The first leg of Sunday’s action-packed Pro Superbike tripleheader did not disappoint, as Ben Young held off title rival Alex Dumas in a sensational battle in race one at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Young’s pole position start was quickly negated by Dumas, as the championship leader stormed off the line to grab the holeshot and pace the eight-rider lead group through the opening laps.
After a few pass attempts were denied by Dumas early on, Young finally made the decisive move on lap six, putting his Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW at the front of the pack with numerous challengers close behind.
Dumas nearly spoiled Young’s charge as the duo renewed their battle on the final lap, but the 2019 champion ultimately closed the door and sealed a crucial victory as he trims his title deficit to just six points.
Despite the unsuccessful pass attempts, Dumas was able to hang on for an equally important second-place finish, as the Liqui Moly MPG FAST Riding School rookie escaped race one of three with a championship lead intact.
Completing the podium was fellow Suzuki rider Trevor Daley, who benefited from a late red-flag incident that pushed the results back to the previous lap. Daley had been running third for much of the race, but ultimately lost the position to Sebastian Tremblay on the final lap – though Tremblay was pushed back to fourth due to the unfortunate last-lap red flag.
Completing the top five was Tomas Casas, who was forced to start from seventh after Friday’s qualifying crash but managed to work his way back into the lead group. After running briefly inside the top three, Casas ran into late trouble and faded back aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha, settling for a solid fifth at his home circuit.
One of the biggest movers – both up and down the leaderboard – was reigning champion Jordan Szoke, who quickly made up for his unfortunate ninth-place qualifying position by joining the lead group early on.
However, after running as high as third and briefly putting pressure on the leaders, Szoke ran into problems of his own in the closing stages, fading well off the pace and mustering only a distant sixth – his worst finish on track since 2008.
Steven Nickerson battled through injury to claim a solid seventh in race one, scoring the first points for Honda this season aboard his Dewildt Powersports machine, as the SOAR Regional champion recovered from a crash earlier this week to briefly run with the lead group early on.
Launching his way up the grid to eighth was rookie Samuel Guerin, who struggled with mechanical difficulties on Friday to only qualify in 12th for the EFC Group BMW team but fixed the issue on Sunday, as he was lapping similarly to the podium finishers en route to his first points finish of the season.
In the process, Guerin secured the first FAST Riding School Hard Charger award of the weekend, which is given to the rider in each Superbike race deemed to have produced the best effort in the context of that race, specifically one who overcame certain challenges across the weekend.
Despite Young’s victory, the double-podium for Suzuki boosts their hopes of securing the inaugural Constructors Championship, with Dumas and Daley providing them a 36-point cushion over BMW entering race two and three this afternoon.
Championship leader Mackenzie Weil extended his advantage in the Super Sonic Road Race School Lightweight class, fending off a thrilling battle throughout the race to continue his perfect season.
A four-rider group broke away quickly and maintained that gap throughout the contest, before a crash promoted Weil to the front in the late stages, handing him the lead for good with three laps to go as he held off fellow Kawasaki challenger Jacob Black across the line.
Weil’s biggest challenger, Jean-Francois Croteau, overcame a grid penalty that forced him to start from the back, powering his way to fifth as he salvaged enough points to maintain second in the championship.
The points lead changed hands early in the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike category, however, as former championship leader Anthony Bergeron crashed out on lap one as a lead group broke away.
The incident allowed title rivals Pascal Bastien and Alex Cleary to gain an advantage over the rest of the field, with Bastien leading the rest of the way for the victory despite relentless pressure from Cleary in second.
As a result, Bastien will take over the championship lead entering race two on Sunday, while Cleary jumps to fourth overall and just a handful of points behind Bergeron, who will aim to fix his bike in time for the second leg of their doubleheader this afternoon.
Brad Macrae moved one step closer to clinching the Amateur Sport Bike title, winning race one in dominant fashion after rival Matthew Simpson crashed out.
Macrae will take a 42-point lead over fourth-place finisher Nathan Playford in the title fight, with his first chance to secure the trophy coming in race two this afternoon.
Race two and three of the Pro Superbike tripleheader are slated to run this afternoon at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, while the results from the other national classes can be found online at the series’ official website at csbk.ca.