Aboard the Accelerated Technologies Motovan Honda CBR1000RR SP, the 22-year-old from Keene, Ont. turned a best lap of 45.726 (139.352 km/h) around 1.93 kilometer (1.2 mile), 10-turn circuit during the afternoon Pro Superbike practice. Christie made several sorties over the course of the session, and waited out a brief rain squall during an otherwise sunny and hot afternoon.
“Really, everything went great, we were focused on getting comfortable,” confirmed number one plate holder Christie. “We definitely have a faster bike than last year, it is more of a handful, so I’m working on trying to smooth out my riding as much as possible.”
“This track is totally different from Calabogie [MotorSports Park],” explained Christie, referring to the opening round venue from two weeks earlier. “This track is point and shoot, it’s slick and bumpy - initially it is overwhelming. Then I started to get with it this afternoon. The key is smoothness, to make the track flow.”
At last year’s Mopar CSBK National round at Autodrome St-Eustache Christie finished a close second to the victorious Express Lane Motovan BMW S1000RR of 2013 Champ Jordan Szoke of Brantford, Ont.
On Friday Szoke was a very close second to Christie with a lap at 45.774, just two one hundredths of a second behind the pace-setting Honda. Szoke had been quickest in the opening, morning session.
“We’re working on getting data, going back and forth between our 2014 and 2015 bikes,” stated nine-time National Superbike Champ Szoke following the 45-minute session. “It’s going mint, last year’s bike is wicked, and we are half a second faster than where we were on Friday last year.
“The bikes are close, the new one is actually faster, but I am more comfortable on the 2014 so far. That’s promising, since the track is a little bumpier, it’s actually kind of wavy going into some of the corners.”
Third quickest time belonged to Trevor Daley of Mississauga, Ont. aboard the Parts Canada OneSpeed Suzuki Canada GSX-R1000 with a lap at 46.938. After a troubled start to his season, suffering injured hands at Calabogie, Daley rebounded with his best career practice effort at St-Eustache.
“We had some problems in the morning, but things were much better in the afternoon,” started Daley, runner-up in the Superbike class last year. “Dave Weaver from Florida has come up to help me for the first time, and this is the first time that the bike has run the way it should. My hands hurt a little bit, we’re figuring things out, we tried taping a couple of my fingers together.”
Also dealing with injury was Kenny Riedmann of Belfountain, Ont. riding his new Sturgess Cycle / GE Capital Kawasaki ZX-10R. Riedmann separated his shoulder at Calabogie, and struggled to set fourth best time at St-Eustache of 47.164, his first time aboard a 1000cc machine at the tight Autodrome circuit.
“Things are manageable right now,” explained Riedmann of his injury. “It is a tendon issue, and the problem is where it attaches to my shoulder. It doesn’t get better if I’m riding! It’s achy and sore, but I can handle it. I can do some of the steering with my knees, that worked at Calabogie, and I will get an injection for Sunday’s races.”
In practice for the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike class, Christie set the pace aboard his Shoei Joe Rocket Honda CBR600RR with a best lap of 47.368. Second quickest was Will Hornblower of Sarnia, Ont. with his Yamaha, lapping at 48.123. Local Louie Raffa was third aboard his Honda at 48.294, followed by the injured class Champ Riedmann on his Castrol Triumph Daytona 675 with a best lap of 48.542.
In Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike, Alex Coelho of Brossard, Que. was fastest with a lap at 50.5 aboard his Kawasaki ZX-6R, while top competitor in Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike was St-Jerome’s Alex Cleary aboard a Suzuki GSX-R600 with a best of 49.9.
Action at Autodrome St-Eustache continues Saturday with Qualifying for all four National Championship classes. The main focus of Saturday afternoon will be the Magneti Marelli-backed SuperPole competition, establishing the grid for Sunday’s 22-lap Mopar Superbike final grid.
For ticket information call (450) 472-6222 or (514) 591-4388, or visit www.autodrome.ca.
The official Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship website, www.csbk.ca, will have full race video coverage of Sunday’s Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike and Mopar Pro Superbike feature opening National events.
For additional information please contact:
John Hopkins/ Inside Track Communications
Tel. (613) 968-0166