CSBK Untold: Extra Storylines from Round 3 at RAD Torque

It seems like not much more excitement can be packed into Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship weekends, but every round more and more stories are left on the cutting room floor by the time Sunday comes and goes.

From the major headlines that require a bit more detail, to the countless hidden gems that never crack the spotlight, here are some added notes from the third round of the 2024 season at RAD Torque Raceway.

Christie makes emotional return

Lost in all the pre-weekend hype was the planned return of 2014 Superbike champion Jodi Christie to the CSBK paddock, as he was set to join the Importations Thibault Pro-AM Twins grid for the first time in his storied career.

What was unknown to many was just why Christie was making his return, however, as he revealed that his wildcard appearance was a tribute to his late father Gary. A popular fixture in the paddock while Jodi was carving his way through the pro classes, Gary was building a Yamaha R7 with the intention to race at RAD Torque before he sadly passed away.

Riding with his father’s signature #71, Christie put together the perfect weekend in his honour, scoring pole position and two victories in the Twins class. His fan favourite status didn’t change one bit in his absence, either, as the former Canada Cup winner received plenty of love on the podium in his first national racing since 2015.

It remains to be seen if Christie will make any future appearances in the CSBK paddock, but regardless it will go down as a touching and impressive performance for the 32-year-old in Edmonton.

Verbeek adds name to exclusive list

One local rider who generated plenty of buzz over the weekend was Bronti Verbeek, as she became the first female rider to suit up in the feature Pro Superbike class since Stacey Nesbitt in 2017.

A star of the local EMRA regional series, Verbeek piloted her Jack Carter Powersports BMW to strong finishes of eleventh and 12th in her CSBK debut, only three places off Nesbitt’s best career finish.

The Calgary, Alberta native joins an exclusive list of female Pro Superbike riders that includes just Nesbitt, Marie-Josee Boucher, Toni Sharpless, and Kathleen Coburn, all of whom enjoyed successful pro careers.

It’s unclear if Verbeek will continue any CSBK action outside of her home province, but her round three efforts were more than enough to prove herself against the best Superbike riders in the country. 

Simpson trials Superbike in successful RMM test

While not technically part of the round three action, the action did cap off at Rocky Mountain Motorsports on Monday for an official CSBK test, and there was a familiar name who made an appearance – albeit on a different machine.

Matt Simpson hopped aboard a Superbike for the first time in his entire life, riding the PMR/Vass Performance BMW he normally works on as the crew chief for Paul Macdonell, and proceeded to end the day fifth-fastest in the combined pro sessions.

The 2023 Pro Sport Bike runner-up was left without an opportunity to ride in 2024 and thus got a headstart on his off-track future, but Simpson proved that at just 22 years old he still has plenty left in the tank aboard either a middleweight or Superbike machine.

The Bowmanville native will return to his crew chief role in preparation for round four at Atlantic Motorsport Park and has no intentions of ending his current commitments, but Simpson’s showing at RMM may be enough to revive his on-track career for 2025.

Western talent cashes in on home opportunity

It was fair to expect the “local” talent to shine through at RAD Torque, given that the national series hadn’t visited the venue since 2015 and only a handful of riders remained from that season. Even still, it’s safe to say the western favourites made the most of their homecoming.

Torin Collins – while not extremely experienced at RAD Torque – stole the show in the feature Pro Superbike class, while John Laing added a popular victory in the Pro Sport Bike ranks on Saturday. 

Collins’ close friend Philip DeGama-Blanchet turned in four strong finishes, earning impressive fourth and fifth-place results in Sport Bike and adding spectacular finishes of seventh and eighth on the same machine in Superbike.

Paul Macdonell added a career-best sixth in Superbike race one, while EMRA wildcards Brian Worsdall, Bronti Verbeek, Jon Bullee, Tosh Gable, Justin Knapik, Neil Lauzon, Ian Wall, and Owen El-Baba turned in strong weekends in the pro ranks.

It wasn’t just Alberta that produced the star performances either, as British Columbia teenager Andrew Van Winkle crossed the mountains to score his first career Pro Sport Bike victory in race two at the Edmonton circuit.

Morrison ends Beattie’s perfect run

Continuing the theme of local talents, Treston Morrison became only the second FIM MiniGP Canada Series alumni to graduate to the CSBK paddock this weekend, and he did so with immediate success.

The 14-year-old came out on top of a thrilling battle with Pro-AM Lightweight championship leader Ryan Beattie in race one to end Beattie’s perfect season, fueling the victory with a sensational pass around the outside in turn seven.

The Alberta native unfortunately crashed out of race two as Beattie added win number five in six races, but Morrison’s stunning victory put him into the record books as one of the youngest race winners in national championship history and doing so in his first ever CSBK appearance.