One former Shannonville winner is looking to spice things up once again in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, as Brad Macrae paced the two championship leaders in qualifying at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Friday.
The round one star returned to the top of the timesheets right away in the 20-minute session, snatching provisional pole from the category’s most recent winner in Sebastien Tremblay, and his time of 1:48.053 would hold up to the end as the Colron Excavating Yamaha rider will lead the grid for the second time at SMP this season.
While Macrae’s championship hopes are mathematically over, his pace is a serious threat to the two who remain firmly in the mix, as David MacKay was forced to settle for second and Matt Simpson third.
Both title rivals inched their way closer and closer to Macrae as the time wound down, but it wouldn’t be enough as the championship leader came up just 0.028 seconds short of pole, the third-closest qualifying margin in Sport Bike history.
MacKay will increase his lead by one point to a gap of 17 aboard his ODH Snow City Cycle Kawasaki, as the Blackstock Motorsports Yamaha of Simpson remains only 0.207 seconds off the pace entering race one on Saturday.
Tremblay wasn’t able to better his time in the late going after an early crash aboard his Turcotte Performance Suzuki, but will still be a huge contender to win this weekend as he salvages fourth on the grid in his debut aboard the recently-homologated GSX-R750.
John Laing will complete the top-five as he also improved in the final moments to place his Vass Performance Kawasaki next to Tremblay, one spot clear of fan-favourite Francis Martin who continues his comeback tour aboard the Purple Skull Brewing/Liqui Moly Suzuki in sixth.
Notably absent from the qualifying order were reigning champion Trevor Dion and Sport Bike debutant Sam Guerin, as both decided against racing in the middleweight class as they focus on their Superbike efforts.
Andrew Van Winkle will start from pole position in the Bickle Racing Pro Twins class, cruising clear of veteran Hans Van Sleuwen as he seems poised to bring home the inaugural championship this weekend.
The 16-year-old Van Winkle has benefitted from an injury that will sideline championship leader Jeff Williams, but will have a shot at history nonetheless as he can become the youngest pro champion in CSBK history with a win this weekend.
Mavrick Cyr moved one step closer to a rare double-championship season, securing pole position for both the AIM Insurance Amateur Superbike class and Scorpion EXO Amateur Sport Bike category.
The points leader in both classes – albeit by very different margins – Cyr took a very crucial pole in the Superbike division, but not on-track as he initially found himself 0.034 seconds behind rival Andrew Cooney before Cooney was disqualified for running out of fuel and failing to provide a tech inspection sample.
The unfortunate penalty for the Economy Lube and Tire Ducati debutant allowed Cyr to not just take pole but also extend his title lead to an even ten points, a gap that will be aided by Cooney having to now fight his way through the field this weekend.
Cooney’s penalty promoted teenager Philip Degame-Blanchet to second, his best qualifying finish of the season, while fellow championship contender Matt Vanderhorst inherits a crucial third and the final spot on the front row.
Cyr’s day got even better in the Sport Bike class, taking pole position again (this time outright) by topping the timesheets with a time of 1:52.081 to put his Rizzin Racing Triumph 0.144 seconds clear of Cooney.
That will extend his championship lead in that category to a more-commanding 43 points, as he aims to wrap that trophy up officially in race one on Saturday and leave one less task to accomplish on Sunday.
Vincent Lalande edged out rival and namesake Vincent Wilson for pole in the Super Sonic Race School Amateur Lightweight class, but in far more convincing circumstances than usual as Lalande blitzed the times to go nearly a full-second faster.
The duo has been separated by very little in 2023 but championship leader Lalande may be changing that at the most critical time, as he can put Wilson on the brink with a win on Saturday.
Ziam Laflamme will join them on the front row, following up his strong CTMP debut with a stellar day on Friday to put himself in the race winning mix.
Wilson did avenge his disappointment with an outright pole position in the EBC Brakes Lightweight Pro/Am class, besting Laflamme by 0.127 seconds in an amateur one-two at the front of the grid.
The New Brunswick native can officially clinch the amateur championship if he finishes ahead of Lalande on Saturday, with the 15-year-old slotting in behind them on the second row in fourth overall.
Stacey Nesbitt will complete the front row in third and more importantly sit as the top pro on the grid, two spots clear of Ryan Vanderputten as she aims to capture the pro division this weekend.
Full results from the support class qualifying can be found on the series’ official website at CSBK.ca.