MacKay takes Sport Bike championship lead with race two win in Grand Bend

A return to the Grand Bend Motorplex brought a perfect weekend for David MacKay, as he capped off round two with another win in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class to take over the championship lead on Sunday.

After dominating race one on Saturday, MacKay initially had a much tougher time in his second time around his home venue, fending off an early attack from race one runner-up Sebastian Tremblay.

Tremblay managed to hang with the ODH Snow City Cycle Kawasaki rider for just over half the race, but a true fight for the lead never materialized, as MacKay then began to stretch his advantage in the late moments and bring home a convincing 58-point weekend, the maximum available. 

The breakthrough second round was just what MacKay needed and exactly what championship rival Matt Simpson dreaded, as Simpson could only manage fourth on Sunday to turn MacKay’s two-point deficit into a 12-point title cushion.

“Round one wasn’t too great for us, but we knew this could be a turning point in the championship,” MacKay said in front of his home fans. “To do it at this track too just feels amazing.”

As for Tremblay, his challenge for the race win nearly turned into a last-lap defence of second, as a hard-charging Elliot Vieira trimmed the gap down from nearly five seconds to just 0.9 at the line. However, the Turcotte Performance Suzuki rider would ultimately hold on, exiting his middleweight return with a pair of runner-up finishes.

“We changed some things around and it seemed to work, as we were able to follow David for almost half distance before he checked out,” Tremblay said. “It was still a lot of progress for our first weekend on the Suzuki, so hopefully we can fight for the win again in AMP.”

While Vieira’s push for second came up just short at the flag, the third-place result was still a major step in the right direction as he comes to grips with his GP Bikes Ducati, scoring his first podium of the year and Ducati’s first ever podium in the Sport Bike class.

“It was really slick out there – lots of sliding – but we started to reel in Seb quite a bit at the end,” Vieira said. “We could have used a few more laps, but hopefully this helps us get back on top soon.”

A frustrating weekend for Simpson concluded with a fourth-place finish, ending his five-race run on the podium dating back to last year. Still, the Blackstock Motorsports Yamaha rider will escape round two with a manageable 12-point deficit to MacKay, entering an unpredictable third round out east at Atlantic Motorsport Park.

Completing the top-five was Brad Macrae, who salvaged an excellent finish in what was a challenging weekend for the Shannonville race two winner. After a penalty sent him to the back of the grid and his Saturday charge was derailed by an early crash, Macrae carved his way through the pack on Sunday to salvage fifth aboard his Colron Excavating Yamaha. 

Topping the Bickle Racing Pro Twins class for the fourth consecutive time was Jeff Williams, continuing his perfect streak aboard the Williams Paving Aprilia.

Williams again cruised clear of 16-year-old Andrew Van Winkle, who fought through an ankle injury to steal another second-place finish and keep the same spot in the overall championship, though the FD Racing Suzuki rider is still looking to learn as much as possible in his attempt to reel in an unstoppable Williams – who continues his inspiring return to the series after a scary crash in 2020.

“I’ve been having a great time. I got the call from Aprilia this winter, and it’s been just awesome ever since,” Williams said. “I know my family was pretty upset after the incident in ’20, but I’ve trained hard to come back here strong.”

The second consecutive perfect weekend for Williams will extend his championship lead to an even 30-points over Van Winkle entering the third of five rounds next month.

Full results from the middleweight class can be found on the series’ official website at csbk.ca.