Round 1 of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship kicked off June 6-8 at Shannonville Motorsport Park in Ontario. The season got off to a strong start for Stacey Nesbitt, who by end of Friday practice was second on both Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike and Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike timesheets. Jon Cornwell continued to refine the setup on the OCM Racing/FTR/Honda Canada CBR600RR in preparation for Saturday qualifying.
AM Sport Bike qualifying was first up in the afternoon. Track temperature had improved a lot in the warm, sunny weather. Stacey eventually qualified second, just missing pole by 0.103 seconds. In AM Superbike qualifying, the bike was not driving out of the turns properly so she was relieved to be only 0.2 seconds down on her earlier time to end up third on the grid – a front row start for both races. The drive problem remained in the first Sunday warm-up practice but fortunately was resolved for the second warm-up.
An average start in AM Sport Bike saw Stacey enter Turn 1 in seventh position, but she moved up two places by Turn 3. She continued to work her way up to second behind James Moore, with Tomas Casas and Pedro Sousa making strong challenges. Mid-distance saw Stacey pass Moore into Turn 2, but he was able to power his Triumph back into first place on the back straight. Sousa and Casas were in the four-way battle for the lead.
With a lap and a half to go, Stacey made another move in Turn 2 and was able to gain enough distance to hold it at the end of the back straight. Stacey said, “I thought it was the last lap, so when I came around and saw the last lap flag, I had to keep the pace up for one more lap.” Indeed, she pushed hard on the final lap with a time of 1:08.689, over a second faster that her previous best time, to cross the line first by 0.477 seconds.
The AM Superbike race was the last race of the day, with Stacey again using the OCM Racing/FTR/Honda Canada CBR600RR. At the lights Stacey was down in sixth and had to battle Rob Cousineau for a number of laps. She was eventually able to get by and set off after the group in front. By the last lap she was battling for the final podium position with Derrick Whyte and Steve Hamer, but there was not enough time to mount a challenge against the more powerful 1000 cc Superbikes. She crossed the line in fifth place.
A delighted Stacey said, “This weekend the bike handled the best ever. I am very happy to have had Jon and Pat helping me out – thank you. It feels great to be back on the top step of the podium at a national and to take my first ever win on a 600. A big thank also goes to OCM Racing (Amir & Mike) and Honda Canada.”
It was a bonus to pick up the Ipone award for the rider in the Amateur Sport Bike class who brings the greatest level of professionalism and presentation to the race weekend.
Stacey competes with support from OCM Racing, Honda Canada Inc., FTR, Jon Cornwell, Arai Helmet Americas, Pro 6 Cycle Inc., R&M Electrical, Powersports Canada, Fast Company, Bluestreak Racing, Hindle Exhaust, Mikeymoto, International Supershow, Club Ouest Gym and Lucky Stripe.
The next round of the CSBK series takes place at Autodrome St-Eustache in St-Eustache, QC, on July 4-6. Follow the team on www.statoniracing.com or facebook (Statoni Racing Team). For more information about the Canadian Superbike Series visit www.csbk.ca.
— From Statoni Racing