The Canadian Superbike Championship produced its closest qualifying session ever on Friday, as rivals Alex Dumas and Ben Young set the exact same lap time in the BS Battery Superpole session at Atlantic Motorsport Park.
Young topped the first “Q1” portion of the day with a comfortable advantage over Dumas, but it was the reigning champion who got the better of him with just two minutes to go in the second, decisive Superpole shootout, setting a fastest lap of 1:07.521.
With nothing to lose, Young set out for his final two laps, failing on the first attempt before crossing the line with four seconds to go to earn one last chance. Shockingly, Young did manage to improve his time in the end – setting an identical time of 1:07.521.
The tie atop the timesheets has never happened before in CSBK history, prompting officials to award pole position to Dumas by virtue of him setting the time first and also having the better of each riders second-fastest time.
“At first I thought the screen just hadn’t updated yet, so I kept refreshing it over and over again and the time wasn’t changing,” Dumas said. “Eventually I realized we had the exact same time, so none of us really knew what to expect.”
The result will also carry championship implications, with the extra point for pole position now putting Dumas level with Young atop the standings and tied in the BS Battery Pole Position award fight.
Young will lose his championship lead in the most unfortunate circumstances, but the Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider knows the biggest points haul will still be up for grabs when the weekend doubleheader rolls around.
“I was looking around to the marshall’s to try and see where I ended up, and then when I got to the pit lane they all just threw their hands up and had no idea,” Young said. “At the end of the day it’s good for the series to have us tied and it makes it a bit more exciting, but tomorrow is still where the focus is going to be.”
Behind the wild action up front was Trevor Daley, who joined the two on the BS Battery podium and will line up alongside them on the final front row spot after securing the third-fastest time at a 1:08.648.
If Friday’s pace is any indication, the battle between the two championship rivals could play right into Daley’s hands this weekend, as the OneSpeed/Pro Cycle Suzuki rider looks to replicate his fast start from 2019 and capture his elusive first career Superbike victory.
Leading off the second row will be the Royal Distributing BMW of Michael Leon, who puts himself in prime position for a podium fight this weekend after setting a late best time of 1:09.338.
Lining up alongside Leon will be Sebastien Tremblay, who has quietly maintained frontrunning pace of his own aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki, though he will need to dispatch of a few rider quickly if he hopes to secure his second podium of the season this weekend.
Starting from pole position for the weekend’s two Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike races will be championship leader Trevor Dion, who continues to defy expectations with his second consecutive pole on the year.
The LDS Consultants Kawasaki didn’t have much room to spare ahead of championship rival David MacKay, who went just 0.161 seconds slower, as the two appear set for a dramatic duel in the final four races to decide the middleweight crown.
The front row will feature a somewhat surprising face, however, as Jake LeClair returned to set the third-fastest time aboard his bLU cRU Yamaha, ultimately just 0.308 seconds off pole as he looks to join the frontrunning fight this weekend.
Notably absent from the first two rows will be Elliot Vieira, who struggled mightily to sixth on the grid. The race three winner and championship contender will have his work cut out for him on race day, but remained only 1.2 seconds off Dion aboard his Snow City Yamaha machine.
Local star John Fraser enjoyed his day around his home AMP circuit, cruising comfortably to pole positions in both the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike class and Amateur Sport Bike category aboard his Yamaha machines.
Fraser will especially be looking forward to his Superbike doubleheader, as he gets a pair of chances to try and track down Julien Lafortune for the top championship spot, though Lafortune limited the damage by qualifying second on the grid for Kawasaki.
Another local name will start from pole position in the Super Sonic Race School Lightweight class, as former championship frontrunner Avery Hart returned to pace the grid aboard his Yamaha.
The real winner of the day, however, will be youngster Bryce DeBoer, who qualified third but received a massive championship boost after overall points leader Evan Moriarity withdrew from the event.
With vice-champion Andrew Cooney and now Moriarity missing from AMP, DeBoer could eat up a massive chunk of his 30-point deficit as he chases down the title lead heading into the final round.
The first edition of the Lightweight Pro/Am on the east coast brought perhaps its most exciting qualifying session yet, as local racing legend Gary McKinnon set the fastest overall time and took the top spot in the Pro division after a back-and-forth battle with Jared Walker and fellow east coast native Richard Thompson.
The trio – all Kawasaki mounted – traded placed numerous times throughout, ultimately standing separated by just 0.493 seconds, with Walker lining up second and Thompson in third.
That will place them just ahead of the top Amateur in the form of Hart, who will start fourth but takes pole in that division ahead of DeBoer and Grant Nesbitt.
The full results from Friday’s wild day of qualifying can be found on the series’ official website, as can the schedule for both Saturday and Sunday’s racing slate at AMP.
- From Professional Motorsports Productions