Canadian Superbike: Championship Heading To Nova Scotia

Canadian Superbike: Championship Heading To Nova Scotia

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By CSBK/Professional Motorsports Productions (PMP):

Superbike Preview: Young returns to familiar territory for round four at AMP

Hamilton, ON – After an extremely brief mid-season break, the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship will get back underway with round four action this weekend, returning to the east coast and Atlantic Motorsport Park, July 12-14, presented by Pro Cycle and Canadian Kawasaki.

The trip back to Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia will be a welcome one for GP Bikes Pro Superbike championship leader Ben Young, who is preparing for a whirlwind week ahead of him on the verge of a debut Suzuka 8 Hours appearance.

Young will depart AMP and head almost straight to Japan for the historic World Endurance event next weekend, set for July 21, but not before a crucial fourth round of the feature class at one of his favourite circuits.

The narrow, twisty, and physically demanding layout of “Shubie” has played a key part in some of Young’s greatest performances, including his spectacular 2019 comeback from ninth and his momentum-swinging victory over Alex Dumas in 2022.

Overall, the three-time Canada Cup champion has racked up three victories and ten podiums at AMP, never missing out on a top three finish since he made his full-time CSBK Superbike debut in 2016.

It’s a trend he will surely continue this weekend barring any major issues, but where he fits onto that podium isn’t necessarily a guarantee. The Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW rider has settled for just one win in his last four races after sweeping the Shannonville opener, and with Suzuka on the horizon he may be looking to avoid any significant risk in the lead battle, which will feature yet another new wildcard name.

This one – unlike most recent winner Torin Collins – won’t be as unfamiliar to CSBK fans, as 2023 top rookie John Fraser is expected to return to the series at his home track.

Fraser looked to be on course for at least a maiden podium last season as he qualified third on the grid and within a half-second of Alex Dumas, but he never got the chance to show off his local knowledge as historic flooding cancelled the rest of the weekend.

The 19-year-old is now back for a second try with some upgraded firepower, bringing one of Dumas’ former Suzuki GSX-R1000’s under the RLS Contracting Suzuki tent for his 2024 debut after missing the first three rounds.

The Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia native has dominated all three sARL regional races he has entered this season, winning by an average of almost 14 seconds, and will hope to keep that 100% record going and become the latest surprise winner of 2024.

Not to be discounted will be the previous owner of his machines, however, as Dumas also looks to settle his own personal score with Atlantic Motorsport Park.

It hasn’t been a circuit Dumas will have fond memories of, having derailed his 2022 title bid with a race one crash and losing out to Young in a bizarre mixed-weather race two that same weekend, but the newly minted Economy Lube Ducati rider is still a threat to win at virtually every track on the calendar.

While Dumas sorted through some slight mechanical gremlins in his Ducati debut at Edmonton, his V4R Panigale should be better suited to AMP than it was out west and will now have a weekend of data under its belt to work from. 

 

Jordan Szoke (101) has won more CSBK Superbike races at AMP than anyone - 14 in total over his career. Could the Kawasaki rider get win number 15 this weekend? Photo by Rob O'Brien, courtesy  CSBK.
Jordan Szoke (101) has won more CSBK Superbike races at AMP than anyone – 14 in total over his career. Could the Kawasaki rider get win number 15 this weekend? Photo by Rob O’Brien, courtesy CSBK.

 

It will be perhaps the most critical weekend of the season for current championship runner-up Sam Guerin, who saw his title hopes suffer a massive blow in round three.

The EFC Group BMW rider never seemed fully comfortable at RAD Torque, salvaging a pair of fifth place finishes after four consecutive podiums to begin 2024, and his track record at AMP shows another track that isn’t clearly his favourite.

Guerin qualified fifth a year ago before the cancellation and was no better in 2022, qualifying sixth and finishing fourth and fifth in races one and two respectively. That won’t be good enough to keep his title hopes alive this time around, though he is certainly talented enough to change his fortunes in his third trip to the east coast.

A rider who has built up the opposite resumé in Nova Scotia is Jordan Szoke, who racked up 14 victories at the venue between 1999 and 2019.

It’s now been almost five years since the 14-time champion last won at AMP, and his continued recovery from 2022 injuries won’t help around the punishing eleven-turn, 2.5 km “rollercoaster,” but Szoke has consistently been there to pick up the pieces in 2024 if things go wrong and will try to do the same this weekend for CKM Kawasaki.

He may have to deal with his unofficial teammate to do so, however, as Connor Campbell looks forward to a return east for B&T MacFarlane/Kubota Kawasaki.

It’s surprising to hear Campbell confess his love for AMP after a scary crash in 2022 ended his Sport Bike season, but the rookie has always felt fast around the venue and is now fully recovered from a rib injury that limited him in the first three rounds.

Feeling a much different way about Shubenacadie is David MacKay, who didn’t always enjoy his trips to Nova Scotia whilst in the Pro Sport Bike class.

The reigning middleweight champion scored just two of his 19 career podiums at the venue (both second place finishes in 2022) and cracked the top-five only three times in eight career races at AMP before switching to Superbike in 2024.

His adaptation to the CBR1000RR-R has been quicker than expected, however, and he may change his tune on the circuit if he can fight for a first career podium in the feature class this weekend.

More information can be found on the series’ official website.

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