Canadian Superbike: Season opener support class preview – Roadracing World Magazine
Support classes prepare for wide-open 2022 season as CSBK returns to Grand Bend this weekend
Toronto, Ontario – While several household names are expected to headline the Pro Superbike class in 2022, the Canadian Superbike Championship support classes are instead gearing up for the first round of what should be a wide-open campaign this weekend at the Grand Bend Motorplex. , June 9-12.
The most intriguing battle of the bunch will be in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, which will have no returning champion for the first time since 2017 as Sebastian Tremblay opts to focus solely on his Superbike programme. The perennial favorite won his first Pro title in dominant fashion last season, winning every race from pole position, but will now relinquish his crown heading to Grand Bend.
However, the grid won’t be entirely without a former champion, as the season should bring the return of 2019 title winner Will Hornblower. A regular favorite in his own right, Hornblower managed two wins and a podium in all seven races to claim a dream championship two seasons ago, but his return has been put on hold for a number of factors.
The Yamaha privateer suffered rib and shoulder injuries in a brutal pre-season accident as he prepared for the 2020 campaign, his recovery keeping him sidelined throughout 2021. Now in healthy, Hornblower will return as the presumed favorite for a second career title, but recent regional races have proven that it won’t be easy.
Leading the SOAR series, notably staged at Grand Bend, is former lightweight star Trevor Dion, who quickly adapted to the bigger bikes and showcased that expertise by finishing second in his only appearance. at the CTMP last season. The LDS Consultants Kawasaki rider will have another local challenger to contend with, and another aboard the Kawasaki machines, as 2021 National finalist David Mackay also looked strong aboard his Mack Attack Racing machine.
The Quebec contingent will also have a lot to say in 2022, as the regional Pro 6 GP series welcomed the leading trio of Phillippe Masse, Vincent Levillian and Louie Raffa back to Calabogie Motorsports Park last weekend.
Masse – last season’s third runner-up – was the eventual winner of this race, but the Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider had to contend with Levillian’s SpeedFactory67 Kawasaki, who finished just one place behind Masse in the 2021 standings. and one place ahead. de Raffa, who finished fifth overall aboard his Raffa Racing Honda.
The category will also include a pair of young Yamaha wildcards who could play a big role in the championship equation, as former Guyanese champion Elliott Vieira and teenage star Jake Leclair are both set to return full-time in 2022.
Vieira pushed Tremblay perhaps more than anyone last season, but continues to be plagued with mechanical issues in his Snow City Racing program, while Leclair displayed strong pace to start the 2021 campaign and showed again that pace last weekend battling with Masse and Levillian to win it in Calabogie aboard his Yamaha Canada machine.
Outside of the Pro ranks, the series should feature just as much unpredictability and excitement in the Amateur Superbike, Sport Bike and Lightweight categories, all of which are likely to see unknown challengers emerge over the course of the season.
An East Coast sensation and a pair of Quebec talents will lead the return to the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike class, as John Fraser leads the way for Yamaha ahead of Marc Labossiere (BMW), fifth overall last year, and sixth place. Guillaume Lavallee (Yamaha), the latter of which won two podiums but did not participate in the second round of the CTMP.
Another pair of favorites expected to return are Suzuki-riding William Degrasse and Aprilia-backed Erick Gosselin, who both entered the final moto with a chance of a top-three finish before Degrasse crashed out. and let Gosselin enter.
As for the Amateur Sport Bike class, a pair of young talents are set to lead the title battle in 2022, as Fraser does double duty for Yamaha against former lightweight star Mackenzie Weil, who is rising through the amateur ranks.
Fraser turned a lot of heads in his one-time CTMP appearance last season, challenging eventual champion Brad Macrea en route to a second-place finish, and is set to return for the full campaign this year – including a long-awaited return to his home race at Shubenacadie in July.
Weil, meanwhile, conquered the first four races of the lightweight championship last season before a crash at Calabogie dashed his title hopes, although his attention has now turned to a larger Yamaha machine as he’s aiming to become the last teenage star to move up to the Pro rankings for 2023.
Fraser and Weil won’t be alone at the top, however, as they’ll have to worry about the return of a pair of favorites in the form of Honda’s Nathan Playford and Yamaha’s Nolan Eadie, who have both had stellar campaigns in 2021 and could have turned Pro. otherwise for a DNF in the final heat by both riders.
With Weil’s departure from the Super Sonic Race School lightweight class, the junior class will be open to much intrigue in 2022, with defending champion Harvey Renaud’s title defense uncertain for Kawasaki.
Perennial favorite Jacob Black is set to return, also riding a Kawasaki, but will likely face Honda challenger Paul Etienne Courtois, who finished third overall in last year’s championship but just 26 points clear.
Another presumed favorite will be the return of Istvan Hidvegi, who dominated GP Pro 6 aboard his Yamaha machine and impressed in his only CTMP appearance last season.
The 2022 campaign will also bring the introduction of the Pro/Am Lightweight class, a more ‘relaxed’ version of the Lightweight class which will likely feature a group of ex-Pro riders sporting their new, smaller machines, including the talented couple brother of Cameron and Jared Walker.
The full schedule of events and additional information for Round 1 at the Grand Bend Motorplex can be found on the official series website at www.csbk.ca.