The leadup to the second round of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship made it look like a nail-biting qualifying was on the horizon, but Ben Young made sure it was anything but on Friday at the Grand Bend Motorplex.
The defending champion dominated the opening Q1 session aboard his Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW, posting a time of 1:03.533 that put him a comfortable 0.622 seconds clear of rival Alex Dumas and into the top-ten Q2 shootout.
That trend continued into the final session, however, as no one could even come close to matching the blistering pace of Young, who gradually pushed his way further and further into the 1:02 second mark before closing the day out with a best time of 1:02.734, a stunning 0.532 seconds clear of the next rider to win his fourth consecutive BS Battery Pole Award.
Made worse for the competition was not just Young’s one-lap pace, but the fact that he consistently ran in the high 1:02 mark, becoming only the second rider to ever reach that threshold after Trevor Dion smashed the lap record in 2022 behind a 1:02.371 lap.
“It was our first time on the M1000 here – last year we raced the S1000 – and we were trying some things and collecting data, so the result is obviously very interesting,” Young said. “I was hoping for close to a 1:02, but we got well into the 1:02’s, so it proved to be a good lap for the BMW on these Bridgestone tires.”
As if Young’s pole pace wasn’t stunning enough, it was equally shocking to see who will line up next to him on Saturday, as local star Chris Pletsch earned an impressive second ahead of his first ever national GP Bikes Pro Superbike appearance.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a better result. I was just trying to see if I could get into the top five,” Pletsch said. “I would never have expected to be up here next to these guys, so now we just have to hang with them tomorrow.”
The result is also a much needed one for Honda, as the Stratford Cycle Centre Honda rider will eye his brand’s first feature class podium since 2015 this weekend, though it came at the expense of Dumas who was displaced to third.
The Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki rider was able to improve his time on his last flying lap across the line, but still 0.037 seconds short of Pletsch as he narrowly settled for third on the grid and the last spot on row one.
Despite the less than ideal qualifying order, Dumas will still carry a 21-point lead into race one on Saturday, and was happy with his pace as he looks to latch on to Young early in both races and keep his championship advantage into round three.
Leading off the second row will be round one star Sam Guerin, who put his EFC Group BMW only 0.124 seconds off the front trio and firmly in podium contention if he can replicate his strong starts from the opening two races.
Right next to Guerin on the second row will be veteran Jordan Szoke, who put his LDS Consultants Kawasaki a half-second off the lead row to complete the top five. While Szoke’s single-lap pace couldn’t match the two most recent champions, his fitness has seemingly improved since round one, making him a sure threat for another podium (or two) this weekend.
Starting off the third row will be Trevor Daley, who put in a late flyer to move 0.124 seconds off Szoke and back into a more familiar spot after previously running outside the top-eight for most of the session aboard his OneSpeed Suzuki.
As for Trevor Dion, the 2022 pole-sitter went the opposite direction in 2023, being forced onto the sidelines early in Q2 thanks to a mechanical issue. The LDS Consultants Kawasaki rookie seemingly had the pace to challenge for a front row spot if not pole once again, but could only watch as a handful of riders managed to better his time in the late stages.
Joining Daley and Dion on the end of row three will be Tomas Casas, who fell just short of the 1:03 mark behind a time of 1:04.096, though still less than a second off second place aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha.
Rounding out the top-ten in Q2 were Jordan Royds on the IBEW BMW, missing out on a third-row spot by just 0.059 seconds to Casas, and Pro Sport Bike pole-sitter David MacKay, who used the extra practice time to put his ODH Snow City Cycle Kawasaki tenth on the feature class grid.
Read the full Pro Sport Bike recap Here.
Full results from Superbike qualifying can be found on the series’ official website, while a snapshot of the other categories qualifying results are listed below.
Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike
1. David MacKay (Kawasaki) 1:04.409
2. Matt Simpson (Yamaha) 1:04.601 (+0.192)
3. Sebastian Tremblay (Suzuki) 1:05.148 (+0.739)
4. Elliot Vieira (Ducati) 1:05.567 (+1.158)
5. Zoltan Frast (Kawasaki) 1:05.639 (+1.230)
Bickle Racing Pro Twins
1. Jeff Williams (Aprilia) 1:08.698
2. Andrew Van Winkle (Suzuki) –
Super Sonic Race School Amateur Lightweight
1. Vincent Wilson (Kawasaki) 1:12.983
2. Vincent Lalande (Kawasaki) 1:13.084 (+0.101)
3. Ryan Beattie (Yamaha) 1:13.088 (+0.105)
4. Jack Beaudry (Kawasaki) 1:13.108 (+0.125)
5. Sebastian Silva (Yamaha) 1:14.586 (+1.603)
EBC Brakes Lightweight Pro/Am
1. Ryan Vanderputten (Yamaha) 1:12.375
2. Stacey Nesbitt (Kawasaki) 1:12.407 (+0.032)
3. Vincent Lalande (Kawasaki) 1:12.909 (+0.534)
4. Vincent Wilson (Kawasaki) 1:12.970 (+0.595)
5. Jack Beaudry (Kawasaki) 1:13.098 (+0.723)
- From Professional Motorsports Productions