Very little has separated Alex Dumas and Ben Young in their time together in the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship, but both will get a key opportunity to swing that rivalry in their favour this weekend in round four at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 18-20.
Through 20 races together in the feature GP Bikes Pro Superbike class, both riders have tilted the scales in their favour at various tracks, with Young out-qualifying Dumas 5-2 in that span while Dumas owns a 12-8 advantage on race day, each securing one championship in the process (Young having also won the title in 2019).
Compare their records at CTMP, however, and it’s about as even as you can get.
Six races at the historic venue north of Bowmanville, ON have produced two wins for Dumas, two for Young, and two for Jordan Szoke. In their non-victories, both riders finished as the runner-up three times, and completed the podium in third a single time.
In fact, just five total points separate the two in their CTMP history, with Young taking the slight advantage thanks to qualifying and lap led points. Needless to say, it’s an impossible task picking a favourite for the penultimate round of the 2023 campaign.
However, it is almost certain that the weekend will swing their rivalry in a massive way, with Dumas looking to put one hand on the Canada Cup as he carries a comfortable 36-point advantage into “Old Mosport,” a gap that looks significantly more menacing after the cancellation of round three and subsequent loss of one feature class race.
It will take a mighty effort – and even mightier luck – for the Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki rider to officially wrap things up entering round five at Shannonville, as he would need to massively outscore Young at CTMP to offset the 85 points available in September, but even a single victory could go a long way in handing Dumas his second title in three years.
That said, the same opportunity remains available to Young, as a 36-point deficit seems a lot more palatable with six races and 170 points left on the board. The Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider scored his first-ever Pro Superbike win at this venue, after all, and has amassed nine podiums in his last ten races at CTMP, with his only absence being when he clinched the 2019 national title in a safe fourth place.
Young will also know that the super-fast, flowing nature of the circuit, combined with the long Andretti straightaway, often create large lead packs of riders with unpredictable results. While that can also jeopardize his efforts, it is a far bigger threat to Dumas as he aims to avoid any chaos over the final six contests.
Should a new winner emerge, though, it may seem like no better time than for Szoke to cap off his comeback story.
While his body has endured its fair share since his last CSBK victories in 2021, the ten-turn layout of CTMP is considered one of the least physically demanding tracks on the calendar, a key detail for Szoke with three races on the schedule.
The LDS Consultants Kawasaki rider unsurprisingly holds the record with 20 career Superbike wins at CTMP, four times as many as Pascal Picotte in second (5), and will be the first name in line to add to that total if Dumas or Young falter.
Just as Szoke chases victory number 79 in his career, a handful of names remain hungry for their first, and the wide-open nature of CTMP may be the place where the drought ends for one of Sam Guerin, Tomas Casas, or Trevor Daley.
The latter would need a significant turnaround from his broken femur suffered at round three just 24 days ago, but Daley is never one to count out if he can find a way to mount his OneSpeed Suzuki.
As for the two healthy names of the batch, Guerin and Casas have had opposite career paths at CTMP, but have seemingly ended up in the same situation entering the weekend tripleheader.
Guerin stormed out of the gates with second and third-place finishes in his first two pro races at the circuit in 2020, but the EFC Group BMW rider has managed just one top-five finish at the venue since, admittedly thanks to mechanical problems that have so far been fixed in 2023.
As for Casas, it’s been more of a consistent battle for the Parts Canada Yamaha rider at his home track, finishing a best of fourth in 2019, fifth in 2021, and fourth again (twice) a year ago, regularly in the lead group but thus far unable to stay at the front.
The status of Daley will also have huge implications on the Constructors Championship, where Suzuki currently leads BMW by 28 points. A healthy Guerin – as well as the consistent presence of IBEW BMW rider Jordan Royds – will help support Young up front, while an absent Daley would put plenty of pressure on RLS Contracting Suzuki rookie John Fraser in his first pro appearance at CTMP.
Szoke and Casas also figure to play a huge role in the scrap for third overall in the Constructors table, where Kawasaki currently trails Yamaha by 27 points.
The penultimate shootout will also prove to be a crucial one in a pair of awards battles, as Young looks to cement his second BS Battery Pole Award while the fight for the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year Award rages on.
Young owns a six-point advantage over Dumas in the qualifying-based battle, and can clinch the award with another pole position and a third-or-worse grid spot for Dumas.
As for the Rookie of the Year contest, Acme Motorsports Yamaha newcomer Paul Macdonell currently leads 18-year-old Fraser by just a single point, with LDS Consultants Kawasaki star Trevor Dion a further 12 points back.
Keeping with tradition, the return to CTMP will also bring back the “King of Mosport” award, offered to the GP Bikes Pro Superbike rider that scores the most total points across the weekend.
Dumas was crowned the King of Mosport a year ago with a pair of wins, while Young took the honour (and literal crown to go with it) in both 2021 and 2019.
The full schedule for the GP Bikes Pro Superbike class can be found on the series’ official website at CSBK.ca.