.”
The 48-point weekend also proved to be more than enough to swing the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year fight in his favour, as he clinched the award by moving to sixth in the overall championship, 17 points clear of John Fraser and Paul Macdonell.
Dion’s latest performance came after an exciting early battle with Jordan Szoke, as the pair of former teammates briefly traded places a couple of times before Dion made the move stick in turn three at the halfway point.
Szoke would settle in to a spectacular fourth, though, enough to secure the same spot for him in the championship as the 14-time champion ended a resilient year with top-five finishes in each of the eight races in which he took the chequered flag – also taking home the FAST School Hard Charger award for his efforts on Sunday.
The Canadian Kawasaki rider is expected to return for a 25th season in the Superbike class after celebrating his 150th career feature class race on Sunday, but admitted it’s not as guaranteed as years past.
“I’m an old racer still trying to make it happen,” Szoke joked. “I feel like I’m riding well, and it’s been a great end to the year for me. We’re taking some positive turns for 2024, so we’ll see how things go in the next few months.”
Rounding out the top-five for another day in a row was Sam Guerin, who this time avoided any setbacks on the back-straightaway but was caught up in another familiar battle with Trevor Daley.
Guerin managed to retaliate on Daley’s last-lap pass in the hairpin and put his EFC Group BMW fifth, a discreet end to his spectacular season as he finishes third in the championship, while Daley put in another superhuman effort to salvage sixth despite riding with a broken femur on his OneSpeed Suzuki.
Paul Macdonell would wind up seventh and add a bit of hardware to end the day, helping earn the Team of the Year award for the Acme Motorsports Yamaha crew in his first CSBK season.
The feature class will now get a deserved break as they enter the 2023-24 offseason, one that could be full of changes amongst the Pro Superbike stars following a wild and thrilling Bridgestone CSBK campaign.
Full results from the entire season can now be found on the series’ official website at CSBK.ca.