Young squeaks out pole position for round two at Grand Bend

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Ben Young escaped with a predictable pole position for the second round of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship on Friday, but by a much closer margin than expected at the Grand Bend Motorplex, presented by Southwest Marine & Powersports.

The GP Bikes Pro Superbike championship leader and overwhelming weekend favourite topped both the initial Q1 session and put in a late flyer to capture BS Battery Pole Position in Q2, but it was hardly a straightforward process as he fought through a number of different challengers.

Home favourite David MacKay led the opening stint of Q2 behind an excellent lap of 1:03.115, looking set for his first career Superbike pole in just his second weekend, but he was replaced by another Honda-mounted local in Steven Nickerson around the midway point of the top-ten shootout.

Things began to look very out of sorts for Young as he tumbled down the order to fifth, falling behind Nickerson, MacKay, and title rivals Jordan Szoke and Sam Guerin with roughly six minutes to go.

The three-time champion seemed to unlock something in the final moments, however, rocketing up the timesheets to post a lap of 1:02.634 – just a quarter-second off the lap record despite cooler conditions – as he overcame a bit of a scare to earn his 15th career BS Battery Pole Position and seventh in the last nine rounds.

“I didn’t think we’d need to put another tire on at the end, but these guys really pushed us. We’re going to have to give it all we got tomorrow, for sure,” Young said. “It’s great to see a close field, even though that makes it tougher for us. Thankfully the team and the BMW are working phenomenally as always, so I’ll put my head down and try and reward them this weekend.”

The Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider did admit they have encountered some front suspension issues – a possible reason for his morning practice crash – though it didn’t seem to prevent him from another BS Battery Pole Position award as he extends his lead in the season-long prize standings.

As for Nickerson, it will be a career-best grid position as he lines up alongside Young this weekend, falling just 0.248 seconds shy of a dream pole position in his season debut for DeWildt Honda.

The local rider has plenty of experience at Grand Bend despite his CSBK hiatus, and he will look to convert his front row qualifying spot into a maiden Superbike podium this weekend.

Completing the front row was championship runner-up Sam Guerin, who put in a much-needed late time attack of his own to move off the second row.

Guerin revealed the EFC Group BMW squad was sorting out various setup changes during the day, but he finally looked to be comfortable in the final moments as he leapfrogged MacKay for third, pace he will hope to continue building on this weekend.

As for MacKay, the ODH Snow City Cycle Honda rider saw his hopes of a first career BS Battery Superbike pole evaporate in the final five minutes as he tumbled to fourth, though it will still be an excellent starting position for the home favourite as he headlines the second row in just his second weekend on the CBR1000RR.

Starting alongside him will be Jordan Szoke and Trevor Daley, who both showed front row flashes during the qualifying process but ultimately had to settle for second row spots.

Szoke briefly led Q2 before giving way to MacKay, something the CKM Kawasaki rider will try to replicate in his race pace, while Daley continued his strong return weekend with a sixth-place qualifying finish aboard his OneSpeed Suzuki.

Missing from the weekend action will be local star Trevor Dion, who exited round two as he recovers from arm pump. The Economy Lube Ducati rider’s future remains uncertain, though his unfortunate absence will leave one less threat for Young to tackle.

In other action at Grand Bend, Elliot Vieira secured his first career national pole position in a thrilling Economy Lube Pro Sport Bike qualifying.

The full recap can be found here.

In the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike class, it was a pivotal pole position for title frontrunner Tyler Brewer, as he looks to even the standings with championship leaders Goran Radisic and Tyrone Tavares, who qualified second and fourth, respectively.

Andrew Alcampado will start from pole position in the EBC Brakes Amateur Sport Bike category, snatching his first career honour from championship leader Serge Boyer in second. Fellow title protagonist Laurent Laliberte-Girard will start fourth.

Vincent Wilson escaped with another pole in the Importations Thibault Pro-Am Twins class, though the amateur star claimed the outright top spot by just 0.003 seconds from pro J.P. Tache, who returns to the series for the first time since 2007.

Fourth in the split-class session was Mack Weil, who headlines the Niagara Race Crafters Ninja ZX-4RR Cup for a second consecutive weekend as the top pro, while Rob Lepp took a first career pole as the top amateur ZX-4RR rider.

Teenage sensation Ryan Beattie continued his spectacular start to the Super Sonic Road Race School Pro-Am Lightweight season, taking outright pole position over fellow amateur and title rival Zaim Laflamme. Gary McKinnon will line up as the top pro in fourth, three spots clear of next-best pro Jacob Black.

Full results from Friday’s qualifying action can be found on the series’ official website at CSBK.ca.

Main picture: Ben Young (1) topped GP Bikes Pro Superbike qualifying at Grand Bend Motorplex on Friday afternoon, putting the BMW rider into a P1 starting position for both of the weekend’s feature races. [Photo: Rob O’Brien / CSBK].

SOURCE: CSBK

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