Van Winkle takes historic Sport Bike victory in Edmonton

The Economy Lube Pro Sport Bike class produced another wild result on Sunday, as Andrew Van Winkle secured a historic victory in round three of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship at RAD Torque Raceway.

The reigning Pro Twins champion made his Sport Bike debut on Saturday and exited with a respectable fifth, but he had plenty more to show in race two as he immediately jumped past pole-sitter John Laing and into second behind Elliot Vieira.

Things would get worse for Laing as the race one winner and home favourite was promptly passed by Mavrick Cyr on lap one, shunting him down to fourth with championship leader Sebastien Tremblay fifth.

Laing would eventually move back through on Cyr and hunt down Van Winkle by lap four, but the FD Racing Suzuki rider defended beautifully and began to chase down Vieira for the lead, setting up a potential three-way battle for the win.

Instead, Vieira would crash out of the lead in turn two around the halfway point of the race, promoting Van Winkle to the front while Laing struggled to match the pace of the British Columbia teenager.

Van Winkle would cruise the rest of the way to a comfortable and historic victory, becoming the youngest winner in Pro Sport Bike history at just 17 years and 54 days old, surpassing Chris Peris’ record from Calgary in 2004 by 224 days.

“It was a bit disappointing yesterday, but today I got the start I needed and I just felt comfortable right away,” Van Winkle said. “It’s such a great feeling to win here and in front of these fans. I don’t even know what to say, I’m just super pumped to be here.”

Already the youngest pro champion in CSBK history from his Twins title in 2023, Van Winkle added another major notch on his resumé as he joins Trevor Dion as the only two Sport Bike riders to win within their first two races (no one has won on their debut).

As for Laing, the home favourite was displaced once again by Cyr with two laps to go, as Cyr made a beautiful pass for second in turn one and held on the rest of the way to take his first career pro podium, charging from eighth on the grid in just his second race since joining Economy Lube Ducati.

“I’m super happy. We had a crash in qualifying which left us in eighth, but I got a good start and once Elliot went down I knew that would put me third,” Cyr said. “I was able to put some pressure on John and take second, but Andrew as just too fast today, so maybe we’ll get him next time.”

Laing would have to settle for third after the late pass from Cyr, a frustrating result for the Vass Performance Kawasaki star after his dominant victory on Saturday but still a solid one for the championship as he trims his deficit to Tremblay to 32 points.

“I didn’t have a great start again which let a couple guys through, but I was able to get back past Mavrick and thought maybe I could reel in Andrew,” Laing said. “But once he checked out, I just thought that he’s not really in the championship mix, so it was better to bring the bike home.”

It was another tough day for championship leader Tremblay, who nursed an injured shoulder to fourth aboard his Turcotte Performance Suzuki. While he will exit Edmonton with a 32-point advantage instead of the 45-point gap he enjoyed on Friday, he will rest easier after Van Winkle and Cyr were able to take a batch of points off Laing in race two.

Philip DeGama-Blanchet nearly took another pair of points off Tremblay as he reeled in the 2021 champion in the last few laps, but his effort was just too little too late as the Vass Performance Kawasaki rounded out the top five. 

Local favourite Justin Knapik would take sixth for Argyll Motorsports Yamaha, fending off another last-lap comeback attempt from Alex Michel, who exited with a season-best seventh aboard his SpeedFactory67 Kawasaki. 

Van Winkle’s victory will prove to be a massive one for Suzuki’s hopes in the Constructors Championship, as they extend a 64-point advantage over Kawasaki with Ducati a further 28 points back in third.

Full results can be found here.