For the first time in nearly a decade, the second round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship will feature a different points leader in the Mopar Pro Superbike class, as Ben Young will head to the Grand Bend Motorplex as the man to beat this weekend, June 7-9.
Young captured just his second career victory in round one aboard his Barrie Trim/Scot-Build BMW S1000RR, as the Collingwood, ON rider looks to make up for past mistakes at arguably his strongest track on the calendar.
It was a year ago in Grand Bend that Young nearly won his first ever Pro Superbike race, leading on the final lap before making a critical error in the penultimate corner that resulted in a win for four-time defending champion Jordan Szoke.
Now with two wins under his belt, Young will look to extend his points lead over Szoke, with the Lynden, ON veteran finding himself in an unfamiliar position as he chases his 14th National championship aboard a Mopar Express Lane Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
Not only does Szoke fail to hold a championship lead for the first time in seven years, but he finds himself third in the standings after settling for the final podium spot in the season opener behind Belfountain, ON’s Kenny Riedmann.
Sporting a Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki, Riedmann has yet to confirm his plans for the full season but is expected to compete in round two at Grand Bend, where he finished third two seasons ago.
One of the biggest surprises from round one was the immediate impact of Tomas Casas aboard his new Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R1 machine, as the Peterborough, ON youngster finished fourth in his first ever race on a Superbike and will look to claim his first podium in the feature class this weekend.
Another dark horse to watch will be St. Isidore, QC’s Samuel Trepanier, who typically opposes tight circuits such as Grand Bend but is always a threat to challenge for a podium – or possibly score his first career Pro victory - aboard his Blysk Racing BMW.
A rider who typically favours tighter tracks, however, is Verdun, QC teenager Nicolas Meunier, who could be in line for a breakout performance aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja as he chases the 2019 Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year award.
After years of tough-luck results, Hornblower finally took the top step of the podium in round one aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6, and the Sarnia, ON native will look for a repeat performance at his home circuit.
Hornblower won’t be the only hometown rider coming off a strong performance, however, as Hamilton, ON’s David MacKay finished second aboard his Mack Attack Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja and could be in line for his first career Pro victory after he was leading for a portion of last years contest.
MacKay was injured in a scary incident at a regional race earlier this month but is fully committed to racing at Grand Bend, albeit at less than 100 per cent as he tries to keep himself in the championship fight early on.
Notably absent from the top of the standings are two-time reigning champion Casas and his biggest rival in Mirabel, QC’s Sebastien Tremblay. A late-race crash in round one left Casas with zero points and the DB Moto Kawasaki of Tremblay with a 12th place finish, but both will look to rebound with a victory in round two.
Possibly the most exciting series to watch will be the TSN Motorcycle Experience Lightweight Sport Bike class, where Princeville, NS’s Avery Hart leads the championship by just two points aboard his WRBF Racing Yamaha YZF-R3.
With every round serving as a doubleheader for the development class, Hart will have two opportunities to extend his lead over Blackstock, ON teenager Ben LeClair, who traded wins with Hart in round one aboard his Yamaha machine.
The Mopar Express Lane Amateur Superbike class could also be a wide-open battle at the front, with Markham, ON’s Dave Natale winning the season opener aboard his Aprilia RSV4 RR by under a half-second over Blainville, QC’s Guillaume Fortin and his Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
As for the older LeClair brother, Jake will aim to score his first career Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike victory in round two aboard a bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R6. Last year’s Lightweight class winner struggled in round one, losing out to St. Marc-sur-Richelieu, QC’s Christian Allard and his Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja, but could be better suited for the Grand Bend circuit as he continues to adapt to the bigger machine.
Information regarding round two at the Grand Bend Motorplex, including the weekend schedule, can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.