Tomas Casas and the Parts Canada Yamaha team left Ontario in search of a strong weekend at Autodrome St-Eustache in round three of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship, and were able to walk away from the Quebec circuit with a perfect weekend in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class.
The two-time defending champion was able to get his season back on track after a round one crash, and entered round three with a chance to build upon that momentum in the last ever CSBK event in St-Eustache.
Casas managed to get off to a respectable start by running third and second in the two Friday practice sessions, but his pace managed to pick up entering qualifying on Saturday in what was shaping up to be another thrilling fight between him and championship leader Will Hornblower.
Hornblower sat atop the timesheets for much of the qualifying session, but that all changed in the later stages when Casas just narrowly placed his Yamaha YZF-R6 atop the leaderboard with a time of 46.969 – just 0.056 seconds faster than Hornblower.
With a large gap in times from the front of the field to the back, it appeared as though Casas and the other frontrunners would have to deal with lapped traffic in the race on Sunday, something that would eventually be true come race time.
However, Casas managed to squash all concerns with a blistering start, grabbing a commanding lead on the opening lap and immediately beginning to gap the group behind him. Also playing into his advantage was a rough start from Hornblower, who had to work his way back into second place but not before Casas had already settled into a four-second lead.
In all, it was a dominant performance for the Peterborough, ON youngster, who led every lap of the contest en route to a perfect 56-point weekend.
“It really is too bad they are shutting down a track that has so much racing history,” Casas said. “To take the last win here is very special to me. It was just what we needed to do to get back into the championship battle.”
Casas will now await round four at Atlantic Motorsport Park next month, as he pulls within two points of second place and just 30 points of Hornblower for the championship lead with four races left to go.
It was a much tougher battle for Casas in the Mopar Pro Superbike feature class, though he came away with another strong result as he continues to adjust to the bigger Yamaha YZF-R1 machine.
After running consistently inside the top-ten for all of Friday and into Saturday, the 2015 Pro Rookie of the Year managed to qualify in a respectable eighth place, with his time of 46.707 falling just over a second off 13-time National champion Jordan Szoke in first.
Despite the solid-but-unspectacular qualifying position, Casas was once again able to get a terrific launch off the grid in Sunday’s race, briefly running in third position with eyes on his first career Pro Superbike podium before ultimately settling into a battle for fourth position.
It looked like Casas would be able to match his career-best result of fourth place from the season opener, but a late charge from Samuel Trepanier was enough to displace the Yamaha rider.
After a pass from veteran Jeff Williams moved the Yamaha rider back into sixth, Casas was able to overtake the veteran once again with a few laps to go, holding off Williams and a number of more experienced riders to finish off a solid weekend in the Superbike class with his second top-five finish of the year in fifth.
“I keep nailing the starts and it helps me get into the groove of things during the race,” Casas said. “It is definitely very demanding on the big bike, but I’m having a lot of fun battling it out and trying to keep calm when I can feel the pressure from these guys behind me.”
A podium finish for factory Suzuki rider and Parts Canada teammate Trevor Daley was enough to move him into third in the feature class championship, bumping Casas just two points behind him into fourth and one point ahead of Trepanier.
Should Casas hang on to finish in the top five of both Pro classes, he would join former National champion’s Szoke, Jodi Christie, and Brett McCormick as one of only seven riders to finish inside the top-five of both categories in the last decade.
Casas and the Parts Canada Yamaha team will now get a month to rest before the series returns to the East Coast at Atlantic Motorsport Park, where he scored a pair of second place finishes in the Sport Bike class and finished 10th and 11th in the Superbike class a year ago.
Tomas and the team would like to thank all his sponsors for their hard work, including Yamaha Motor Canada, Parts Canada, Pro 6 Cycle & Dunlop Tires, Hindle Exhaust, Brooklin Cycle Racing, GBRacing, J.J. Stewart Motors Ltd., Flexiglass, Bickle Racing, Blue Streak Racing, DP Brakes, Human 2.0, EHR Sports, Vortex, Peterborough Cycle Salvage, Trackdayhub.com, and all other personnel and fans for their love and support.
You can keep up with Tomas Casas’ 2019 journey on his social media platforms:
Instagram & Twitter: @tomas_casas18
Facebook: Tomas Casas Racing
From a press release