Ben Young got an even tighter grip on the Pro Superbike crown on Saturday, winning race one at the Canadian Superbike Championship tripleheader finale after a last-lap battle with rival Alex Dumas at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Neither rider got the holeshot off the line as it was instead Sebastien Tremblay who was the surprise leader through turn one, but his lead was short-lived as Dumas got the run into turn two and snatched the lead away with Tremblay between him and Young.
The trio ran together closely for the first three laps along with Tomas Casas in fourth, before Young began to work his way to the front for the first time, taking a lead he would hold onto for much of the race aboard his Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW.
Dumas never allowed the championship leader to pull away, however, hanging with Young to the late stages and grabbing the lead back on a pair of occasions. Young would have one last trick up his sleeve, though, passing Dumas in the final turn on the final lap before winning a drag-race to the line for his fifth victory of the campaign.
The two riders – who famously tied for pole position in round three – were again separated by nothing (0.000 seconds) across the line on the penultimate lap, before Young managed to squeak out an extra 0.193 seconds on the final lap.
“That’s how close Alex and I have liked to keep it this year,” Young joked on the podium. “Alex always keeps it interesting, and it’s so fun to battle with him. The level he’s pushed us too these last two years is phenomenal, but thankfully we’ve been able to lead a lot of laps, and the one which matters most which is the last one.”
Young will stretch his lead to a comfortable 37 points while capturing his tenth career Superbike win, moving himself inside the top-eight all-time, but that hasn’t yet shaken the confidence of Dumas as the Liqui Moly/Fast School Suzuki rider looks to keep his #1 plate with a strong pair of races tomorrow.
“The pace was there, I was just looking to follow Ben and learn a few spots to pass, but he was able to get me in ten and I just didn’t have the drive to the line,” Dumas said. “But we’re going to improve the bike more and more overnight like we always do, and come back and put it in the top spot tomorrow.”
Tremblay’s early race form wasn’t enough to hold up with the likes of Young and Dumas, but he did settle in to an equally exciting battle for the final podium spot with Steven Nickerson, which he managed to come out on top of aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki.
“I got my first holeshot of my career which was really cool to be able to lead a Superbike race, even though it was for two corners until Alex passed me,” Tremblay laughed. “But we have two more chances to hopefully lead again tomorrow and be back up here on the podium again.”
Nickerson would hang on to tie his career-best finish of fourth, finishing just shy of his first career podium, as the DeWildt Powersports Honda rider helped move Honda to fifth in the Constructors Championship and one spot ahead of Ducati.
The biggest change on the grid may have been in the Constructors table, as usual frontrunner Trevor Daley crashed out of the podium running in turn three aboard his OneSpeed Suzuki. The result left Suzuki with just the 20 points from Dumas, countered by the 36 points of Young and Sam Guerin in fifth, who helped extend their title lead to a near-insurmountable 43-points heading into Sunday.
Guerin’s fifth-place finish did not come easy to him, however, as the EFC Group BMW rider held off a strong attack from Casas, who lost the lead group after running wide in turn five but recovered to salvage a strong result for the Parts Canada Yamaha team.
Rennie Scaysbrook made a strong impression in his proper CSBK debut aboard the factory USA Aprilia, charging from 14th on the grid to seventh, with the Australian earning himself the FAST Hard Charger award and an extra $500 to go with it.
Anthony Bergeron would wind up just behind him in eighth aboard his privateer BMW, and moved closer to the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year award in the process, closing to within five points of Trevor Dion with two races left.
In other action, Matt Simpson won a shocking Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike race after a five-rider battle at the front, with the rookie becoming the fifth first-time winner in the Pro ranks this season. More notably, however, was the championship battle between Dion and David MacKay, which was blown wide open in the final few laps.
Julien Lafortune closed up considerably in the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike ranks, taking the lead on lap three and never looking back en route to a dominant thirteen-second victory for Kawasaki.
Despite rival and championship leader John Fraser finishing second, the win will trim his lead to just six points heading into Sunday, with Lafortune hoping a repeat result can lift him past the 16-year-old phenom and reward him with a national championship.
Zoltan Frast scored a debut national win of his own in the Amateur Sport Bike class, topping a five-rider battle that featured numerous passes for the lead, but again the focus was on championship rivals Paul Etienne Courtois and John Fraser.
Courtois seemed to have a golden opportunity in front of him to extend – if not wrap up – his championship lead, but instead he could only settle for third behind Frast and Alexandre Michel, while Fraser carved his way through the grid and salvaged an impressive fifth from eleventh on the grid.
As a result, Courtois will extend his lead but only by four points, though his 15-point advantage will be hard for Fraser to erase in their season finale on Sunday.
Andrew Cooney continued his somewhat perfect run in the Super Sonic Race School Lightweight class, winning for the third time this season in only his third race. The round two star returned in impressive fashion, but faced a stiff challenge from title contenders Bryce DeBoer and Vincent Wilson, who both pushed for the lead at various points.
It appeared as though Wilson would trim his seven-point championship deficit as he went onto the final lap in second, but instead he would miss the podium altogether as both DeBoer and Jacob Black snuck through, a huge swing that sees DeBoer’s grasp raise to 15 points.
Jared Walker got a chance to sport his new #1 plate in the Lightweight Pro/Am class after clinching on Saturday, but his own brother managed to spoil his celebrations, with Cameron Walker narrowly winning a thrilling six-rider battle for the lead.
The Walker’s have dominated the Pro division for most of the season and Saturday was no different, though the battle for the Amateur division remains up for grabs. DeBoer moved himself closer to a second national crown with a third-place finish on-track but top points amongst the Amateurs, though Grant Nesbitt kept himself mathematically alive with a 13th place finish to keep the deficit at 24 points.
The full results from Saturday’s exciting day of CSBK racing can be found here on the series’ official website.