Laing takes emphatic win in Sport Bike race one at Edmonton

The home fans were given an instant reward at the third round of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship on Saturday, as John Laing powered his way to a second career victory in the Economy Lube Pro Sport Bike class at RAD Torque Raceway.

The Cochrane, Alberta native and pole-sitter didn’t get a spectacular start as he dipped back into third on lap one, but his troubles were short-lived as Laing stormed past rivals Elliot Vieira and Sebastien Tremblay to take a comfortable victory at his home round.

Laing made a hard but clinical move on Tremblay into turn six on lap two, standing up the championship leader before chasing down Vieira on lap three and making another beautiful pass in turn seven, the last time either rider would be within striking distance of Laing as he led for the remainder of the 18-lap event.

The Vass Performance Kawasaki rider had to briefly defend from Vieira around the midway point, but Laing responded in excellent fashion to restore a safe advantage and bring home his second career victory.

“That was an interesting one. I didn’t get the greatest start, but Seb left a little bit of a gap and then I was able to reel in Elliot a lap later,” Laing said. “From there I just tried to manage the pace. I could hear the rumble of that [Ducati] V2 behind me, but I was able to stretch it out a bit by the end.”

It was an emotional win for Laing, who put on an impressive show in front of his local friends and family – some of whom had never seen him race prior to Saturday.

“I’ve had a lot of friends and support in the paddock, and especially now at home with my family, it’s so awesome,” Laing said. “I especially have to thank Willie and Nadine Vass who have been with me since day one. I started racing in 2021 and my bikes have been unreal the entire time.”

The win propels Laing to second in the championship order and within 35 points of Tremblay, having trimmed 12 points off his deficit already this weekend, partly thanks to the performance of Vieira behind him.

The Economy Lube Ducati rider led in the early stages and nearly mounted a comeback effort on Laing, but ultimately had to settle for second after the home favourite distanced himself for the final time.

“It’s unfortunate, I felt good early on but things didn’t really pan out,” Vieira said. “I had some vibrations on the handlebars, so it went from trying to keep up with John to just trying to hold onto second ahead of Sebastien.”

As for Tremblay, the Turcotte Performance Suzuki rider was never properly at the front of the field but did what he needed to in regards to the championship picture, escaping with a podium and 16 points despite a difficult trip west.

“It’s nice to just be up here on the podium with them, because we’ve had a bit of a terrible week,” Tremblay admitted. “I’ve had problems with my shoulder which made it a bit of a long race, but these two rode really well so I am okay with third.”

The best action of the race unfolded behind the podium places, as a group of five riders battled for fourth through majority of the contest.

A trio of rookie teenagers would eventually separate themselves in the final stint, as 19-year-old Mavrick Cyr led 16-year-old Philip DeGama-Blanchet and 17-year-old Andrew Van Winkle with two laps to go.

A slight bobble from Cyr would allow DeGama-Blanchet through in turn seven on the penultimate lap, however, and the Calgary, Alberta native would hold on the rest of the way while Van Winkle sliced his way past Cyr for fifth.

It matches the best result of the season for DeGama-Blanchet as he marked the second Vass Performance Kawasaki inside the top-four, while Van Winkle exited with a strong comeback effort in fifth for FD Racing Suzuki after a horrible start forced him to carve his way through the field.

A difficult final two laps overshadowed what was a strong Economy Lube Ducati debut for Cyr, who sat inside the top-five for virtually the entire race despite still getting acclimated to his new machine.

Local star Justin Knapik managed an impressive seventh in his national return, with the Edmonton native running as high as fourth in the early going. The Argyll Motorsports Yamaha rider would slip back in the late stages but still salvaged a great result after battling with the younger trio ahead of him.

Alex Michel tied his best result of the season in eighth, a much-needed crop of points after the SpeedFactory67 rider faced multiple mechanical failures in round two, while local rider Neil Lauzon held off Suzuki Canada’s Marco Sousa to round out the top ten.

The strong showing of Laing out front and DeGama-Blanchet in fourth will help Kawasaki claw back a handful of points on Constructors Championship leaders Suzuki, reducing their deficit to 53 points while extending a 21-point advantage over Ducati in third.

Race two of the Economy Lube Pro Sport Bike class is scheduled to get underway Sunday at roughly 1 pm local time (3 pm ET) from RAD Torque Raceway.

Full results can be found here.