Bridgestone CSBK modifies Pro Rookie eligibility for 2023 season

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The Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship has confirmed additional rule changes for the upcoming 2023 season and beyond, making sweeping changes to the Pro Rookie of the Year eligibility.

The full list of new criteria can be found in the series’ official Competitors page on the Bridgestone CSBK website, though most of the key information is described below.

The primary changes include a new, concrete limit on Pro Superbike experience, capping any potential “rookies” at just six (6) total career race starts and a limit of four (4) in any one previous season in the Pro Superbike category.

The change also limits the eligibility of riders with notable experience in similar top-level championships, such as MotoAmerica, British Superbike, Australian Superbike, or any other relevant and related series of a similar stature.

Finally, any rider who has won the Pro Sport Bike category at any point in their career will not be eligible for Pro Superbike rookie status, regardless of number of race starts.

Given the late announcement of these changes, the new restrictions will be “grandfathered” into the 2023 campaign, meaning riders who do not meet the updated criteria can remain eligible for this upcoming year only. This list includes Pro riders Trevor Dion, Rennie Scaysbrook, and Christian Allard.

Dion in particular has gained plenty of attention surrounding his rookie status, after nearly winning the award a year ago despite only contesting one full round in the Superbike class.

The LDS Consultants Kawasaki rider, then on a BMW, grabbed pole position and a third-place finish in the season opener at Grand Bend, but then chose to sit out the remainder of the season en route to winning the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike title with an aim of winning the BCR Pro Rookie of the Year award in 2023 instead.

Dion has since joined series icon Jordan Szoke in the Kawasaki Canada program, where he remains the favourite for this year’s top rookie award and projects to be a consistent podium threat.

As for Allard and Scaysbrook, the former finished fourth in the BCR Pro Rookie of the Year fight last season for Turcotte Performance Ducati, achieving a best finish of seventh in race two at the CTMP finale. Allard started five races in 2022 and has eight Superbike race starts in his career, but will retain eligibility for 2023 only.

Scaysbrook, meanwhile, does not figure to be in the fight anyways after making a one-off wildcard appearance in 2022, the Australian finishing fifth in the final award chase thanks to a pair of strong results at CTMP for the factory-backed Aprilia program.

There are two other “returning Pro rookies” who will retain their eligibility for 2023 in Pierre Simard and Alex Cleary, though the rule changes do not apply to either. Simard started just two races before an injury ended his debut season, while Cleary only made three appearances at the CTMP finale.

Simard could play a huge role in deciding the award winner this season, having recently starred at the Bridgestone Winter Test where he went fourth-fastest overall and one spot clear of Dion aboard his D1C Suzuki.

Majority of the expected rookie group for 2023 will not be bothered by the new changes, with names like Julien Lafortune, Paul Etienne Courtois, John Fraser, Alex Michel, Marc Labossiere, and Nathan Playford all stepping up from the Amateur ranks.

Introduced in 2000, the Brooklin Cycle Racing-sponsored trophy has been handed out to 23 riders and six different manufacturers. Honda is the most frequent victor, winning their sixth award in 2015 as part of the first (and thus far only) tie between Tomas Casas and Stacey Nesbitt.

Four former BCR Pro Rookie of the Year prize-winners have gone on to win feature class Superbike championships, with Alex Dumas the most recent one, doing so in his rookie season in 2021. The others include reigning champion Ben Young (2016), Jodi Christie (2009), and Brett McCormick (2007).

Anthony Bergeron of Racine, Quebec is the most recent winner of the award, narrowly capturing the title in the final race of the season for MPG Moto BMW ahead of Ducati privateer Ryan Taylor.

The full adjustments can now be found in the Competitors info section of the official Bridgestone CSBK website.

For more information on the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship, visit www.csbk.ca.

Main picture: Anthony Bergeron (41) is the most recent winner of the CSBK Pro Rookie of the Year award, claiming the prize at the end of the 2022 season. Photo credit: Rob O’Brien / CSBK.

Source: Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship

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