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May 14, 2018

R.A.C.E. SuperSeries Kicks Off 2018 Season At Shannonville Motorsport Park (Updated)

The start of a Lightweight Supersport race at Shannonville Motorsport Park. Photo courtesy of Shannonville Motorsport Park.

Shannonville Motorsport Park

May 11 - 13

Shannonville Ontario

R.A.C.E. SuperSeries Round 1 Report

Brilliant Opener

Just like Mom ordered for Mother’s day, bright sunny weather was a welcome addition to the 2018 R.A.C.E. SuperSeries opening round. After the previous two seasons saw horrible weather and a cancellation of last years opening round, this year got off to a great start with sunny skies, a full paddock and incredible racing.

The first race of the season took place on Saturday, with the CSBK Lightweight Sportbike class having their first outing. This support class will be featured at all Mopar sponsored Canadian Superbike National rounds, featuring the smaller bikes at around 300cc. Shannonville Motorsport Park will also kick off the National season in two weeks on May 25th. to 27th. The new support class will be heavily contested and promises to be one of the most exciting race classes for CSBK.

When the dust settled on the Lightweight group it was Accelerated Technologies John Sharrard that captured the first checkered flag to be aired out for the 18-rider field. In second place was young Ben LeClair with Conner Campbell a close third. Fastest lap of the race went to Alex Berthiaume at 114.202 kph and 1:17.862, but he had to settle for a fourth place finish.

In Sunday’s Pro Superbike finals action, it was Newcastle’s Eli Daccache, series number one plate holder, who jumped into an early lead on his new Yamaha R1. Hot on his heels was Royal Distributing-backed Michael Leon riding a BMW S1000RR. Mitch Card and Steven Nickerson had a race long battle for the final step of the podium. Leon pushed Daccache for several laps before making the pass into the lead and then romped into first for the win. Daccache had to settle for second and Card bested Nickerson at the finish line for third. Louie Raffa had a great race to finish fourth while Kingston rider “Jammin” Jeff Williams took a borrowed bike to fifth.

In Pro 600 competition, National number one racer Tomas Casas gave himself a 19th birthday present with a run away win. Behind him a war ensued with several other riders for the runner-up status and when the checkered flag fell to complete the race it was, Louie Raffa in second with Elliot Vieira the Guianese rider in third. Belleville’s “Take Mike for Granite” sponsored Mike Raniowski took fourth while Cameron Walker took fifth. The race was supposed to see the return of fan favourite Frank “The Warlord” Trombino but he crashed heavily, destroying his bike and putting an end to his weekend.

Andrew Haick won the 12-lap Amateur Superbike race, just ahead of Dave Natale and Jared Walker. In fourth was Nik Koleros with Ed Zahra in fifth.

Max Kathron had a great outing, taking the Amateur 600 Sportbike win, just ahead of Danny Caya. The final step of the podium went to Mike Grass. Craig Archer finished just shy of a podium position with Jared Walker rounding out the top five.

In Sunday’s second CSBK Lightweight Sportbike racing, the LeClair family hogged most of the trophies with young sensation Jake LeClair well ahead of the rest of the field for the win. Younger brother Ben LeClair took second with Matthew Simpson hot on his heels in third. John Taverner had a good outing for fourth just ahead of Auto Trader backed Jacob Black close behind in fifth.

Many of the same riders again took the field in the Mopar Expresslane Lightweight Production racing. Once again Jake LeClair proved to be unbeatable with a run away win. John Taverner was a distant second aboard his Yamaha R3 with veteran racer Allan Burns taking third. Matthew Simpson finished just shy of a podium in fourth just ahead of Jacob Black.

Michael Leon took another victory in the 12 lap Sprint Cup final. Eli Daccache once again had to settle for runner up status. Steven Nickerson had a great race and captured the final podium step with Mitch Card wrestling his Yamaha R1 into fourth. Pedro Sousa finished close behind in fifth.

Racing resumes again in 2 weeks, May 26th. to 27th. as Shannonville Motorsport Park hosts Round 1 of the Mopar CSBK National Superbike races. 

More, from a press release issued by CSBK/PMP:

LeClair brothers go one-two in final Lightweight tune-up at SMP

Professional Motorsports Productions

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto ON – May 14, 2018 – The final non-championship National warm-up Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike race was won in dominant fashion on Sunday, as Jake LeClair took the victory by nearly 18 seconds at Shannonville Motorsport Park.

The 17 year-old was forced to start from row three aboard his Yamaha YZF-R3 after electing not to participate in Saturday's race, but that did little to stop him as he led from the opening lap and never looked back. His younger brother, Ben, came out on top of a hectic three-way battle for second, which resulted in fellow teenager Matthew Simpson rounding out the podium after a pair of crashes late in the race.

Jake is widely considered one of the premier contenders for the inaugural Lightweight Sport Bike championship at this year's Mopar CSBK National series, and it doesn't appear he is lacking confidence heading into the season opener in just two weeks.

"I saw Ben get the holeshot, but I got a pretty good start too, so I was able to get past him in [corner two]," Jake said. "After that, I just tried to pull out a lead and save as much fuel as we could. Now we're all just looking forward to the National."

The top finishers went to mandatory post-race Technical Inspection following the podium presentation. The winner's Yamaha weighted in at 324 pounds, four over the minimum. On the Dynojet rear-wheel Dynomometer, LeClair's winning R3 "spun the drum" to register 39.12 horsepower, safely under the 42 HP posted maximum.

The older of the two brothers from Blackstock, ON was at the top of the timesheets for much of the weekend, and even qualified on pole for the first of the two non-championship races on Saturday. Though he ultimately elected not to participate, the podium still featured the family name, after Ben finished second behind race winner John Sharrard. The result – combined with Sunday's finish – gave the 15-year old two second-place finishes in as many days.

"I'm still working on my starts," Ben joked, after nearly being assessed a jump-start penalty. "But I had a really good battle with Connor [Campbell] and it was a really fun race."

The younger LeClair was involved in a tight contest with Richard Lee and Connor Campbell that went on for over half the race, before Lee appeared to have distanced himself from the other two in second. However, the Mississauga, ON native crashed out on lap eight, promoting Ben to second and Campbell to third. The latter attempted to pull off a last-lap pass, but lost control of his Kawasaki Ninja 300 and also crashed out, giving the final podium spot to Simpson.

"I started off in a bit of a battle, but after a while I got pretty lonely out there," Simpson said. "I had a good ride but unfortunately I just couldn't catch Ben at the end."

Coincidentally, all three of the podium finishers attend Courtice Secondary School together, just west of Simpson's hometown of Bowmanville, ON.

Behind the three teenagers, John Taverner took fourth place aboard his Yamaha YZF-R3, while Jacob Black was promoted to fifth aboard the only Kawasaki Ninja 400 on the grid. Recently unretired female racing legend Toni Sharpless finished sixth for the second consecutive day, while Tyler Moore, Kirk Shergold, Adolfo Silva, and Graeme Jones completed the top ten.

Though Campbell was unable to record back-to-back podiums after his third-place finish on Saturday, Simpson still managed to represent Kawasaki aboard his Ninja 300. The LeClair brothers picked up the second and third podiums of the weekend for Yamaha, while the highest finishing Honda was Shergold and his CBR500R in eighth place after Sharrard won Saturday's race aboard the same machine.

The class will now prepare for its first official point-scoring race at the CSBK season opener, which runs from May 25-27 at Shannonville Motorsport Park.