Tomas Casas and the Parts Canada Yamaha team headed to round two of the Mopar CSBK season with mixed expectations after round one, but managed to overcome a string of tough luck moments to post a strong weekend at the Grand Bend Motorplex.
Despite his hot start to the Mopar Pro Superbike season, the focus remained on his defending number one plate in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class. The two-time reigning champion remained positive despite crashing out in round one, a situation made worse with the schedule shifting to one of Casas’ tougher tracks in Grand Bend.
After switching engines in the YZF-R6 machine, the team experienced some early problems but managed to find their front-running pace as the weekend went on, qualifying in fourth position and briefly leading the session before being demoted by local riders Will Hornblower and Dylan Bauer, and rival Sebastian Tremblay.
The narrower track forced Casas to start from row two for Sunday’s race, but the Peterborough, ON native got a solid start and quickly settled in behind the lead group as five riders broke away from the pack early on.
With movement ahead of him and another local rider in David MacKay pressing behind him, Casas began to up the aggressiveness on lap six, passing championship leader Will Hornblower to move into the top three.
Things took a controversial turn shortly after, however, as a collision between Tremblay and Bauer knocked the former out of the race and Bauer off-track, handing the race lead to Casas with a comfortable gap behind him. Unfortunately, Tremblay would require a red flag to stop the race, and after CSBK officials determined the race complete, many presumed Casas to be the winner ahead of Hornblower and MacKay.
Instead, Tremblay was initially awarded the victory ahead of Bauer with Casas finishing third. The decision led to a formal protest amongst several riders in the class, however, which ultimately concluded with the result being overturned and Casas being named the winner after all.
While it was a disappointing way for Casas to score the victory, the result at least pulls him back into the championship hunt, as the team now sits within 14 points of the top three and in sixth place overall with five races to go.
Tomas has declined to comment on the race and its final decision, but extends his best wishes to Sebastien and hopes for a quick recovery from his injury.
As for the Pro Superbike feature class, it continues to be a breakout campaign from Casas in his first year aboard a YZF-R1 superbike.
The 2015 Pro Rookie of the Year ran inside the top ten for majority of the weekend before qualifying in ninth, just two spots off his qualifying position of seventh at the season opener.
Similarly to round one, it was a good start from Casas, as he ran with veteran Jeff Williams in a battle for seventh in the early going. The Yamaha rider would ultimately pass Williams and begin to separate himself from the former race-winner, as he attempted to hunt down championship contender Sam Trepanier ahead of him.
Despite a massive deficit to Trepanier, Casas worked hard and was able to catch the BMW rider and make quick work of him, settling in to sixth and nearly catching Michael Leon for fifth place, but it was too little too late.
“I am very happy to have finished the Superbike race strong and consistent. All weekend I was struggling to find confidence getting power around the tight corners of Grand Bend,” Casas said. “After all, I am still getting used to riding a Superbike. Some changes for Sunday's race, along with the in-race mentality, definitely contributed to the results.”
With Casas scoring consecutive top-six finishes to begin the year, the Yamaha rider now finds himself in a tie for third place in the overall standings, a remarkable feat given his inexperience on the new superbike machine.
Casas will now head to one of his stronger tracks on the calendar at Autodrome Ste. Eustache in two weeks, where he won in the Sport Bike class and finished seventh in the Superbike category a year ago.
Tomas and the team would like to thank all his sponsors for their hard work, including Yamaha Motor Canada, Parts Canada, Pro 6 Cycle & Dunlop Tires, Hindle Exhaust, Brooklin Cycle Racing, GBRacing, J.J. Stewart Motors Ltd., Flexiglass, Bickle Racing, Blue Streak Racing, DP Brakes, Human 2.0, EHR Sports, Vortex, Peterborough Cycle Salvage, Trackdayhub.com, and all other personnel and fans for their love and support.
You can keep up with Tomas Casas’ 2019 journey on his social media platforms:
Instagram & Twitter: @tomas_casas18
Facebook: Tomas Casas Racing
From a press release