Fans of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship will be forced to wait longer than expected for qualifying results from the two Pro classes, as rain temporarily halted Friday’s action in the season finale Doubleheader Weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, presented by BMW Motorrad.
With rain closing in during the Mopar Pro Superbike qualifying session, riders in the feature class were forced to wait past the original start time for the subsequent Top Ten SuperPole session. The track had dried out in time for the field to settle the qualifying order before another patch of rain halted things once again, resulting in an early end to the day with qualifying yet to be completed.
CSBK officials will announce their formal qualifying plans at roughly 7:30 am ET on Saturday, with the two options being either a SuperPole restart on Saturday morning, or the original qualifying results from Friday being made official.
Qualifying was also pushed back for the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, which will be subject to a similar announcement on Saturday.
Should the original qualifying results from Friday stand as official, it would be championship leader Ben Young starting from pole position after leading the session with a time of 1:22.405 aboard his Liqui Moly/Barrie Trim BMW S1000RR.
The Collingwood, ON native enters Saturday with a chance to clinch his first ever CSBK title regardless of the qualifying results, as he carries a commanding 59-point lead into the weekend over rival Jordan Szoke.
“We’re in a really good position, but things are far from over, and Jordan’s not going to make it easy on us,” Young said. “We just got to keep doing what we’ve done all year – I think we’ve been first in all but two or three sessions – so if we can keep that going tomorrow, regardless of how things play out, it should go well for us.”
Second-fastest on the day was Young’s veteran teammate, Jeff Williams, who could potentially tie his best qualifying result of the season after falling just 0.147 seconds behind Young aboard his Williams Paving BMW.
The Inverary, ON native and former race-winner is the oldest Superbike rider in the field at 47, but will look to cap off his resurgent campaign alongside his younger counterpart in the weekend doubleheader.
“It feels good to be at the front here, running alongside Ben and all the kids,” Williams joked. “I would have loved to get a shot at pole, but the weather got a little wild at the end and keeping everyone safe is the main thing, so we’ll at least get to save some energy tonight and try to push a little harder tomorrow.”
While Young and Williams will be among the list of names hoping that Friday’s results are made official, Szoke will be perhaps the biggest name hoping for another shot on Saturday, as the four-time defending champion struggled to eighth aboard his Mopar Express Lane Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja.
The Lynden, ON veteran was visibly frustrated at the end of the day with his shot at a fifth consecutive title and 14th overall on the line, but tried to keep things in perspective earlier in the afternoon as he enters CTMP in unfamiliar territory.
“Realistically, it’s going to be tough for us to come back, but anything can happen and crazier things have happened, so we just got to keep pushing,” Szoke said. “If we can end the year strong and add a couple wins, maybe things go our way, but if not at least it’s a good start for next year.”
Rounding out an all-BMW top-three was Blysk Racing’s Samuel Trepanier, who posted a time of 1:22.998 as he looks to make up for his heartbreaking trip to the East Coast in round four, when the St. Isidore, QC native lost out on his first career win by just a few feet to Young.
It was also a disappointing end to the day for the front-runners in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, who got in very limited track time after both weather and track conditions disrupted their day. The morning practice session was cut short due to concerns about debris on the track, but once the circuit was deemed safe, the weather began to throw a wrench into the scheduled qualifying session.
As a result, majority of the class competitors were unable to produce a relevant time, including championship leader Will Hornblower, who’s best times were produced in the Superbike category aboard his Bickle Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
“It’s been a weird day, mostly because the track wasn’t great until the weather hit, so it’s really about trying to get a good feel for things before we can put in those fast laps,” the Sarnia, ON native said. “There’s not a lot of issues to work through in terms of the bike, so hopefully things get better so we can push the pace this weekend.”
It was an equally unusual day for his rival, Tomas Casas, who was unable to post a strong time aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha machine. The two-time defending champion out of Peterborough, ON was still able to run solidly in his limited time aboard his YZF-R1 superbike, but was unable to gain any ground aboard his YZF-R6 machine as he looks to erase a 34-point deficit to Hornblower.
The lone two classes to successfully complete the scheduled qualifying on Friday were the Amateur ranks, with Samuel Guerin and Jared Walker claiming pole position in the respective categories.
Guerin, making just his second appearance in the Mopar Express Lane Amateur Superbike class out of Quebec City, QC, was able to outlast the conditions aboard his Aprilia RSV4RR and score his second pole of the year.
Meanwhile, the Oakville, ON native of Walker – also making his second appearance of the year aboard his Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja – was able to capitalize on changing conditions to secure his first ever National pole, though the attention will likely fall on third-place qualifier Jake LeClair out of Blackstock, ON.
While LeClair’s qualifying result will not jump off the page, the bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R6 youngster will have a chance at erasing his 20-point deficit to championship leader Christian Allard on Saturday, after the Chambly, QC native suffered a mechanical issue aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki and was unable to qualify.
In addition to the pending qualifying announcements regarding the two Pro classes, the TSN Motorcycle Experience Lightweight Sport Bike class will qualify on Saturday morning as originally scheduled.
The weekend schedule, though subject to change, can be found on the official series’ website at www.csbk.ca.