The gap atop the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship shrunk considerably on Saturday, as Ben Young blitzed the GP Bikes Pro Superbike class in race one at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The pole-sitter was briefly displaced by rival and championship leader Alex Dumas off the line but needed just one turn to get him back, passing Dumas into turn two and leading the rest of the way in the 20-lap feature.
As Young continued to stretch his early lead, the battle behind him began to take shape as Dumas was quickly hunted down by Sam Guerin and Tomas Casas, igniting a three-rider clash that would continue right to the finish.
Both Guerin and Dumas would take turns in second while Casas – crucially down in horsepower – stayed in tow in fourth, though Dumas seemingly had the final edge with five laps to go.
Instead, Guerin launched a spectacular pass off the long Andretti Straight into turn eight with just three laps remaining, before Casas immediately began to pressure Dumas for third. Dumas would retaliate and attempt a last-corner pass on Guerin, but it proved to be unsuccessful as he was relegated to the final podium spot.
That turned a great day into an even better one for Young and the Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW squad, as he trimmed his 36-point championship deficit to 25 with five races to go.
“It wasn’t easy at all out there, but I’ve never seen that kind of gap in a Superbike race at this track,” Young said about the circuit which is notoriously tough to breakaway at. “The team’s working so hard and this BMW is phenomenal, so I feel like we could have done this all year without some of our bad luck.”
The win also moves Young into the top-five for career Superbike class victories, entering a tie with Don Munroe and Michel Mercier for third in history with 12 all-time.
“It feels great. There’s a lot of legends around in our sport, so I’m really happy to be a part of that,” Young added.
Despite his early-season misfortune, Young has clawed himself back into the title mix in part thanks to Guerin’s efforts to disrupt Dumas on Saturday, keeping his EFC Group BMW ahead of both the title leader and Casas at the line.
“That was a crazy one, battling with Alex and Tomas right from the start was so much fun,” Guerin said. “I was trying to fight my way through both of them, but they made it hard on me right to the end!”
The result added insult to injury for Dumas, who admitted on the podium he has been under the weather this week and felt the effects more than he thought he would as he tried to keep his Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki as close to Young as possible.
“I’m fighting a really bad cold, and it was affecting me pretty bad out there,” a frustrated Dumas said. “I still have a good lead in the championship, but hopefully we can be a couple steps higher on the podium tomorrow.”
The BMW one-two finish also came at an inconvenient time for Constructors Championship leaders Suzuki, who watched their title advantage fall from 28 points to just five entering races two and three on Sunday.
As for Casas, the Parts Canada Yamaha rider endured a bittersweet performance, as he looked noticeably faster than Dumas and Guerin in sectors one and three before losing all progress to a lack of straight-line speed down the Andretti straight.
The hometown favourite ultimately turned in a much-needed performance for Yamaha, who negated the LDS Consultants Kawasaki duo of Jordan Szoke and Trevor Dion in fifth and sixth, as Kawasaki tries to hunt down Yamaha for third overall.
That finishing result for Szoke hardly tells the story of his effort, though, as the 14-time champion was knocked off the grid by a mechanical fire on the warmup lap, forcing him to hop onto his secondary ‘B’ bike and start from the pit lane.
The 20-time CTMP winner needed just a trio of laps to work his way back into the top-ten, before gradually working his way into fifth by lap eight – passing his teammate in the process – as Szoke salvaged a spectacular finish amidst the circumstances.
Wildcard entry Eli Daccache impressed aboard his Milwaukee Yamaha machine, briefly running in the fight for second early on before settling into a comfortable sixth behind Dion, ultimately getting shunted back one place by the charging Szoke as he played a crucial role for Yamaha in the Constructors standings.
Jordan Royds would outlast a late-race duel with Phillip Leckie for eighth, putting his IBEW BMW just a quarter-second clear of the SCM/Tanians BMW rider at the line, while rookie John Fraser managed a solid tenth on his RLS Contracting Suzuki machine to take over the lead of the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year battle.
The feature class will now continue on with two more decisive races on Sunday, beginning at roughly 1 pm ET at the circuit just north of Bowmanville, ON.
Full results from Saturday’s races 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: Ben Young (1) leads Saturday’s Superbike race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The defending CSBK champion went on to win by a comfortable 6.5-second margin over the trio of Sam Guerin (2), Alex Dumas (23), and Tomas Casas (18). Photo credit: Rob O’Brien / CSBK.
Source: Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship