Ben Young won his first MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship in dramatic fashion at the final race weekend of the 2019 season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The 26 year old from Collingwood, Ontario, got off to a perfect start putting his No. 86 BMW S1000RR in pole position for race one of the double header, and race six of the seven race season. But just two corners after setting the fastest lap of the session, he crashed causing extensive damage to his motorcycle, but thankfully not to himself.
With Young securing his fourth pole position of the season, he entered the penultimate race of the 2019 Championship with a 62 point lead over reigning champion, Jordan Szoke. Szoke, from Lynden, Ontario, is the winningest rider in Canadian Superbike history. He has thirteen National Pro Superbike Championships to his name, including each of the last four seasons.
The starting grid, for what could be the championship deciding race, had Young starting first, followed by Samuel Trepanier from Montreal, Quebec on his No. 14 BMW S1000RR, Kenny Riedmann from Ravenna, Ontario on his No. 42 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR and Jordan Szoke on this No. 1 Kawasaki ZX-10RR. The lead changed hands several time during the hard-fought race but ultimately Samuel Trepanier prevailed winning his first Pro Superbike race of his career. Szoke finished second just 0.163 of a second behind, followed by Young in third. All three riders crossed the finish line within half a second of each other.
“The feeling is just incredible, I can barely put it into words to be honest,” said Young. “We started on the harder tire, and it was tough at first and I thought maybe we’d have to wait until tomorrow, but the tire started to heat up towards the end and I was able to catch that group again. Once I saw Jordan’s number-one plate, I knew I wanted to take it away from him and get my own. I’m really blessed to have so much support, both from BMW and the team, but from all the fans as well. I owe this title to them.”
Trepanier has had several amateur superbike race wins but had only finished as high as second at the pro level. “It was here a couple years ago that I almost won my first race, so I knew I had to do everything I could to make up for it here today, and it just feels phenomenal,” said Trepanier. “Jordan actually made a push on me at the end, and I knew I had to get the drive to hold onto it, and I was just so happy to beat him to the line. My team works so hard, so I need to dedicate this first win – first of many I hope – to them.”
Szoke, who was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2016 and has racked up more than 70 Pro Superbike wins, switched from BMW to Kawasaki in 2019. His first year on the bike has been a challenge. “After switching back to Kawasaki this year, it’s been tough,” said Szoke. “Not because of the bike – it’s been great – but it’s been an adjustment, and I’ve made a few mistakes that I usually never make. Ben hasn’t placed a foot wrong all year, even after that crash this morning, so I knew the focus was going to be on next year. Obviously, hat’s off to him and Sam, and they’ve earned every bit of this.”
The seventh and final race of the season could not have had a closer finish. Officials had to go to a photo finish to determine the results because the top three riders crossed the finish line within 0.031 seconds of each other. Trepanier led entering the final lap and was trying to win his second consecutive race but came into contact with Riedmann and lost by just 0.027. Szoke was just 0.004 of a second behind Trepanier in third place followed by Young who was a third of a second behind Szoke.
“It feels good to be up here,” said Riedmann. “It’s always fun to come back and battle with these guys up front, and Kawasaki was a huge help in putting this together for us. That was definitely one of the more aggressive races I’ve been a part of, and it got a little sketchy at the end, but it’s always nice to put on a good show for all the fans that come out to support us.”
Riedman and Trepanier both filed protests following the race. The protests were rejected but are subject to appeal.
“It’s awesome to see a good race for all the fans,” said Trepanier. “ I actually had a really ugly start and thought I might have to settle for seventh or something, but I was able to work my way up and move to the front one by one. I just didn’t have the same pace as yesterday, and I ran a bit wide onto the front straight which really killed my drive, but the BMW was working amazing all weekend and I’m super happy with the results.”
The next generation 2020 BMW S1000RR was ridden by Alex Welsh who finished fifth. Young and Trepanier will be riding the 2020 BMW S1000RR next season.
Colin Fraser been with the CSBK since the beginning and is now its President and runs the series. “If this was NASCAR then our final Canadian Tire Motorsport Park races would be our Daytona,” said Fraser. “This is our signature even, our big crowd, our close racing, and the place where our superbikes can slipstream and use their 200 hp. This is the apex of the whole year for us.“
In 2020 the series will celebrate its 40th season. “We have all kinds of plans for the 40th anniversary. Right now the focus is on trying to go to British Columbia to Area 27. We are hoping to be able to make lots of interesting announcements and do special things with the 40th anniversary. The first ever superbike race for the championship took place in Edmonton in June 1980 and I was there. The next race, there were only two races in the national championship that year, was at Shannonville that fall and I was actually responsible for running that race. So for better or worse I’ve been there the whole time.”
TSN will air two half-hour highlight specials of the 2019 MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship season in September. Check local listings for the time and dates of airing.
Full race results from the race weekend can be found at the MOPAR CSBK website.
All Images Credit to Gary Maavara