CSBK Untold: Extra Storylines from Round Five at SMP

It seems like not much more excitement can be packed into Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship weekends, but every round more and more stories are left on the cutting room floor by the time Sunday comes and goes.

From the major stories that require a bit more detail, to the countless hidden gems that never crack the spotlight, here are some added storylines from the final round of the 2023 season at Shannonville Motorsport Park.

Daley’s superhuman comeback

Around this time roughly eight weeks ago, Trevor Daley was sitting in a hospital bed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after undergoing surgery to repair a broken femur – an injury that requires four-to-six months to heal, according to most medical sources. 

But not even halfway through the lower end of that timeframe, Daley returned to SMP cleared to ride, and it was like he never left. The OneSpeed Suzuki rider finished fifth, sixth, and sixth in the three feature GP Bikes Pro Superbike races, battling numerous times with a fully healthy and red-hot Sam Guerin. 

His gritty performances moved him back into eighth in the final standings despite missing all three races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and he finished as the top Suzuki rider in race one and the second rider in races two and three, helping them score valuable points in the Constructors Championship even if they did come up just short to BMW.

There have been rumblings that Sunday at SMP was the last CSBK would see of Daley, but if that’s unfortunately the case it will be a heroic end to what’s been one of the best careers of the 2000’s, racking up 16 podiums (14th-most all-time) and finishing as the championship runner-up in 2014. 

Campbell’s impressive Superbike debut

You won’t have to look far into the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class to know Connor Campbell is a talented rider, winning race one this season and nearly snatching another victory at CTMP. However, for a rider who had never sat on a Superbike prior to Friday, it would be fair to wonder how he might adjust at SMP.

It’s safe to say the adjustment period is already over.

Campbell was instantly in the midfield group in his debut with the Canadian Kawasaki program, finishing eighth and seventh in races one and two and challenging for another top-seven finish on Sunday before running wide off the backstraight, ending in eleventh. 

The 24-year-old had nothing but good things to say about his experience with new teammate Jordan Szoke, and the feeling seemed to be mutual as Szoke praised his efforts from the podium, with the two crucially moving Kawasaki up to third in the final standings of the Constructors Championship.

Dion’s last-minute switch leads to glory

The days leading up to the final round of the 2023 season were hardly straightforward for Trevor Dion and the LDS Consultants crew. After mutually going their separate ways with Szoke, Dion initially planned to ride a privateer Kawasaki, before contemplating a return to his privateer BMW from 2022.

Then came the Economy Lube and Tire Ducati program, led by Stephen Moxey, and the rest is (so far) history. 

Dion stepped on the podium in all three races, winning Rookie of the Year and securing Ducati’s best results since 1995, but he made sure the work behind the scenes didn’t go unnoticed in the days leading up to the event.

“There were a lot of long mornings to get this bike together – I honestly don’t know if Scott Miller has slept all week,” Dion joked about the renowned engine builder who now happens to be his crew chief. “I’m so fortunate to have this team behind me. They have been working so hard at the last-minute, so it’s nice to pick up a podium for them.”

The future of CSBK is in better hands than ever

Much has been said about the youth movement in the paddock this season, but the kids completely took over in the final round of the season. 

Mavrick Cyr (18) cruised home with both amateur championships in 2023 while Vincent Lalande (15) scored the Amateur Lightweight title in his debut CSBK season, but the champions were just the tip of the iceberg.

Western phenom Philip Degama-Blanchet (15) scored his first national victory in the amateur ranks as did reigning Lightweight champion Bryce DeBoer (17), while Mack Weil (19) scored a pair of second-place finishes.

Jack Beaudry (16) then capped off his debut Lightweight year with a second-place finish ahead of Ryan Beattie (15) while both were beaten by Vincent Wilson, who is the de facto “veteran” of the group despite being just 20 years old. 

Each of Cyr, Degama-Blanchet, DeBoer, and Weil will have to turn pro for 2024 (Cyr and Weil already elected to do so for the Pro Sport Bike race on Sunday), but it might not take long before they start to steal the spotlight once again.