Tomas Casas and the Yamaha Canada/Parts Canada/ITK9 team began – and ended – their 2022 CSBK campaign with a trio of excellent results this weekend, making a strong impression in their season debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Casas missed the first three rounds of the four-round season with a hand injury, but was finally recovered enough to fight through a loaded Pro Superbike field at CTMP, bringing an overhauled YZF-R1 package that featured a new Fast Company engine courtesy of Scott Miller and added sponsorship from Taso’s Restaurant and Pizzeria.
Despite the team not racing nationally in almost a full calendar year, Casas showed immediate pace on Friday as he went sixth-fastest in FP1, briefly running inside the top-three early in the session. That position would become somewhat of a trend for him, as he continued to go sixth-fastest in Q1 later that afternoon before ending his day sixth in Q2, putting himself on the middle of row two at his home track.
The compressed tripleheader schedule meant Casas would have his first taste of racing on Saturday before two races on Sunday, and the start to race one couldn’t have gone much better for the Yamaha rider as he got a great start and quickly latched onto the lead trio in fourth.
Casas was matching championship frontrunners Ben Young and Alex Dumas on pace when he went just a touch too deep into turn five, losing the lead pack and dropping outside the top-five. Despite some arm pump and mild pain in his hand setting in, Casas was still able to fight his way back to a familiar position, running good late pace to finish sixth and score his first points of the year.
“I had a great start, but unfortunately having not raced in so long caused me to make a couple costly mistakes trying to keep up with the guys out front and I gave myself some extra work,” Tomas said.
Sunday brought two more chances for Casas to chase a second career Superbike podium, and the team got off to a great start as he improved to fourth-fastest in FP3 and again ran inside the top-three for most of the practice session.
The start to race two was another good one for the Parts Canada rider, who was firmly in a bigger lead battle and this time ahead of Sebastien Tremblay, who he chased early in race one. That race was quickly red-flagged, but a restart meant another opportunity for the team to challenge the front.
Ultimately no one had the pace to match Young and Dumas on the restart, but Casas stayed close to Trevor Daley, who in the end was able to steal the final podium spot – though Tomas held on for an excellent fourth-place finish.
The final race of the day brought a similar result but in much more frustrating circumstances, as Casas put in a strong first two laps and was putting plenty of pressure on Tremblay for third when the race was red-flagged again just four laps in.
This time the day would not continue, with Casas settling for fourth and half-points despite what looked like his best chance at a podium, though it was still a strong day overall that brough two top-four finishes and helped Casas clinch fourth in the Constructors Championship for Yamaha.
“It’s too bad the last race ended so early, as I was finally setting the same times as Alex and Ben at the front,” Tomas said. “Overall I was expecting a little more coming into the weekend, but considering how long I had been off the bike I was happy that I kept improving and ended the weekend with my fastest times on the last race.”
One positive to come out of race three for Casas was the FAST School Hard Charger award and a $500 cheque to go with it, which he earned after making up two positions in just three laps, making him the only rider to earn any real progress in the shortened third race.
The excellent weekend will lift Casas all the way to 12th in the final standings despite missing six of the nine races this season, an impressive feat as he hopes to carry this momentum into 2023 and join the championship fight.
Tomas would like to thank Yamaha Canada, Parts Canada, ITK9, and Taso’s for all their efforts this weekend, along with GBRacing, Motul, Pro6 Cycle and Dunlop Tires, Hindle Exhaust, Bickle Racing, Flexiglass, DP Brakes, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Vortex, Human 2.0, Forsaken Motorsports, Peterborough Cycle Salvage, Trackdayhub, Laps4MD, and everyone else who has supported him through his injury and return to the CSBK paddock.
He would also like to give a special thanks to his entire team for all their help and hard work throughout the weekend: Julio Casas (dad), Payam Shafinia, Zach Berens-Firth, Andrew Trevitt, and John Cornwell.
You can follow Tomas Casas through his social media platforms below:
Facebook: Tomas Casas Racing
From a press release