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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Welsh edges Christie for Sport Bike win

By John Hopkins

SHANNONVILLE, ON -- Alex Welsh won a dramatic Pirelli Pro Sport Bike race on his Z1 CycleTech Suzuki GSX-R600 at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Saturday, edging the Jodi Christie Racing / Blue Streak Racing Honda CBR600RR of Jodi Christie by just 0.083 secs. after the two had traded the lead throughout the 18-lap race.

Welsh, who had led most of the way after starting from pole, was in front coming off the back straight the final time but had Christie nip inside him in Allen's Corner, Two turns from the finish. The Suzuki rider replied by getting back inside Christie in the long, final right hander coming onto the front straight and just hung onto first as Christie tried to power back in front in the run to the line.

Andrew Nelson finished third on the ProStar Adventures / Fast Company / K-tech Suspension Yamaha YZF-R6.

"That was a good race," said Welsh after his second career Pro Sport Bike win and the third for Zaid Saleemi's Z1 CycleTech. "I tried to get a gap early on but that didn't work. It was a pretty hot pace and a lot of hard work. I knew Jodi would try something on the last lap and then I made a pretty aggressive move. Luckily it stuck."

Christie ended up leading four of the 20 laps as he continues his search for a first career national Pro victory.

"It was a really close race," he acknowledged. "I haven't had that much fun in a long time. There wasn't a moment we touched. It was really safe. I got in pretty hard [into Allen's on the last lap] but I didn't close the door enough in the next corner. I was trying to get a good drive out of the turn."

Welsh now leads the Pro Sport Bike standings with 96 points to the 85 of Christie heading into Sunday's third round of the series.

Nelson had to battle back from a poor start, finally taking third from the Suzuki Canada / Hindle / Sturgess Cycle Suzuki GSX-R600 of Frank Trombino on lap four. By then the two leaders were over 3.5 secs. to the good and Nelson was forced to settle for a quiet run to the final podium spot.

"Once I got past Frank I pushed to make up time but once I knew Frank was out I backed it off," Nelson explained. "This was a last minute deal and we've had about a week to work on it, and we learned a lot in that race."

In his first national appearance of the season Kenny Reidman took fourth on his Triumph Daytona 675 and Bodhi Edie came out of a good multi-bike battle to secure fifth aboard the Edie Racing / Acceleration Racing / Honda Canada Honda CBR600RR.

Raphael Archambault rounded out the top six riding the Archambault Suzuki / Parts Canada Racing Suzuki GSX-R600.

Trombino retired to the pits after eight laps. The winner of the opening round of the season at Circuit ICAR had been battling a mysterious engine issue all weekend.

A good ride by rookie Pro Bill McKay came to nought when the Tavistock, ON racer crashed his Kawasaki ZX-6R in turn two while lying fifth on lap 12. He had worked his way up from 10th after lap one.

Race Results
1. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, ON (Suzuki GSX-R600) 19:49.340 
2. Jodi Christie, Keene, ON (Honda CBR600RR) +.083 
3. Andrew Nelson, Kars, ON (Yamaha YZF-R6) +21.717
4. Kenny Reidman, Belfountain, ON (Triumph 675) +28.977
5. Bodhi Edie, Warman, SK (Honda CBR600RR) +36.105
6. Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, QC (Suzuki GSX-R600) +40.144
7. Sean Huffman, Kemptville, ON (Honda CBR600RR) +47.271
8. Marie-Josee Boucher, Montreal, QC (Honda CBR600RR) +52.425
9. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban (Yamaha YZF-R6) +1:06.274 
10. Jeremie Hade Precourt, Granby, QC (Suzuki GSX-R600) +1 Lap 
11. Vicki Schouten, Ottawa, ON (Kawasaki ZX-6R) +1 Lap 
Did Not Finish
Bill McKay, Tavistock, ON (Kawasaki ZX-6R) 11 Laps 
Frank Trombino, Woodbridge, ON (Suzuki GSX-R600) 8 Laps
Joey McRae, Orangeville, ON (Yamaha YZF-R6) 1 Lap
Did Not Start
Darren James, North Vancouver, BC (Buell 1125R)
Fastest Lap: 1:05.735 by Jodi Christie on lap 2

Point Standings
1.Alex Welsh (Suzuki) 96
2.Jodi Christie (Honda) 85
3.Bodhi Edie (Honda) 69
4.Raphael Archambault (Suzuki) 67
5.Sean Huffman (Honda) 65
6.Marie-Josee Boucher (Honda) 63
7.Sylvain Dery (Yamaha) 61
8.Jeremie Hade Precourt (Suzuki) 59
9.Frank Trombino (Suzuki) 41
10.Darren James (Buell) 40
11.Martin Grande (Yamaha) 40
12.Joey McRae (Yamaha) 40
13.Andrew Nelson (Yamaha) 39
14.Kenny Riedman (Triumph) 32
15.Vicki Schouten (Kawasaki) 17

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