Just as the gap began to close atop the GP Bikes Pro Superbike series, Alex Dumas made sure to blow the doors right off it.
The championship leader again mastered a damp track on Sunday, winning in dominant fashion to close out the second round of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship at the Grand Bend Motorplex, presented by Goderich Toyota.
While it was a full-wet showing in round one for Dumas, this time he conquered the feature class in mixed conditions, avoiding the chaos in a crash-filled race two that forced many stars into costly errors – including reigning champion and title rival Ben Young.
Attempting to navigate a tricky surface on his ‘B’ rain bike, Young didn’t even make the start after crashing on the warmup lap, remounting to enter the pits and hop onto his dry ‘A’ bike.
As for the on-track action, it initially looked as though Dumas could come under threat from another Suzuki as Trevor Daley got a rocket launch, closing quickly on the 2021 title winner as he eyed his first career Pro Superbike victory.
However, Daley’s charge appeared to be over after a fast crash in the final turn, the last time anyone would even be close to Dumas as he began to stretch out a massive lead – at one point as large as 27 seconds – scoring a decisive third victory in four races.
As for Young, the Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider would rejoin three laps down and salvage a lonely eleventh-place finish (thanks in large part to retirements ahead of him), watching as Dumas’ title advantage ballooned to a staggering 36 points.
“I actually felt really good out there. I knew someone was with me at the start, but I was able to put my head down and manage the gap to the end,” Dumas said. “It sucks for Ben, but it’s huge points for the championship.”
The Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki rider will still have work to do with seven races remaining on the calendar, though he has put Young on the backfoot in thus far the most emphatic fashion during their rivalry, albeit helped by bad luck for the two-time feature class champion.
As for the chaos behind Dumas, absolutely no order looked set in stone during the 20-lap battle, with eight different riders running in podium places at some point in the race.
In the end, though, it was local star Chris Pletsch who managed to outlast the drama, picking up his first career pro national Superbike podium in just his second start and making his Stratford Cycle Centre machine the first Honda on the rostrum since 2015.
One of the top riders in the SOAR regional series at Grand Bend, Pletsch couldn’t commit to a return in round three on the east coast, though he certainly demanded enough attention with his performance on Sunday.
“I’m so happy. All weekend I was looking forward to the rain, even though it’s my first time in the rain on a Superbike,” Pletsch said. “It’s quite the hike out east, so we’ll see about the future, but for now it’s awesome to represent all the SOAR guys on the podium.”
Pletsch’s runner-up spot rapidly came under fire in the final moments, however, as Trevor Dion began to reel in his SOAR friend and rival – followed closely by an amazingly hard-charging Daley.
Dion would hold onto the final podium spot, his first aboard the LDS Consultants Kawasaki, as the rookie finally managed to put some of his own luck behind him.
“I knew someone was coming on strong behind me, but I didn’t know who, I was just so focused on catching Chris,” Dion said. “The gap was getting smaller and I was in a bit of a rhythm, but I was happy to just bring home the podium for the team, especially after the injuries in round one.”
While he just missed out on the podium by 0.073 seconds at the line, Daley was unquestionably the story of the race, mounting one of the greatest single-race comebacks in CSBK history.
The OneSpeed Suzuki rider was seemingly out of it after crashing chasing Dumas, but remounted and quickly carved his way through the pack, recovering a crucial fourth-place result for both himself and Suzuki as he climbs to within a single point of third overall and helps his brand to a 28-point lead atop the Constructors Championship.
The misfortune continued for BMW, as the trio of Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki on the podium means the Motorrad brand will miss the rostrum for the first time since Calgary in 2010 – a streak of 88 consecutive races.
Sam Guerin would be the top BMW in fifth, briefly running in third before fading back mid-race in the tricky conditions, though he escapes with a one-point advantage over Daley in the fight for third in the championship aboard his EFC Group machine.
Jordan Royds did his best to help limit the damage for BMW as well by finishing sixth on his IBEW machine, at one point fighting for his first career pro national podium before ceding position to Daley and Guerin.
John Fraser would complete the top-seven aboard his RLS Contracting Suzuki, moving to within a single point of the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year lead behind Acme Motorsports Yamaha’s Paul Macdonell, who finished ninth (SCM/Tanians BMW rider Phillip Leckie would split them in eighth).
Amongst the notable retirements were Tomas Casas, who looked set for a career-best second place finish aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha before crashing and remounting to take tenth, and LDS Consultants Kawasaki veteran Jordan Szoke, who was forced out with a shifting failure after running in the podium fight on lap one.
The GP Bikes Pro Superbike class will now get a month to recover before returning to the east coast at Atlantic Motorsport Park for round three, July 20-23, where Young swept both halves of the doubleheader in 2022 – something he will now need to do again as he hunts down Dumas.
Full results from the feature category can be found on the series’ official website at csbk.ca.
- From Professional Motorsports Productions