Strathroy, ON teenager Trevor Dion claimed his first ever National victory on Saturday, winning race one in the TSN Motorcycle Experience Lightweight Sport Bike class in their bonus round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Calabogie Motorsports Park.
Dion started from pole position aboard his Fast Track Performance Kawasaki Ninja 400 after setting the fastest lap in the morning qualifying, and put that start to good use to score the first win for Kawasaki since the Lightweight class was introduced at the start of the 2018 season.
It wasn’t a start-to-finish lead for Dion, however, as the youngster actually sat at the back of a front-running quartet for much of the race before making a number of key overtakes in the final laps, narrowly defeating fellow teenagers Keegan Gaudet and championship leader Ben LeClair to the finish line in a terrific four-way battle.
Adding to the drama was the changing conditions mother nature had in store at the halfway point of the race, as light rainfall made the track slippery in the latter stages.
“That was so much fun, it was so close at the end, I thought for sure there was going to be some bumping on the front straight,” said Dion. “It’s the first win for Kawasaki in the series, which is amazing to be a part of.”
Gaudet managed to edge LeClair by just 0.028 seconds at the line, as the Ellerslie, PEI native scored his fourth podium of the season aboard his WRBF Racing Yamaha YZF-R3, while Blackstock, ON’s LeClair was able to stretch his points lead to 45 with the third-place finish aboard his bLU cRU Yamaha.
“That was a hell of a race! Me and Ben were so close at the end there, I’m pretty sure we scraped elbows a little bit,” said Gaudet. “I really wanted to win that one, but picking up the second place and the points is always good for the standings.”
LeClair especially struggled with the weather, nearly losing the rear end on multiple occasions, but the youngster was able to bring home a crucial third-place finish heading into race two on Sunday.
“That was so scary, I nearly crashed like a hundred times on the last lap,” said LeClair. “It was a really good battle, but I’m glad to just bring it home on the podium because things got pretty sideways at the end!”
Missing from the front-running four by the time the checkered flag waved was Gaudet’s teammate, Avery Hart, as the Princeville, NS native crashed out of the lead with three laps to go as he continues to see his championship hopes slip away.
Hart had entered round three at Autodrome St-Eustache with a 40-point stranglehold over LeClair, but has managed just a fourth-place finish along with two DNF’s in the three races since to fall to third in the point standings and 48 points behind LeClair.
“It was just starting to get wet, and I think Avery just went in a little too hot and couldn’t save it,” explained Gaudet, his WRBF Yamaha co-star. “It obviously sucks for him, but I think he’ll bounce back tomorrow if the weather’s nice and he can get a good start.”
Just missing the podium was Laval, QC veteran Alex Berthiaume, who made a late charge aboard his Yamaha Laval machine but was unable to hold off his younger counterparts in LeClair and Gaudet. Fortunately for Berthiaume, the finish was enough to move him into second in the championship standings, just three points clear of Hart.
Rounding out the top five in race one was Toronto, ON’s Jacob Black, who managed his fourth consecutive top-seven finish as he climbs back into the fight for a top five spot in the year-end point standings aboard his Kawasaki machine.
Full results from Saturday’s bonus round action at Calabogie Motorsports Park can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.