Elliot Vieira’s success at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park continued on Saturday, as he stormed to a dominant Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike victory to kick off the fourth round of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship.
After running away with a comfortable win at CTMP a year ago, Vieira returned to do the same on Saturday in race one of the middleweight class, snatching the lead from championship leader David MacKay on lap two and never looking back en route to a 14-second triumph, the fifth-largest margin of victory in class history.
The GP Bikes Ducati rider in the process scored the Italian brand’s first ever win in the Sport Bike ranks, becoming the fourth different winner in five races this season after his switch to the V2 Panigale this year.
“It’s been a tough year, so to do this here at this track and in front of these fans feels amazing,” Vieira said. “I had a good battle with MacKay on lap one, but I knew I had more pace, so I just tried to pull away and like last year I was able to.”
The win propels Vieira from eleventh to fifth in the championship standings, but the real impact on the title fight was what unfolded behind him, as a six-rider pack battled it out for the runner-up spot.
Five of those riders managed to work their way to second at one point, including both returning veteran Francis Martin and rookie Nathan Playford, though both heartbreakingly bowed out with mechanical problems (Playford would rejoin to finish 15th).
That left championship protagonists MacKay and Matthew Simpson to duke it out at the front, with the duo trading places a number of times throughout. MacKay would launch a final attack into the last corner of the last lap, but Simpson would get the last laugh and hold off the ODH Snow City Cycle Kawasaki rider by just 0.026 seconds at the line.
“The top of the podium was what we wanted, but Elliot just took off on us,” Simpson admitted. “But at one point I thought I was going to get scrubbed off and next thing I knew I was second, so I can’t complain too much. Tomorrow is a new race.”
Despite losing out to his Blackstock Motorsports Yamaha rival, MacKay will only lose two points in their championship fight to carry an eleven-point advantage into race two on Sunday, crucially collecting the two-point lap led bonus on lap one.
“You can’t ever have a boring race at CTMP! It’s so wide open, it’s tough to pull away but that makes it really fun,” MacKay said. “I remembered last year I went from seventh to second – you’re never really out of it here – so I kept that in mind.”
Charging to fourth was Friday winner John Laing, who moves himself more solidly into third in the championship aboard his Vass Performance Kawasaki, continuing his breakout weekend after entering CTMP ninth in the standings.
Rounding out the top five was privateer Suzuki veteran Marco Sousa, who ran inside the battle for second throughout the race and managed to avoid the drama in front of him to bring home another solid result.
Notably absent from the finishing order was the duo of Sebastien Tremblay and Connor Campbell, both retiring with their own mechanical issues as their title hopes take a severe hit with three races remaining.
Pole-sitter Tremblay failed to even make the start after his Turcotte Performance Suzuki ran into problems, while Campbell endured more heartbreak midway through the race aboard his B&T MacFarlane/Kubota Kawasaki.
Tomas Casas took a debut victory in the Bickle Racing Pro Twins class, piloting his wildcard Acme Motorsports Yamaha to a comfortable win as his MT-07 machine scored its debut win in the newest pro category.
Casas followed up his dominant win with a gracious gesture, donating his winnings to the Revs4Rett foundation after stepping in as a late entry in the Twins class.
The field will return for race two of the weekend on Sunday, while the feature class GP Bikes Pro Superbike tripleheader will begin later on Saturday afternoon at approximately 3 pm ET.
Full results can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.
For more information on the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship, visit www.csbk.ca.
Main picture: Opening lap action from Saturday’s Pro Sport Bike race at CTMP briefly saw championship leader David MacKay (82) at the front, before Elliot Vieira (33) took the lead on lap two and pulled away to a 14-second margin of victory over Matt Simpson (91) and MacKay. Photo credit: Rob O’Brien / CSBK.
Source: Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship