The nail-biting 2021 Canadian Superbike Championship season will come to a thrilling conclusion this weekend, as the three-headed title fight in the feature Pro Superbike class returns to Calabogie Motorsports Park, September 17-18.
With five races in the books and two more left to run in the final doubleheader weekend, the gap atop the Superbike class remains as minimal as ever, with rookie sensation Alex Dumas leading the championship by just ten points with 108 left for grabs.
The Liqui Moly MPG/Fast School Suzuki rider saw his lead shrink slightly in the round two tripleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, failing to win either of the three races as he saw title rivals Ben Young (race one) and Jordan Szoke (races two and three) sweep the weekend.
Still, Dumas showed championship poise well beyond his years, finding the podium in all three contests to escape with a slim advantage as he returns to Calabogie, the site of his historic two-win CSBK debut back in July.
As for Young, the 2019 champion is Dumas’ biggest threat to the title, as he remains the only other rider to find the podium in all five races so far. Young previously placed his Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW in second place in both of the round one races at Calabogie, before capturing his first victory in nearly two years at CTMP.
Young famously backed out of a self-described “sketchy” last lap pass on Dumas in race two at the Calabogie opener, knowing he had five more races to consider, but the Scotland native will have less reason to back down when the two sides reignite their battle this weekend with a championship on the line.
The dark horse in the title battle will be reigning champion Jordan Szoke, who remains in the running for a record 15th Canada Cup but will need a bit of assistance from his rivals as he enters with a 30-point deficit to Dumas.
The Canada General Warranty Kawasaki rider will at least have momentum on his side as he heads to Calabogie fresh off a pair of thrilling victories, and Szoke will have no reason to be conservative as he tries to make up for his sizeable points deficit.
Neither of the three riders will be able to map out any definitive championship scenario or “magic number” as of yet, given the massive haul of points still on the table that includes two races, qualifying points, and a bonus for laps led, but there are three likely scenarios that could award each of the top three the title.
The first, which will see Dumas capture his first Canada Cup and become the youngest Pro Superbike champion in history, requires only that he win one of the two races and find the podium in the other. If he does so, it doesn’t matter what Young does in the other race, as Dumas will have enough of a gap built up to control his own fate.
The second scenario, which would see Young clinch his second Pro Superbike title in three seasons, requires that he beats Dumas in both races and takes a top-two finish in each. Should he win once and Dumas not win at all, Young can make up the remaining deficit with just a second-place finish.
The third and final scenario, which would see Szoke storm back to add another trophy to his resumé, requires that Dumas misses the podium at least once and Young fails to crack the top-two in both races. While unlikely, the outcome is not impossible given the deep field we have seen in 2021.
The headliners of that deep group of talent are a pair of impressive rear-gunners battling for the fourth spot in the championship, as Trevor Daley (4th) and Sebastian Tremblay (5th) have each been pivotal in helping their respective factory mates.
Daley, riding for OneSpeed Suzuki, has been the only rider outside the top three in the championship to crack the podium this season, which has been crucial not just to Suzuki’s quest for a Constructors Championship but also to Dumas’ title bid out front.
Tremblay, meanwhile, could be a major X-factor in the final weekend, as the Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider is expected to break out his ZX-R1 Ninja superbike for the first time at Calabogie.
The Mirabel, QC native finished sixth in both races at round one aboard his lesser-powered ZX-6R, but the likely Pro Sport Bike champion should be a legitimate podium threat in his return to Calabogie, which could play into the hands of fellow Kawasaki star Szoke.
Another pair of riders to watch on race day will be youngsters Tomas Casas and Samuel Guerin, who have had two wildly different campaigns thus far but remain two of the most talented young riders on the grid.
Casas has been extremely consistent if unspectacular in 2021, finding the top-six in every race so far but failing to improve upon a best result of fifth. Still, the Parts Canada Yamaha rider has flashed the pace to win at the Superbike level, and he could do so this weekend in what should be a wide-open battle at the front.
Another rider with truly nothing to lose, Guerin has had an abysmal rookie Pro campaign, finishing just once sandwiched between four DNF’s as he sits 18th in the championship. However, Guerin consistently has podium pace when he does finish, and the EFC Group BMW rider will be desperate to come away with something positive to cap off his disappointing debut season.
The full schedule for the final weekend of the 2021 season can be found on the series’ official website at csbk.ca.
- From Professional Motorsports Productions