Defending Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike champion Tomas Casas had another strong weekend at round four of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship, as the youngster extended his lead atop the middleweight class with a pair of second-place results.
Entering the first of two doubleheader weekends for the Pro class, Casas was given the opportunity to build a comfortable gap in the overall point standings. After a pair of strong results, the 19-year old was able to walk away from Atlantic Motorsport Park with an impressive 43-point lead over rival Mitch Card.
The Parts Canada / Yamaha Canada YZF-R6 rider began the weekend with a strong day on Friday, though the team was unable to match the pace of local teenager Jacob Shaw-O’Leary. However, Casas was not fazed by the hometown favourite, setting the second-fastest time in morning practice before qualifying in third-spot in the afternoon.
His time of 1.09.503 was just 0.336 seconds behind pole-position and was nearly a half-second improvement from his qualifying time in 2017.
Prior to Saturday’s race, Casas was forced to make a last-minute tire change due to the weather, resulting in him being the last rider to make the switch and leaving no time to adjust the bike setup. That did not appear to hinder Casas at all, however, as he overcame the conditions – as well as difficulties with his visor – to seal second-place behind race winner Shaw-O’Leary.
“We had to change the tires at the last minute, so I let the guys lead out front while I got used to the conditions,” said Casas. “After a while I got the confidence to push through into second, but then my visor fogged up and it prevented me from pushing to catch Jacob.”
Things were much different on Sunday as the track played host to clear skies and sweltering heat, but once again that didn’t seem to faze Casas as he relentlessly challenged for his third victory of the season. He was ultimately unable to overcome fellow frontrunner Sebastien Tremblay, partly due to his decision to run a medium compound tire while Tremblay ran the faster supersoft, and as a result he was forced to settle for another second-place finish.
“It was impressive that all of the top three guys were able to run on three different compounds,” Casas noted. “It just goes to show how great of tires Dunlop provides us with.”
Casas also wished to congratulate both Shaw-O’Leary and Tremblay on their first career Pro wins, as well as their overall great racing.
Casas will now hope to keep his strong season going in the season finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, his home track, in just over two weeks.
As for his weekend in the Mopar Pro Superbike division, it was a tough round for the Yamaha pilot, as he could only manage 11th in race one and 10th in race two. However, he still exits round four sitting seventh in the overall standings, an impressive feat considering his lesser-powered YZF-R6 machine.
Casas was able to enter the Dalton Timmis Insurance SuperPole event on Friday with the seventh-fastest time but elected not to participate in the second-half of the qualifying session and was thus given the 10th starting position.
Mechanical difficulties on the warmup lap of Saturday’s race forced Casas into the pit lane and he was forced to start from the pits as a result, though he was able to charge his way through the field and overcome a number of riders. However, it was too little too late as he could only work his way as high as 11th.
He made a slight improvement on Sunday, but the hotter temperatures and increased pace favoured the bigger Superbikes. He was still able to bring home a respectable 10th place finish, which kept his spot in the overall standings safe.
Casas will now head to the season finale at CTMP in good position to defend his Pro Sport Bike title, which was his primary goal this season, as well as secure a top-seven finish in the premier class standings.
Casas would like to thank Yamaha Canada, Parts Canada, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Pro 6 Cycle & Dunlop Tires, Bickle Racing, Flexi-glass, BlueStreak Racing, Hindle Exhaust Systems, Human 2.0, DP Brakes, Vortex, LAPS4MD, Peterborough Cycle Salvage, HB Cycle, Trackdayhub.com, and everyone else who has helped contribute to his success in 2018 and beyond.
From a press release