July 25, 2019 - Tomas Casas and the Parts Canada Yamaha team made good use of their trip to the East Coast this weekend, scoring a career-best weekend in the Pro Superbike class at round four of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship.
Heading to Atlantic Motorsport Park for the first time aboard a YZF-R1 superbike, Casas was faced with a daunting challenge at a circuit that is known for being incredibly physically demanding on any machine, let alone a 1000cc feature bike.
The only rider in the two Pro classes to compete in all four races of the doubleheader weekend, Casas’ battle was made even worse as the Peterborough, ON youngster was forced to battle the elements, with extreme heat warnings on Saturday warning of temperatures as high as 40°C and a Maritime storm on Sunday bringing heavy rain.
Despite the cards stacked against Casas and the Yamaha team, the 20-year old got off to a productive start in both classes, qualifying in pole position for the Pro Sport Bike class and a respectable eighth in the Superbike category on Friday.
The two-time defending Sport Bike champion actually managed to post a better time aboard his 600cc machine, as he faced an adjustment period aboard the bigger superbike at arguably Canada’s toughest track.
That all began to change once the racing rolled around, however, as Casas managed to overcome his exhaustion to win a thrilling battle for fourth with veteran Jeff Williams in Saturday’s race one of the feature Pro Superbike class. The result was his fourth consecutive top-six finish to open the season, making him and championship leader Ben Young the only riders to accomplish such consistency.
As the weather took a turn for the worst on Sunday, Casas decided to up the tempo slightly in the changing conditions, once again capitalizing on opportunities to put himself into a top-three spot on the track for the first time in his career. It seemed as though a hard-charging Samuel Trepanier may end up catching Casas on the final lap, but the youngster was able to give it one last push in the closing moments, securing his first ever podium finish in the Superbike class.
As a result, Casas became the youngest podium finisher since Bodhi Edie’s miraculous victory in 2013, and the first Yamaha rider to podium since Edie in 2017.
“After a tough Sport Bike race where I found myself dehydrated and feeling like I was going to pass out, the rain really came into play for this one,” Casas said. “I really enjoy riding in the rain, and I’m extremely happy to have put my Yamaha R1 on the podium for my first time. Hopefully there will be more to come.”
The strong weekend moves Casas just five points behind Trepanier in the battle for third in the overall standings, and firmly into a top-five spot with a 25-point gap to sixth entering his home track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
It was another strong weekend for Casas in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike category as well, however one that will still have the two-time defending champion entering a tricky spot heading to the season-finale doubleheader at CTMP.
Arriving in Nova Scotia with a 30-point deficit championship leader Will Hornblower, Casas needed to put some distance between himself and his Yamaha counterpart in order to trim the gap through four rounds.
After getting off to a good start with pole position, Casas continued that early success with a thrilling victory on Saturday. Unfortunately for the former Pro Rookie of the Year, Hornblower was close behind in both instances, qualifying in second before making a desperate last-lap attempt on Casas to just narrowly finish second again. Despite his rival limiting the damage, Casas was still able to cut the gap to 19 points entering race two on Sunday.
Things were different from the get-go in the second part of the doubleheader, however, as a determined Hornblower got a terrific start and never looked back, storming his way to a commanding victory. Even worse for Casas, a surging Sebastien Tremblay was able to capitalize on the youngster’s exhaustion, overtaking him for second place and forcing Casas to third.
“Sunday’s race was not what I had hoped for, but I was glad to at least put it on the podium,” Casas said. “Doing both classes on a doubleheader weekend, especially at a track like Shubie, it really took a toll on me, but now I look forward to bringing this home at CTMP.”
With the up-and-down weekend, Hornblower will extend his lead to 34 points entering CTMP, but all hope is far from lost after Casas cruised to a pair of dominant victories at the same track just a year ago.
Tomas and the team would like to thank all his sponsors for their hard work, including Yamaha Motor Canada, Parts Canada, Yamaha bLU cRU, Pro 6 Cycle & Dunlop Tires, Hindle Exhaust, Brooklin Cycle Racing, GBRacing, J.J. Stewart Motors Ltd., Flexiglass, Bickle Racing, Bluestreak Racing, DP Brakes, Human 2.0, EHR Sports, Vortex, Peterborough Cycle Salvage, Trackdayhub.com, and all other personnel and fans for their love and support.