The opening race of the 2021 Canadian Superbike Championship churned out a surprising result on Sunday, as rookie Alex Dumas scored his first career Pro Superbike victory in his debut race at Calabogie Motorsports Park.
The 18-year-old quickly made up for a poor qualifying as he got a terrific jump from the second row, placing his Liqui Moly Suzuki GSX-R1000 squarely behind reigning champion Jordan Szoke and his Canada General Warranty Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja on lap one. Szoke managed to hold off Dumas for much of the opening laps, before the rookie made the decisive move in turn five on lap three.
His once-insurmountable gap began to come under fire in the dying moments, however, as pole-sitter Ben Young overcame a brutal start to charge his way through the field and past Szoke, with the 2019 champion lapping quicker than Dumas for much of the second half before running out of time on his Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW S1000RR.
Dumas becomes the first rider in CSBK history to ever win their Pro Superbike debut, a feat no one has accomplished in the first 42-year history of the series, in what was also his first ever CSBK race.
It was a disappointing result for Young, but one he would have been happy to take after his disaster start off the grid, as he dropped back as low as sixth on the opening lap and at the back of the lead group.
Szoke, meanwhile, was forced to settle for third and the final podium spot to begin his title defence, as his strong start was undone by heavy pressure from Dumas and Young throughout the race. The third-place finish was amazingly Szoke’s worst career race at CMP, snapping a five-race unbeaten streak at the circuit.
Another few laps may have seen Szoke come under pressure from another Suzuki rider in Trevor Daley, who found front-running pace in the second half to charge through the lead pack on his OneSpeed machine.
Completing the top-five in race one was Tomas Casas, who was unable to build any momentum off his career-best qualifying performance of second on Saturday. Casas managed to hang with Szoke and Dumas in the early stages, but ultimately faded aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha to settle for fifth.
The race one results also give Suzuki an early advantage in the new Constructors Championship, as Dumas and Daley provided some early momentum entering race two on Sunday afternoon.
Sebastian Tremblay also took home some early hardware in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike category, overcoming a surprising lap one deficit to teammate Christian Allard to win the opening race of the season.
The Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider initially grabbed the holeshot before the race was red flagged on lap one, and the advantage on the restart went to Allard as he paced Tremblay through most of the opening lap. An early pass for the lead was ultimately the decisive one, however, as Tremblay cruised to a two-second victory and demonstrated why he is the overwhelming favourite for the 2021 title.
Allard’s early push was perhaps his undoing, as he faded towards the end to allow Phillippe Masse into second as the duo completed an all-Quebec and all-Kawasaki podium in the middleweight class.
Masse was emotional on the podium, as he captured his best career Pro finish after dealing with mechanical problems earlier in the week and making sporadic appearances over the last few seasons.
Notably finishing fourth in the Sport Bike category was rookie Jake Leclair, who settled in nicely behind the lead group in his Pro debut aboard his bLU cRU Yamaha machine.
Full results from race one on Sunday, and the schedule for the rest of the afternoon’s racing, can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.