Beaver Brook racer gets pair of top five finishes at Atlantic Motorsport Park
NORTH SALEM - Brian Blaauwendraat was all smiles late Sunday at Atlantic Motorsport Park.
The 24-year-old Beaver Brook resident posted his best career finishes on the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at the 2.56 km circuit, crossing the line fourth in both the superbike and 600 supersport races.
"I'm thrilled with those finishes really," said the Pro Cycle Honda CBR600RR rider. "Everyone else was on 1,000's and I only had a 600 so to run at the front of the pack with those guys is quite an achievement."
The finishes top his fifth in last year's supersport event at the track and his fourth-place qualifying effort Saturday gave Honda its first front-row start in the series in more than five years.
Blaauwendraat also lowered his career best lap at the track to 1:08.282 in Sunday's superbike event, which was won by Saskatoon's Brett McCormick on his Suzuki GSX-R1000. Series points leader Jordan Szoke was second on his Kawasaki ZX-10R while Clint McBain, also on a Suzuki GSX-R1000, was third.
Blaauwendraat said coming into the weekend his goal was to secure a top-10 finish, but after Friday practice and qualifying Saturday, he felt a top five was within his grasp.
"I thought I could possibly podium but it was just out of my reach," he said.
"A couple times in the race I thought I could have done it but I settled for fourth rather than pushing too hard and laying it down."
The finishing order was the same in the supersport event, with the exception of a third-place finish from Team Toyota Yamaha's Kevin Lacombe. Szoke also leads that points chase, which heads into its seventh and final round Sept. 3 to 6 at Shannonville Motorsport Park in Shannonville, Ont.
The finishes are a huge confidence booster for the series' 2008 rookie of the year runner-up, who accomplished the feat against teams with factory support.
"They're definitely encouraging for sure," he said. "Just to run at the front with those guys was intense and I really had fun. If I'm having fun I'm going to want to keep doing it and this weekend was the funnest yet."