Grand Bend, ON – June 8, 2019 – The second round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship continued to ramp up its excitement on Saturday, with both Pro classes coming down to the wire in qualifying at the Grand Bend Motorplex.
Mopar Pro Superbike points leader Ben Young continued his perfect streak of ten consecutive sessions atop the charts, albeit by the closest margins yet, putting in his best lap of the Top Ten Superpole as the flag waved to jump into pole position as time expired.
The Collingwood, ON native remained in the pit lane with under two minutes remaining and rival Jordan Szoke sitting in first place, but managed to begin his final flying lap with just two seconds to spare before placing his Van Dolder’s Home Team/Scot-Build BMW S1000RR at the top of the leaderboard.
His time of 1:03.045 not only pushed him 0.223 seconds clear of Szoke, but gave Young the new outright lap record, ironically displacing Szoke’s record from 2017.
“The plan was to leave it to the last second before we went back out, but it was definitely a little close there at the end,” Young laughed. “The BMW was phenomenal, so we just threw a new rear Dunlop tire on and pushed really hard for one lap. But everything was working really great, and I know we have the pace to stay at the front tomorrow, so things should be fun.”
As for Szoke, the four-time defending champion will lose yet another session to his biggest rival, but the Lynden, ON veteran did manage to show his best pace of the weekend aboard his Mopar Express Lane Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
The 13-time National title-winner will look to end Young’s unbeaten streak on Sunday, as he continues to find himself in an unfamiliar position early in the 2019 campaign.
“It’s frustrating, but the bike felt really good, and everything was a little more comfortable today," said Szoke. "There’s always some changes to be made, so hopefully we make the right ones and come out stronger in the race tomorrow.”
Rounding out the front row for Sunday’s race will be Beaconsfield, QC veteran Michael Leon, who will be chasing his first ever podium in the Pro Superbike class after crashing out in round one aboard his Royal Distributing BMW.
Trevor Daley continued his bounce-back weekend as the Mississauga, ON native also looks to recover from a disappointing round one, qualifying in fourth aboard his OneSpeed/Fast Company Suzuki GSX-R1000 after running second-fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.
Centering the second row and rounding out the top five will be Samuel Trepanier, who is still recovering from a massive crash to start the year but was able to post his personal best times at the Grand Bend Motorplex aboard his Blysk Racing BMW.
“My arm is still in quite a bit of pain, and it’s tough flipping the bike over to the left, even though there’s only a couple left turns here,” said the St. Isidore, QC native. “Luckily the bike feels great, and we’re still riding pretty well, so hopefully we can go a little faster in the race tomorrow.”
The top rookie from Saturday’s 24-rider field was Georgetown, Guyana’s Elliott Vieira, who completed the Top Ten Superpole in tenth place aboard his Aventura Gold Yamaha YZF-R6, though he has yet to score points in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year fight.
The Superbike class wasn’t the only group to come down to the wire, however, as local youngster Dylan Bauer scored his first career pole position in the Pro ranks in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class.
Riding out of nearby Breslau, ON, Bauer posted a time of 1:04.351 aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6, moving from third on the grid up to the top spot to displace Sebastien Tremblay with just moments remaining.
The Mirabel, QC native will now start from second aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja, with championship leader Will Hornblower rounding out the front row.
Hornblower crashed early in the session but was still able to put in a fast lap prior to the incident aboard his Yamaha machine, as the hometown favourite out of Sarnia, ON will look to stretch his points lead with a win on Sunday.
“I was just praying I put in a good enough time to be at least near the first few rows,” Hornblower said. “The last couple minutes were definitely nerve-wracking, but it’s still a front row start which is awesome, all things considered.”
Two-time defending champion Tomas Casas will kick off the second row aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha, as the Peterborough, ON youngster battled through a number of mechanical issues after crashing out in round one.
Notably, the top six riders in the class were all separated by just over a half-second in qualifying, with the top five all posting better times than the pole position mark from a year ago.
The first National race of the weekend also provided some excitement on Saturday, with Avery Hart extending his points lead atop the TSN Motorcycle Experience Lightweight Sport Bike class with a dominating victory.
The Princeville, NS native got off to an early lead and never looked back, storming his way to a four-second win aboard his WRBF Racing Yamaha YZF-R3.
“The gameplan was to pull away right off the start, so you can’t really complain with how that worked out,” Hart said. “The tire got a little greasy towards the end, but everything felt great and held up enough for me to get the win.”
Winning the battle for second was Hart’s east coast teammate, Keegan Gaudet, who held off a late charge from fellow teenager Ben LeClair to claim the second spot on the podium, with LeClair breaking his older brother’s lap record in the class on the final lap of the race aboard his Fast Company Yamaha out of Blackstock, ON.
The final two CSBK qualifying sessions of the day also failed to disappoint, with Jordan Royds claiming pole position in the Express Lane Amateur Superbike class and Jake LeClair, older brother of Ben, leading the charge in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike category.
Royds, riding a Yamaha YZF-R1 out of Ancaster, ON, will be looking to make up for a disappointing performance at his home track in round one, while LeClair – last year’s Lightweight champion – is aiming for his best career finish in his first year aboard the bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R6 machine.
Race one of the Goderich Toyota Classic Superbike Racing series also kicked off on Saturday, with Scott McVicker coming away victorious aboard his vintage 1980’s era 1025cc Honda CB750 machine out of Oakville, ON.
Full results from Saturday’s racing and qualifying, as well as the schedule for Sunday’s races, can be found at the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.