Pro 6 GP Race Series: Casas Steps Up

Pro 6 GP Race Series: Round Two - Calabogie Motorsports Park, July 24, 2021
Yamaha’s ace Scores first Superbike win over BMW’s Guerin

“T.V. Tommy” Casas, the 22-year-old from Peterborough, ON, earned his first career Pro Superbike victory at the second round of the new Pro 6 GP regional race series at Calabogie Motorsports Park, ON, July 24.  Two weeks after earning a pair of strong fifth place finishes at the opening CSBK National round at the same venue, Casas returned with his Parts Canada/iTK9-backed Yamaha Motor Canada YZF-R1 to come out on top in a good dice with the BMW S1000RR of Samuel Guerin of Quebec City, QC.

“The pace was really good,” explained Casas, who started from Pole position in the race sponsored by BMW Motorrad.  “I think that I was more consistent throughout the race, compared to the Nationals.  It was lots of fun racing with Sam, he really kept me on my toes.  It was a solid race; we were in a hurry!

“It seemed like even at our good pace, we were finding opportunities to work on some passes,” continued former Honda CBR125R Challenge top rookie Casas.  “I was really happy to get back down to some National lap times.  It was really windy, and that was the first time I had felt that on the Superbike.  You really noticed it into turn one.”

Casas was riding with a restrictor in his exhaust, due to the strict noise regulations for the Regional, and noticed the difference in power, but was interested to learn that this didn’t affect his lap times.  As well, Casas was trying to see if he was getting in front of recent arm pump issues that hampered him in round one at CSBK.

“My arm is not where I want it to be,” he admitted at the end of the eight laps around the twenty turn, 5-kilometer-long venue.  “I’m a little sore, and I think I could manage it a little better.  Before the next race (the triple header National at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 13-15), I will rest it a little, but I’m not too worried.”

Casas turned a best lap at 2:02.34, close to his top Q time of 2:02.62. Early leader Guerin, the star rookie of the 2020 season, worked his way back to the front after a selection of issues at the opening National, turning a best race lap of 2:02.69.

Third belonged to Sebastien Tremblay of Laval, QC, on the Turcotte Performance/Gulf Oils Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja, a machine Tremblay raced in 2019 and recently reclaimed from a previous owner.

“Basically, the clutch is gone; too many races, and that ruined my start, and was the story of the race,” Explained Tremblay, “the Shaker” working his way up to the front.

“Still, it was positive. I was able to run with other Superbikes, and the experience is bringing things back,” explained the current top gun in the Pro Sport Bike/middleweight category. “We gathered a lot of information getting ready for Mosport (CTMP), and it was overall still pretty good.”

Royal Distributing BMW’s Michael Leon of Beaconsfield, QC was third for much of the race, dicing with Tremblay and Ivan Babic of Maple, ON, on another BMW.  Leon was fourth at the finish, three seconds behind the resurgent Tremblay and three seconds clear of Babic.

“I was struggling today, not feeling that good, just not going well,” explained veteran Leon.  “But when the I.B.E.W. Start Lights went out, the switch just clicked in my head.  I probably had my most aggressive first lap in the past ten years, and I set my personal best tracking down Ivan.  But when I was third, it was frustrating because I knew there was someone on my tail, and I knew that it was Sebastien, and it would be a problem.  In the end, I didn’t plan my laps right.”

Meanwhile Babic was please to find some more speed compared to the recent Calabogie National rounds.

“Finally, I got a good launch, and then you are where you need to be,” explained Babic. “I’m really happy, this helps make up for the last year. I have changed everything on the bike, we’d gone the wrong way on set-up.  It felt weird in the beginning, but it got really, really good.”

Earlier in the day, Tremblay controlled the Pro Sport Bike presented by Kawasaki event, taking his second victory in less than two weeks at Calabogie on his Turcotte/Gulf ZX-6R Ninja.  Teammate Vincent Levillain of Montreal, QC, on another Ninja was four seconds back for second overall, chased by Philippe Masse of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC.  Masse – second at the National – was also Kawasaki mounted.

In DP Brakes Amateur Sport Bike, Brad Macrae of Perth Road, ON, continued his recent impressive streak, winning on a Yamaha YZF-R6 by a solid 13 seconds from the Honda CBR600RR of Kitchener, ON’s Nathan Playford.  The Suzuki GSX-R600 of Bobby Desjardins of Ferme-Neuve, QC, was right on Playford’s tail section for third.

In the Motul presented Amateur Superbike class, Anthony Bergeron of Racine, QC, took control at the start on his 1000cc BMW, eventually winning by 12 seconds from the 600cc Yamaha of upstart Macrae. Pierre Simard netted third aboard another S1000RR out of Stoneham, QC.

The Liqui Moly Pro/Am Lightweight Sport Bike was the most exciting race of the day, the smaller bikes making up for a messy National round with a solid fight throughout at the front.  Mackenzie Weil of Keene, ON, controlled most of the action on his Motorcyclecourse.com Kawasaki Ninja 400, with a horde of riders in his slipstream.

At the finish, Weil won by a half-second, while Harvey Renaud of Richmond, ON, netted second in a very close finish with the Yamaha of Istvan Hidvegi – the difference just .3 of a second.