Young holds off Collins to win hectic race one at Edmonton

Ben Young escaped with a crucial and dramatic victory at RAD Torque Raceway on Saturday, fending off Torin Collins in a last-lap duel at the third round of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship.

Young led the race from start-to-finish, grabbing the holeshot and gradually extending a comfortable advantage as the rest of the field battled behind him, but a charging Collins rapidly erased that gap in the final five laps as he chased a historic victory in his CSBK debut.

Collins got a poor start from second on the grid and slid to fourth behind Alex Dumas and Jordan Szoke, allowing Young to build up as much as a five-second advantage by the midway point, but Collins would eventually claw his way through Szoke and Dumas to find clean air and begin his hunt towards Young.

The 18-year-old Collins was carving away nearly a second-per-lap on Young before the championship leader stabilized things with three laps to go, but lapped traffic held Young up just enough to allow Collins to close within striking distance on the final lap.

The two would go side-by-side in the final few corners before Young slammed the door, escaping with the race one victory by just 0.4 seconds at the line.

It was a massive result for the Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider, who almost doubled his championship lead from 15 points to 29 in his first race at RAD Torque Raceway.

“I knew it was going to be wicked pace, and I was kinda keeping an eye on Torin all weekend,” Young admitted. “But our Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW was working well enough that I knew I could put my head down and run a comfortable pace, so it’s nice to bring home the win in my first trip here.”

As for Collins, the Novalda Kawasaki rookie put on quite the impressive showing in his wildcard debut, reeling in Young and nearly stealing a victory in his first ever Superbike race, a feat that would have put him alongside Dumas as the only riders to ever do so.

The win was also a monumental one for BMW as a manufacturer, as they score their 63rd career Superbike victory – equalling Suzuki’s mark for second all-time (and now just eleven behind Kawasaki for the feature class lead).

“I knew I was going to have to work really hard out there, but I got a bad start and then the bike just felt a little slow,” Collins said. “After the first couple laps I knew I had better pace though, so once I got by Alex I was lapping really well. Another lap or two would have been nice, but I’ll take second.”

Settling for third in his CSBK return was Dumas, who didn’t have as much of a challenge for his rival Young as he would have hoped. However, the Economy Lube Ducati rider remains confident that with some mechanical fixes he can close the gap on Sunday.

“First off, I have to thank Steve Moxey from Economy Lube, crew chief Scott Miller, and the whole team for the opportunity. A week ago I didn’t even know if we’d be here,” Dumas said. “I had some front chatter which was weird and made things really difficult, but we’ll do our homework tonight and get back up to the front tomorrow.”

Dumas extended his streak of having every career finish be on the podium, but by the finest of margins after Szoke nearly spoiled his return on the final lap.

The CKM Kawasaki veteran managed to stay with Dumas once Collins had made his way through the pair and wound up just three second off the victory, one of his closest efforts yet as he continues to work his way back from 2022 injuries.

Rounding out the top five was Sam Guérin, who ran a lonely race for the EFC Group BMW team as he ultimately couldn’t stick with the lead quartet. While still a solid result in his first trip to RAD Torque, it was a bitter one for the championship fight as Guérin slips to 29 points behind Young entering race two.

Local favourite Paul Macdonell earned a career-best sixth in his homecoming, charging through a late-race battle with former regional foes Brian Worsdall and Tosh Gable. The Grande Prairie, Alberta native made a great pass on Worsdall into turn one and held on the rest of the way aboard his PMR/Vass Performance BMW, moving him into fifth in the overall championship.

Worsdall would relinquish another position to 16-year-old Philip DeGama-Blanchet in the final laps, an excellent result for the rookie aboard his lesser-powered Vass Performance Kawasaki Sport Bike machine, though Worsdall held on for an impressive eighth for Mots Machining Honda.

Pro Rookie of the Year leader Connor Campbell made some late improvements to earn ninth, keeping him tied with Macdonell for fifth in the championship aboard his B&T MacFarlane/Kubota Kawasaki.

Jon Bullee would complete the top ten at his home circuit for Riverside Honda, holding off Bronti Verbeek in a late battle. Verbeek, notably the first female pro since Stacey Nesbitt in 2017, would settle for a strong eleventh for Jack Carter Powersports BMW.

Missing from the final order was David MacKay, who crashed out of sixth early in the race. The ODH Snow City Cycle Honda rider was reeling in Guérin for fifth when he fell in turn ten, though he’ll retain fourth in the championship entering Sunday.

While it was a difficult day for Guérin, his performance coupled with Young’s victory was enough to add a slight extension to BMW’s total in the Constructors Championship, though Kawasaki countered with an excellent day from Collins and Szoke.

BMW will hope for an even better day in race two as they try to build upon their dominant 82-point advantage, while Kawasaki tries to hold off Honda, Suzuki, and Ducati for second.

Race two of the feature class is scheduled to get underway at roughly 3 pm local time (5 pm ET) on Sunday, with the full slate kicking off at 1 pm local time.

Full results from Saturday’s action can be found here.