The unpredictable action in the Canadian Superbike Championship support classes will take another dramatic turn this weekend, as the series returns to the east coast for the first time in three years at Atlantic Motorsport Park, presented by Pro Cycle, Kawasaki, and Arai.
Prior experience will be at a premium in all five support classes, with few names returning from the last national grids in 2019, which should add just another twist to what has been a wild season thus far in each category.
Chief amongst them remains the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, where a new winner will be crowned at AMP thanks to years of turnover in the middleweight ranks. The last appearance in 2019 saw eventual champion Will Hornblower and two-time champion Tomas Casas split victories, both ahead of Sebastien Tremblay, but Casas and Tremblay have since turned their focus to Superbike while Hornblower is not expected to be in attendance at round three.
Instead, rookie pro Trevor Dion will carry a slim 13-point lead into races five and six with only 15 points separating the top three, as the 20-year-old won the opening race in Grand Bend and has followed that up with three consecutive podiums since, but that streak may be in jeopardy as he heads to the east coast for the first time as a Pro.
Dion is already amongst the least experienced in the class, and while that hasn’t hurt the LDS Consultants Kawasaki rider just yet, it may be a different story at the twisty, challenging Shubenacadie circuit with his only previous appearance there coming in the Lightweight category.
It’s a familiar story for his next championship rival, as well, as Elliot Vieira will also be making just his second national appearance on the east coast. The former Guyanese champion and Snow City Yamaha rider won his first Pro national race in round two, but his momentum may also be slowed by the return to such a demanding venue, and one where he crashed out in his only previous result.
The most experienced of the frontrunners – and thus the de facto favourite – will be double-race-winner David MacKay, but even his relationship with AMP has been shaky at best. The Fast Company Kawasaki star mustered a best finish of just 5th in 2019, but there is little denying MacKay has grown into a bigger threat since then.
Some of the best performances of the weekend may come in the amateur ranks, as local favourite John Fraser looks to finally capitalize on his home-track advantage after a run of dominance in the Society of Atlantic Roadracing League (SARL) regional series.
Fraser will have ground to make up after ceding early championship leads in both the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike and Amateur Sport Bike classes, but he’ll surely come out of round three with a bigger points haul aboard his Yamaha as he typically runs Pro-level times around his home circuit.
He’ll first have to chase down rival Julien Lafortune in the Superbike field, after the Kawasaki rider swept the opening two races to take a 23-point lead. However, Lafortune himself is inexperienced at AMP, putting his title challenge under threat in round three.
It will be a tougher task for Fraser in the Sport Bike division as he sits well off the championship battle, but that doesn’t mean round three couldn’t go a long way in deciding the crown as the top three sit separated by just nine points.
First-year amateur Paul Etienne Courtois currently leads the standings after a debut win in round two, while round one stars Sebastian Hothaza and Nathan Playford fell to second and third, respectively, after difficult weekends in round two.
The Super Sonic Race School Lightweight class could be entering a pivotal round three doubleheader, as championship leader Evan Moriarity carries a 30-point advantage into his first ever trip to AMP.
Should Moriarity extend his dominant run atop the junior class, it could spell the end of anyone’s title chances heading to round four, but the Yamaha rider could just as easily see his comfortable lead evaporate in what is expected to be a wide-open grid with a lot of local entries.
Many of those entries may also carry over to the Lightweight Pro/Am, where riders of all levels are welcome to enter the split-class race. The inaugural season has seen Jared Walker take a commanding lead in the Pro division after going four-for-four in the first two rounds, but his status in round three is questionable as he clings to a 39-point lead.
His rank at the top may be threatened by local veteran Gary McKinnon, who has continued his legendary racing career in the Pro division at 70 years old, though the former top Superbike rider is as experienced as any at his home track on the east coast.
As for the Amateur division, a new championship leader will almost certainly emerge from AMP, as Bryce DeBoer and Grant Nesbitt enter round three tied at the top of the standings. DeBoer holds the tiebreaker thanks to his top spot in race one, but Nesbitt could benefit from his added experience in the return to Atlantic Canada.
The long-awaited return to AMP will officially kick off with a CSBK Event Party on Thursday night, hosted at Pro Cycle in Dartmouth, NS. The major powersports dealer has been Atlantic Canada’s premier source of fun since 1983, and continues to be a devoted partner of the CSBK series, providing logistical and technical support to the nation’s premier racing championship.
The full slate of support action, as well as the schedule for the feature Pro Superbike class, can be found on the series’ official website at csbk.ca, while tickets can also be purchased through the series website.