By John Hopkins
SHANNONVILLE, Ont. – What the K&N Performance Filters Pro Sport Bike race may have lacked in quantity it more than made up for in quality at the opening round of the 2012 season at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Sunday.
In a thrilling duel, Frank Trombino’s 725 Sports / Acme Slate Suzuki GSX-R600 shadowed the Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR of defending class champion Jodi Christie for most of the 18-lap race before finally making his move and snatching the win by 0.301 secs.
In his first Pro national event Aubrey Bailey finished third on the ProStar Motorsports Honda CBR600RR.
Christie started from pole and although Trombino grabbed the holeshot the Keene, Ont. racer got ahead of the Suzuki before turn two. From then on the two ran nose-to-tail, Trombino right on Christie’s rear tire although he never showed his hand too early.
“I thought I would run my own race,” the winner said. “There was no sense in getting by early. I wanted to play it safe and study Jodi.”
The Kleinburg, Ont. rider made his first move for the lead in turn three on lap 14, but Christie boldly retook the top spot at the end of the backstraight, even though Trombino had been gaining on Christie with his late braking there earlier in the race.
“We were side-by-side at the end of the backstraight and I thought I would brake later but he stuck with me,” Trombino explained.
On the last lap Trombino again made his pass in turn three and again Christie tried to respond at the end of the backstraight. This time Trombino held tough and they were side-by-side through the corner before Trombino finally eased ahead.
“Today was the luck of the drawe maybe,” Trombino admitted. “Jodi has as much talent as I do and it could just as easily been him winning.”
Christie said he had a little trouble getting hooked up on the greasy track, and he certainly had a couple of squirrely moments coming into the tight Allen’s Corner left-hander.
“It was a great race and it was fun riding with Frank,” he said. “We’ve ridden a lot together and we can trust each other.”
The action was no less frantic behind the two leaders. Raphael Archambault was running third on the Archambault Racing Team / Picotte Motorsports / G Suspension Suzuki GSX-R600 when he crashed in turn three on lap three. Bailey managed to make it past but the Royal Distributing Honda CBR600RR of Michael Leon clipped Archambault’s bike and lost its chain, causing Leon to pull off the track at the top of the backstraight.
That left Bailey third with fellow rookie Pro Amzy Nawaz right behind on his Velocity Sportsgear Kawasaki ZX-6R, but the Thornton, Ont. rider crashed in turn three on lap eight. So Bailey picked up the last podium spot, although the Parry Sound, Ont. rider was being hauled in by a fired up Archambault, who remounted after his crash to salvage fourth.
Louie Raffa picked up fifth on the Team Couturier Racing / Centre Hamel Honda CBR600RR and after losing two laps Leon was able to fix his chain and rejoin the race to finish sixth.
Trombino leads the Pro Sport Bike standings with 53 points to the 48 of Christie and Bailey’s 38.
1.Frank Trombino, Kleinburg, Ont. (Suzuki GSX-R600) 19:47.300
2. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont. (Honda CBR600RR) +0.301
3. Aubrey Bailey, Parry Sound, Ont. (Honda CBR600RR) +29.564
4. Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, Que. (Suzuki GSX-R600) +33.879
5. Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que. (Honda CBR600RR) +50.874
6. Michael Leon, Beaconsfield, Que. (Honda CBR600RR) +2 laps
Did Not Finish
Amzy Nawaz, Thornton, Ont. (Kawasaki ZX-6R) 7 laps
Fastest Lap: 1:05.537 by Jodi Christie on lap 8
1.Frank Trombino 53
2. Jodi Christie 48
3. Aubrey Bailey 38
4. Raphael Archambault 34
5. Louie Raffa 29
6. Michael Leon 27