To nobody’s great surprise, BMW took top billing in the “new” 2011 Parts Canada Superbike series, taking four of the top six spots in the first event, including a clear victory for Brett McCormick the newly signed 19-year-old phenomenon from Saskatoon.
With two other BMW riders finishing farther down the field, that’s six out of 18 – a third of the field – entered on BMW S1000RRs.
Another third were on various 600 cc machines, so the Superbike grid is definitely light on its feet this year.
Times are tough, the weather at Quebec’s ICAR circuit on the old Mirabel airport grounds northwest of Montreal was crap most of the weekend (although the feature race managed to run in the dry), and as a result the fields were slim. Still, that’s not news as racing organizations everywhere are feeling the pinch, with entries down from last season.
Clubs in the U.S. are even cancelling events due to low turnouts, so the fact that the renamed CSBK series managed to support six classes for its season opener is reason for some optimism.
The numbers were down an extra one, thanks to an unfortunate incident in Friday’s cold and wet practice, when Pro 600 and Superbike competitor Louis Raffa highsided himself into the hospital. Hope that femur heals quickly, Louis!
McCormick, riding one of the two radX HD/BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR machines, started from pole and led all 20 laps around the 2.8 km track. After finishing second in the 2009 Canadian Superbike championship McCormick competed in the United States last season, but is back in Canada for another shot at the national title.
Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. finished second on the Nelson Racing/GymMax/Monette Sport BMW S1000RR, 10.8 seconds behind McCormick, duplicating his overall series finish last season. Defending national champion Jordan Szoke of Brantford, Ont. placed third riding the Competition Systems Kawasaki Race Team Kawasaki ZX-10R.
“I really don’t think it could have gone any better,” said the 19-year-old McCormick. “We came here with a pretty solid base setup so we didn’t have a lot of work to do to get the bike working around here.”
Nelson got around Szoke, the seven-time Canadian Superbike champ, on lap 16 and went on to claim his second podium finish at Circuit ICAR.
“The tires were amazing and the bike was superb,” said Nelson. “I think we have a good package to take a run at the championship this year.”
Nelson is running a private BMW obtained through the company’s privateer purchase program, with limited budget and help mostly from friends and family. His early results bode well for his hopes for the season considering his limited resources.
Defending series champion Szoke looked poised to take a run at McCormick, but ran into handling problems and slipped back into the clutches of a group consisting of Nelson, Michael Ferreira (radX HD/BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR), Francis Martin (Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR) and Alex Welsh (Z1 CycleTech Suzuki GSX-R600).
Martin also got by Szoke but fell on the final lap, allowing Szoke to reclaim the final spot on the podium.
Uxbridge, Ont.’s Welsh got around Ferreira on the final lap to claim fourth place from the Mississauga, Ont. racer. Martin remounted after his fall to salvage sixth spot. He did have the consolation of being named the winner of the KICKER Kick-Ass Pass of the Race Award for his move on Szoke to take third place.
In other action at Circuit ICAR, Woodbridge, Ont.’s Frank Trombino won the Pirelli Pro Sport Bike race on his Suzuki Canada/Hindle/Sturgess Cycle Suzuki GSX-R600. Trombino led all 10 laps and finished 36.676 seconds ahead of the JHP Racing Team/Picotte Motorsport Suzuki GSX-R600 of Granby, Que. rider Jeremie Hade Precourt. Trombino retired from the Superbike race.
There were 13 entries in the new Harley-Davidson XR1200 class, out of 16 bikes that a Deeley spokesman tells us have been sold. Cody Matechuk of Cochrane, Alta. (stepson of superbike ace Clint McBain), held off six-time Canadian Superbike champion Steve Crevier by just 0.168 second to win the opening round of the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup.
Riding his Privateers Harley-Davidson-backed entry, Matechuk battled with the Maple Ridge, B.C. racer throughout the 14-lap race. Matechuk also won the Performance Under Gear Performer of the Race Award.
Behind Crevier’s MotoSport Plus of Kingston-backed XR1200, Darren James of North Vancouver took third on the Ruthless Racing machine. CMG’s Costa Mouzouris also competed in the race and will be posting a feature on his heroics on CMG shortly (obviously he didn’t make the top three!).
Alex Coelho of Longueuil, Que. won the K&N Performance Filters Amateur Superbike race on Sunday aboard his Black Sheep/Elka Suspension Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-6R, while Samuel Proulx won the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike race aboard the Sherbrooke Harley-Davidson Suzuki GSX-R600.
St-Lazare, Que.’s Stacey Nesbitt scored her first career victory in the Honda CBR125R Challenge, leading all 10 laps in damp and challenging conditions. The 14-year-old was 27.087 seconds clear of Belle River, Ont.’s Seth Van Dongen at the finish, with David MacKay of Stoney Creek, Ont. third.
For more series information, visit www.csbk.ca.
Series standings after one of seven races:
1. Brett McCormick, Saskatoon, Sask., BMW S1000RR, 56 points
2. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 44
3. Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 40
4. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R600
5. Michael Ferreira, Missisauga, Ont., 30
6. Francis Martin, Sherbrooke, Que., BMW S1000RR, 27
7. Jean-Francois Cyr, Mascouche, Que., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 25
8. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR600RR, 23
9. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban, Que., Yamaha YZF-R6, 21
10. Sebastien Tremblay, Sherbrooke, Que., Honda CBR1000RR, 19
Next event, July 2-3 doubleheader, Shannonville Motorsports Park.