The inaugural round of the Canadian Mini Superbike National Championship series wrapped up in familiar but exciting fashion on Sunday, as rising star Vincent Lalande won another close Canada Cup battle at the Lombardy Raceway.
The season opening event, presented by the Super Sonic Road Race School, saw Lalande emerge as the early favourite in the paddock on Saturday after conquering race one of the feature Canada Cup and two other support races. His impressive form did not wear off overnight, however, as he entered Sunday with even more pace despite another stiff challenge from emerging rival Ben Hardwick.
Hardwick would start on pole position for race two by virtue of his qualifying performance on Saturday, but the pressure was on the youngster after Lalande won race one before setting a new outright lap record on Sunday morning. Nevertheless, Hardwick ignored the momentum as he grabbed the holeshot in race two, pacing Lalande in the early going aboard his mandatory Pirelli-mounted Ohvale machine.
After sustained pressure throughout the first four laps, Lalande finally made a move stick on lap five, forcing Hardwick into a rare mistake as he ran wide in the hairpin to fall roughly two seconds back of the lead. The pole-sitter would dramatically chip away at that deficit as he carved his way back to Lalande, but it ultimately was too little, too late as Lalande held on for a narrow victory to sweep the first-round doubleheader.
The duo was again joined on the podium by Merik Sommer, who continued to ride a quietly strong weekend and complete his double-podium debut in third. While Sommer remained firmly off the pace of Lalande and Hardwick, he was equally as impressive in his lonely ride for third, entrenching himself as the dark horse in the title fight should the front-running duo encounter any problems.
By virtue of the two victories, Lalande will exit the opening round with a championship lead atop the Canada Cup standings, with Hardwick and Sommer close behind as they prepare for round two at Lombardy next weekend.
Lalande’s efforts weren’t limited to just the feature category, as he again stormed to a pair of support wins aboard his Speed Factory Buccimoto machine. The 14-year-old Mirabel, QC native won both the Moto1 and GP-1 class races to add to his trophy haul, beating Hardwick in both events as he displayed his proficiency on both bike types.
Sommer, meanwhile, captured another MiniSBK victory in the GP2 category, while Aaron Burns won the Sport-1 race and Michael Galvis won the Sport-2 category. Jacob Black did double-duty as both racer and announcer, winning the Moto3 class race after a spirited battle with Connor Campbell, while Campbell got his revenge later on to beat Black in the Sport-3 category.
The riders won’t have long to wait before returning to the Lombardy Raceway, with the second round doubleheader scheduled to get underway May 14-15, while the Super Sonic Road Race School will also host a customary track day on Friday.
The full season schedule, including registration details, can be found on the series’ official website at www.supersonicschool.com.
- From Professional Motorsports Productions