CSBK Round Two: Grand Bend This Weekend!

Kawasaki is smart enough to insist its riders have lots of green paint on their bikes if they want contingency payouts. PHOTO CREDIT: Rob O'Brien/CSBK

Hey, roadracing fans: The Canadian Superbike season has its second race weekend of 2024 at Grand Bend this Friday-Sunday, and already, we’re seeing some interesting plays ahead of the action. For instance: Ben Young is sitting out of the Pro Sport Bike race.

Young won Race 1 of the Pro Sport Bike series at Shannonville, but as he pressed 2021 champ Sebastien Tremblay hard in Race 2, he had a rad hose failure. He crashed out of the race on the second-to-last lap, and hasn’t had time to get his GSX-R750 back together since. So, he’s focusing on the Pro Superbike series for the second round of the series.

That means it’s hard to see him taking both Pro titles this year, as long as Tremblay keeps up his own race-winning pace. But the close racing in this series is always akin to a knife fight in a phone booth, so don’t rule anything out just yet.

You might also see a whole lot of green paint at Grand Bend as Kawasaki has finally published its numbers for contingency money. See below:

To qualify for the money, besides the obvious requirement of getting a podium aboard a Kawasaki, riders must also participate in four of the six CSBK rounds this year, and their bikes have to sport the Ninja and Kawasaki logos as well as “prominent green accents.”

Out with the old, in with the new

Sadly, a couple of the faster young guys from the past few years won’t be at Grand Bend. Tomas Casas (Yamaha) and Alex Dumas (Suzuki) are both expected to be no-shows until later this year. Casas has other commitments, and also mentioned high race costs as a reason to sit out the early races; Dumas is focusing on racing in the US right now. Both riders are expected to show at the Mosport round.

David MacKay looks ready to seize Tomas Casas’ slot around the fifth-place position, with nowhere to go but up if he can keep this pace. PHOTO CREDIT: Rob O’Brien/CSBK

However, we do have some new faces to watch, in particular David MacKay. MacKay won Pro Sport Bike last year and is a well-known entity, but he’s a newbie to Pro Superbike… and he’s racing a Honda. Nobody has done particularly well on a Honda superbike since Jodi Christie won the literbike title in 2014. That was a decade ago, in case you can’t do the math, and that’s a long time for an OEM like Honda to be out of the title hunt.

Well, MacKay is certainly not in the title hunt this year. But with two fifth-place finishes at Shannonville on the CBR1000, he’s going to be a face to watch at Grand Bend. If he can keep this pace up, there might be an all-new challenger for the podium soon, aboard a bike that hasn’t really been a factor in Canadian Superbike for a decade.

This weekend’s races

The races run Saturday-Sunday as usual, with most series featuring a doubleheader. For a full schedule of events, and to buy tickets, visit the website here.

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