Amateur rider Chris Dopke was named the 2019 recipient of the Parts Canada Hard Charger Award, showing the most improvement in qualifying to race times over the course of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship season.
Dopke, riding a Honda CBR600RR out of Cambridge, ON, put together a near 27-second improvement in lap time over the final weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after wet conditions in qualifying, placing him into a tie with fellow Honda rider Andy Chilton for the overall points lead at year’s end.
With each rider scoring eight points, the award was set to come down to a tiebreaker for the first time since it was introduced in 2018, with Dopke beating his Senneville, QC counterpart by virtue of having the biggest overall improvement in time of any weekend on the calendar.
The award, handed out in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class, goes to the rider with the most points by year’s end, with three points to first, two to second, and one to third in each individual weekend. The twist, however, is that no previous winner can repeat with a second victory, a rule that came into play in the season finale at CTMP.
Entering just a single point behind Chilton, Dopke had the largest improvement in time in race two of the doubleheader, but was not able to score the full three points as a result of his win in round two. However, Chilton was also exempt from taking over first place, having done so already in round three.
With another Honda rider in Bev Ackerman scoring the official win, Dopke was pushed to second and Chilton was forced to settle for third, forcing the tie which ultimately went to Dopke. The duo were among eleven different riders to score points this season, up from eight in 2018, as the award race came to a forefront entering the final round.
Ackerman, meanwhile, used the victory to propel himself to third in the overall standings, as the Aurora, ON native finished with four points on the season after a strong weekend at CTMP.
Dopke will join 2018 winner Jose Azevedo as the first two champions in the award’s history, as Parts Canada continues to enjoy their long-time support of the CSBK series.