FAST Hard Charger Award returning for round one at Shannonville

The popular FAST Riding School Hard Charger Award will be returning in round one of the 2023 Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship season, as the FAST Riding School is set to hand out the prize this weekend at Shannonville Motorsport Park, May 19-21. 

Available only to the feature GP Bikes Pro Superbike class, the FAST Hard Charger Award has thus far been given out in 2021 and 2022 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, with six previous winners across the six races there.  

As historic Shannonville Motorsport Park now returns to the calendar, the FAST Riding School will be celebrating each Hard Charger at their own home venue, with the school based out of SMP since it was founded in 1987 by Alan Labrosse and later owned by fellow former top-pro Michel Mercier.

Now owned and operated by another past CSBK star and long-time FAST instructor, Martin Hamel, the FAST Riding School has grown rapidly to become one of the most recognized and respected schools across Canada. 

The award and its accompanying $500 prize will be handed out after each GP Bikes Pro Superbike race, meaning there will be two different winners at round one in Shannonville, and goes to the rider “deemed to have produced the best effort in the context of the race,” as chosen by Bridgestone CSBK media staff.

In most instances, this has either gone to a rider that has gained a number of positions during the race and/or one that has overcome exceptional circumstances to finish. One rider cannot win twice in one weekend, producing separate winners at each event.

Last time out at the CTMP tripleheader, Rennie Scaysbrook took the prize in race one after charging from 14th to finish seventh for Aprilia. Ducati rookie Ryan Taylor then earned the honours in race two after finding a local Panigale V4 at the last minute to get him through the weekend, while Tomas Casas took the final award after claiming a strong fourth-place finish in his first weekend returning from injury. 

Other previous victors of the award from 2021 include Sam Guerin, Jordan Szoke (winning from ninth on the grid), and Casas – the only duplicate winner of the prize thus far after charging from 16th to sixth at CTMP.

This year’s opening round at SMP will be sure to provide plenty of options throughout the field, with one of the deepest and most unpredictable grids in recent Pro Superbike memory, some of which have limited experience at Shannonville. 

The season will get underway with an official CSBK test day on Thursday, May 18, before racing kicks off from Friday to Sunday, May 19-21.