After a spectacular season opener just three weeks ago, the dynamic duo atop the Canadian Superbike Championship’s feature Pro Superbike class will return to battle next weekend in Calabogie Motorsports Park, July 9-10, just an hour west of the nation’s capital in Ottawa, ON.
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The opening round in Grand Bend featured a pair of victories and a weekend sweep from 2019 champion Ben Young, as the Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider began his quest for a second Canada Cup with 57 out of a possible 58 points.
Young is no slouch around Calabogie, either, having finished second in all four appearances at the circuit last season. That run of form would surely make him the betting favourite entering round two, if not for the young man squarely behind him in the pecking order: defending champion Alex Dumas.
Dumas beat Young on all four of those occasions last season as part of his historic title run, carrying a perfect record around his unofficial home track, and he began his trophy defence with a pair of sensational second-place finishes in his first ever appearance at Grand Bend last time out.
The two rivals will enter as clear co-favourites around the challenging 20-turn, 5.05 km long Calabogie layout, with a pair of pivotal 12-lap battles on the schedule, while track position will also be crucial as the riders sort out their grid spots in the BS Battery Qualifying session on Saturday.
Trevor Dion, the pole-sitter last time out and subsequent BS Battery Pole Award leader, will head to Calabogie for the first time in his Pro national career as he sits third in the overall standings, and will also do so as the runaway leader in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year battle after securing a 19-point advantage over Pierre Simard in Grand Bend.
Dion will have a more experienced group of riders to contend with in the wide-open midfield, however, as the 20-year-old LDS Consultants BMW rider has not raced at the circuit since his days as a Lightweight frontrunner in 2019.
Leading that group is his namesake Trevor Daley, who enters with the fourth spot in the overall championship and just three points behind Dion. The OneSpeed Suzuki rider may be one of the best bets to hang with Young and Dumas up front, as he has challenged the front in all six races at Calabogie dating back to 2020.
The lead quartet will have more than just their own results to fight for, as well, as BMW heads to round two with a narrow eight-point lead over reigning champions Suzuki in second. The track played a vital role in Suzuki’s conquest last season, beating BMW by 64 points in four races at Calabogie versus an 18-point swing in three races at CTMP.
Also in the midfield battle will be a pair of “hometown” Quebecois talents in the form of Sebastian Tremblay and Samuel Guerin, who conveniently enter level on points and deadlocked for sixth in the championship.
Tremblay, the reigning (but not defending) Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike champion, has plenty of track knowledge aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki, and could be a dark horse for the final podium spot now that his full focus is on the Superbike program.
As for Guerin, the 2020 championship runner-up has seemingly put a dreadful 2021 campaign behind him after a pair of strong performances in Grand Bend, and the EFC Group BMW rider will hope to build on that renewed confidence next weekend.
One competitor who could benefit from the return to Calabogie is veteran Michael Leon, who endured a disastrous season opener with a pair of crashes leaving him 14th in the overall standings. The pace to run at the front is still there for the Royal Distributing BMW rider, however, as he scored his only Superbike podium at this track in 2020 as well as capturing the 2021 Pro 6 GP regional championship and winning the regional race there just two weeks ago.
In addition to this exciting crop of frontrunners, the grid will also feature a few question marks as a pair of stars battle injuries, with Tomas Casas potentially returning just as Steven Nickerson heads to the sidelines.
Nickerson fought through the pain to score a pair of top-five finishes at his home track in round one, but the Dewildt Powerhouse Honda rider still isn’t recovered from a devastating knee injury suffered last season and his status remains unclear for round two at Calabogie.
As for Casas, the Parts Canada Yamaha star fractured his right scaphoid in the offseason and his return in round two had started to look uncertain, but it now looks like the two-time Sport Bike champion is eyeing a spot on the grid for the final seven races.
Perhaps making up for their absences will be the debut of Christian Allard aboard the Turcotte Performance Ducati machine, after failing to have his Panigale ready for the opening round. Allard showed well in his recent Pro 6 GP outing, and has as much experience around Calabogie as perhaps any other track.
Thus far, only rookie Ryan Taylor has managed to score points for Ducati, but Allard’s entry could be a welcome boost for the Italian manufacturer as they chase Honda and Kawasaki for third in the Constructor’s table.
The full schedule of events for round two action at Calabogie Motorsports Park can now be found on the series’ official website.