Atlantic: Penultimate doubleheader preview

FOUR-RIDER FIGHT HEADS EAST TORONTO, ON For the second time in the past three years the Parts Canada Superbike Championship is heading for a dramatic down to the wire finale. And once again Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, NS will be a...

FOUR-RIDER FIGHT HEADS EAST

TORONTO, ON For the second time in the past three years the Parts Canada Superbike Championship is heading for a dramatic down to the wire finale. And once again Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, NS will be a key battleground in the war for the title.

Four riders come into this weekend's doubleheader event, the penultimate stop on the 2005 tour, with a solid shot at claiming Canada's biggest motorcycle road racing prize. Francis Martin of Rock Forest, QC leads the standings with 198 points, but just two points behind him is Brantford, ON ace Jordan Szoke. Calgary's Clint McBain is just another two points behind with 194.

Meanwhile, lurking in fourth in the standings with 179 points is Granby, QC rider Pascal Picotte, who shot into contention for the title after sweeping the doubleheader at the previous event at Mosport International Raceway.

This weekend's races are the sixth and seventh rounds of the eight-race series, which wraps up at Shannonville Motorsport Park on the Labour Day Weekend of Sept. 2-4.

Picotte is bidding for a third straight Canadian Superbike crown, a feat not managed since Steve Crevier won three in a row from 1991-93. But his championship aspirations appeared to be over after he was injured in a practice fall at the Parts Canada Superbike season opener at Shannonville in May. Picotte was dominant at Mosport, however, qualifying on pole and leading both races lights-to-flag on his Picotte Performance Yamaha YZF-R1.

Riding the Snobgirls / Laval Moto Suzuki GSX-R1000, Martin won the Shannonville season opener and has two other podium finishes to his credit this season. He has never won at AMP, but is a past national Superbike champion, taking the title for Kawasaki in 1999.

Although he hasn't won yet in 2005, Szoke hasn't finished lower than fourth in the first five races of the season on his Fast Company Honda CBR1000RR. The Canadian Superbike champion in 1998 and 2002, Szoke has won twice at AMP.

McBain has been the other winner this season on the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot Suzuki GSX-R1000. He scored a popular home sweep at the second and third rounds of the series at Race City Motorsport Park but suffered a big crash in the first race of the Mosport doubleheader. He bounced back to claim second place behind Picotte the next day and stay in contention for a possible first Canadian Superbike crown.

A succession of challengers will be eager to mix it up with this foursome and the tight 2.56km (1.6-mile), 11-turn AMP circuit has a tradition of serving up the closest races of the season.

Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, BC sits fifth in points with 138 on the Diablo Performance Honda CBR1000RR. The six-time national champion has more AMP Superbike victories than any other racer with five.

Just a point behind Crevier is McBain's teammate on the Blackfoot Suzuki team, Kevin Lacombe. The Granby, QC rider won last year's Superbike feature at AMP.

The Canadian Kawasaki Motors Kawasaki ZX-10Rs showed improved form at Mosport. Matt McBride of Mississauga, ON placed a career high fourth in the second race, while Tom Kipp of Chardon, OH was third a day earlier. They come to AMP seventh and ninth in points, respectively.

Action this weekend will also include a doubleheader for the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike Championship. Honda rider Crevier leads the standings despite seeing his three-race win streak come to an end at Mosport. He has 216 points to the 193 of Suzuki's McBain, while another Calgary racer, Chris Peris is creeping up in third after winning both Mosport rounds on his Topline Yamaha YZF-R6.

Sunday's racing will also include features for the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike, Canadian Thunder and Suzuki SV650 National Cup competitors.

Mark Douglas of Warkworth, ON holds a slim 11-point lead over Woodstock, ON's James Collins, 125-114 in Amateur 600 Sport Bike after taking his first career series win at Mosport. Vancouver's Olivier Spilborghs is third in points with 81. All three are aboard Yamahas.

Buell rider Bill Card of Wellesley, ON leads the Canadian Thunder standings after sweeping the doubleheader at Mosport, while 15-year-old Karl Daigle of Roxton Pond, QC has won the last three SV650 Cup features to take command of that series.

Qualifying for the Parts Canada Superbike and Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike series will take place Friday afternoon with feature races set for Saturday and Sunday.

The International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike, Canadian Thunder and Suzuki SV650 National Cup competitors will qualify Saturday for their Sunday features.

Action from this weekend will be shown later this summer in a one-hour show on TSN.

-cbsk-

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Series CSBK
Drivers Jordan Szoke , Tom Kipp , Pascal Picotte , Chris Peris , Clint McBain , Kevin Lacombe , Francis Martin , Steve Crevier , Bill Card