By John Hopkins
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Alex Welsh scored his first career national Superbike win in spectacular fashion in the final round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday.
The Uxbridge, Ont. rider slid underneath the battling duo of Jordan Szoke and Kevin Lacombe in the last corner to snatch the win by 0.384 secs. on his AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Szoke placed second on the Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR while Lacombe crossed the line third riding the Team Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR.
“I tried to get them going up the last straight but I didn’t quite get the drive I wanted,” Welsh said. “But I was able to pick up the scraps. It’s good to finish off the year this way. I always seem to go well here.”
Welsh completed the 20-lap distance around the 3.9km (2.459-mile) track in 27 minutes, 32.156 seconds for an average speed of 169.447km/h (106.838 mph).
Welsh made an impressive climb from eighth on the starting grid to move up to third spot by the end of lap four and the second half of the race settled into a battle between Szoke, Lacombe and Welsh.
Lacombe started the final lap leading Szoke and Welsh. Szoke snuck ahead in turn two only to have Lacombe repay the favour in turn three of the 10-turn track. In the turn nine left-hander Szoke got inside the St-Cesaire, Que. rider but Lacombe hung alongside as they approached the turn 10 right-hander. The two made contact and ran wide, leaving the inside open for Welsh to sneak through for the win.
“Jordan and Kevin didn’t quite gap me in the early laps and that allowed me to save my tires and myself for the end,” explained Welsh, who moved up to fourth in the final Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings with 187 points. “I wasn’t really close until the last lap, when I made sure I was close through turn three and turn five. We made a gearing change last night so I would have something at the end of the backstraight but I guess we went a little too tall.
“Jordan and Kevin were both riding pretty aggressive. I knew Kevin would try something and I guess I was a little lucky.”
Welsh picked up the KICKER Kick Ass Pass of the Race Award for his last turn heroics.
Szoke had clinched his eighth national Superbike title with a second place finish in Saturday’s race and was going for his 11th victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“I couldn’t get by Kevin on the back straight but I was faster coming out of turn eight so I thought I could get him in nine,” said Szoke, who failed to win a race at CTMP for the first time since 2007. “That all went as planned but then Alex came by and ruined the party.
“Coming out of here without a win is pretty heartbreaking, but we did the big job by getting the championship yesterday.”
Szoke’s Waznie Racing crew also picked up the Inside Motorcycles Team of the Year Award.
Lacombe was later disqualified for using illegal fuel, which bumped Warman, Sask.’s Bodhi Edie up to third place in the official results. The rider of the Edie Racing / Blue Streak / Fast Company BMW S1000RR was involved in a four-rider scrap down to the wire with Andrew Nelson, Matt McBride and Sebastien Tremblay.
“Andrew and I were very well matched and we were really going at it over the first half of the race,” Edie said after his first Pro Superbike podium finish. “I had some issues with the front end going into turn one but I was comfortable coming out of Moss’s Corner onto the backstraight; I got good drives out of there.”
Nelson was officially fourth on the Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR while Mississauga, Ont. rider McBride took fifth aboard the Riders Choice BMW S1000RR.
Nelson’s result combined with Lacombe’s exclusion lifted the Kars, Ont. rider into second in the final Mopar Canadian Superbike standings with 204 points to Lacombe’s 193. Szoke finished the year with 294 points.
After running with the lead group in fourth spot for the first half of the race Longueuil, Que.’s Tremblay slipped down the order to a sixth place finish on his MotoNation BMW S1000RR, although he ended the year as the top rookie Pro point scorer for the season.
Francois Dumas of St-Raymond, Que. ran a lonely race to seventh on the Team Dumas Superbike / boulangeriedumas.com BMW S1000RR, while Marcel Irnie of Kelowna, B.C. made a late-race pass of Sylvain Dery to claim eighth on the Irnie Racing / Amsoil BMW S1000RR. St-Colomban, Que.’s Dery settled for ninth riding the Pete’s Superbike Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Mike Bevan of Amhertsburg, Ont. rounded out the top 10 on another Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Keene, Ont.’s Jodi Christie ran fourth in the early laps on his Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR but suffered a crash in turn five on lap three. He was not hurt in the incident.
1. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 20
2. Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 20
3. Bodhi Edie, Warman, Sask., BMW S1000RR, 20
4. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 20
5. Matthew McBride, Mississauga, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 20
6. Sebastien Tremblay, Longueuil, Que., BMW S1000RR, 20
7. Francois Dumas, St-Raymond, Que., BMW S1000RR, 20
8. Marcel Irnie, Kelowna, B.C., BMW S1000RR, 20
9. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban, Que., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 20
10. Mike Bevan, Amherstburg, Ont., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 19
Did Not Finish
Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR1000RR, 2
Kevin Lacombe, St-Cesaire, Que., BMW S1000RR
Did Not Start
Martin Hamel, Drummondville, Que., BMW S1000RR
Scott Rupert, Gadshill, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000
Michael Leon, Beaconsfield, Que., Honda CBR600RR
Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, Que., Suzuki GSX-R600
Time of Race: 27:32.156
Average Speed: 169.447km/h (106.838 mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.384 secs.
Fastest Lap: 1:22.164 by Alex Welsh on lap 4
Lap Leaders: Lacombe 1-7, Szoke 8-11, Lacombe 12-19, Welsh 20
1. Jordan Szoke, 294
2. Andrew Nelson, 204
3. Kevin Lacombe, 193
4. Alex Welsh, 187
5. Bodhi Edie, 174
6. Matthew McBride, 168
7. Jodi Christie, 164
8. Sebastien Tremblay, 141
9. Francois Dumas, 106
10. Marcel Irnie, 95
11. Samuel Proulx, 82
12. Sylvain Dery, 64
13. Frank Trombino, 60
14. Franklyn Dominguez, 42
15. Martin Hamel, 32
15. Michael Bevan, 32
17. Marie-Josee Boucher, 31
18. Ron Munroe, 21
19. James Collins, 13
20. Aubrey Bailey, 10
21. Tony Stufko, 8
21. Michael Leon, 8
23. Louie Raffa, 6