Calabogie: Series race report

SZOKE WINS AT CALABOGIE CALABOGIE, Ont. -- Two-time defending Parts Canada Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke won the opening race of the 2008 season at Calabogie Motorsports Park on Sunday. The Brantford, Ont. racer rode his Canadian Kawasaki ...

SZOKE WINS AT CALABOGIE

CALABOGIE, Ont. -- Two-time defending Parts Canada Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke won the opening race of the 2008 season at Calabogie Motorsports Park on Sunday.

The Brantford, Ont. racer rode his Canadian Kawasaki Motors Kawasaki ZX-10R to a 5.325-second victory over the Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 of Granby, Que.'s Kevin Lacombe.

In a remarkable performance Maple Ridge, B.C.'s Steve Crevier finished third in the debut of the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada / Ruthless Racing Buell 1125R.

"I want to defend my number one plate as best I can," said the 29- year-old Szoke, who is gunning for his fifth national Superbike title. "This is a new bike and it's great to start off with a victory."

Szoke was third after the opening lap but he passed Lacombe for second on lap 2 of the 20-lap race and took the lead from the Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Michael Barnes on lap 12. He stayed in front the rest of the way.

"I've got to work on my starts," said Szoke, who started second on the grid. "I really wanted to get off the line cleanly. But I thought as long as I got off in the top three I could hang in there."

Barnes claimed the lead off the line but the Boca Raton, Fla. rider was judged to have jumped the start and was due to be penalized five seconds at the end of the race. However, he pulled into the pits with an engine problem on lap 12. Barnes was subbing for Acceleration Racing's regular rider Clint McBain, who was sidelined with a separated shoulder.

Lacombe stayed close to Szoke until lap 13, when he lost time after he felt something hit his front fender.

"I thought something had gone through my front fender," explained Lacombe, who won Saturday's Pirelli Superpole competition to claim pole position for the race. "I took a corner or two to make sure everything was OK and I lost contact with Jordan."

Crevier qualified eighth on the Buell and spent most of the race battling with the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Francis Martin. The pair initially ran seventh and eighth but moved up as a number of the leaders ran into problems.

In addition to Barnes' retirement Brett McCormick crashed out of fourth place and the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing Suzukis of Chris Peris and Matt McBride crashed while battling for third on lap 18. None of the fallen riders was seriously hurt.

That put Martin in third and Crevier fourth, but despite a big horsepower disadvantage the twin-cylinder Buell passed the Suzuki on lap 19 and held on to the finish.

"It's quite amazing," said Crevier, a six-time Canadian Superbike champion. "We only got the bikes last Friday, and the crew has been slaving for a week solid. We even had to use a DOT rear tire because our rim was too narrow for the slick. It got a little mushy at the end but it felt OK."

Martin, from Rock Forest, Que. was fourth and Calgary's Jeremy Stepper took fifth aboard the Stepper Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Szoke's win was his 24th career Canadian Superbike Championship victory, pulling him to within two wins of Crevier for the all-time lead.

Szoke takes a seven-point lead over Lacombe to the second round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park June 27-29. He has 53 points to Lacombe's 46, with Crevier third on 37.

In other action at Calabogie, defending class champion Szoke won the 14-lap Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike feature on his Kawasaki ZX-6R. The Brantford, Ont. rider took the lead from Peris on lap 9 and held off his teammate McCormick by less than a second at the line.

"I had a terrible start, and this is a very tough track to pass on," said Szoke. "But my bike felt pretty good today. We've worked hard on it. Chris went a little wide in turn 1 and I was able to get a run on him and get past."

McCormick took over second when Peris crashed his Suzuki GSX-R600 just two laps from the finish. The Calgary rider was unhurt.

Peris's teammate McBride completed the top three finishers on another Suzuki, just edging the Yamaha YZF-R6 of Lacombe.

Valter Bartolini of Bologna, Italy led all the way from pole position to win the Canadian Thunder feature at Calabogie Motorsports Park on his NCR-Ducati 848. His teammate Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. finished second, 4.435 secs. behind and Dave Estok of New Smyrna Beach, Fla. placed third riding his Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada / Ruthless Racing Buell 1125R.

In the Canadian Sport Twins class, Ottawa's Jim Proulx took the win on his Buell XB12R. His winning margin of just over seven seconds on the Kawasaki 650R of Mississauga, Ont.'s Laurent Feuiltault earned Proulx the Tirox Winning Big Award for having the largest margin of victory in any of the national classes.

Montreal's Martin Grande edged Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont. for the win in the Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike race. The Suzuki GSX-R600 rider finished just 0.088 secs. ahead of Christie's Yamaha YZF-R6 in the six- lap event.

Christie came back from a nasty fall in the first part of the race, which was later restarted, earning him the Performance Under Gear Performer of the Race Award.

Patrick Marques of Calgary finished third riding a Suzuki GSX-R600.

John Jarvie of Burlington, Ont. won the Suzuki SV650 National Cup season opener. Jarvie led all 10 laps and finished 4.657 secs. ahead of Laval, Que.'s Simon Blue. Rob Busby of Brantford, Ont. was third, just ahead of Cocharne, Alta.'s Cody Matechuk.

In Sunday's opening race Raphael Archambault of St-Colonban, Que. won the inaugural race for the Honda CBR125R Challenge, edging Parry Sound, Ont.'s Aubrey Bailey to the line by just 0.120 secs. Jordan Cardozo of Newmarket, Ont. was third and Jeremie Hade Precourt from Granby, Que. placed fourth. The top four were all covered by less than a second.

The MBP/Brembo Performance Awards went to Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing in the Parts Canada Superbike class, NCR Ducati in the Canadian Thunder division and Ruthless Racing in Canadian Sport Twins.

The weekend's races were sponsored by Waste Management of Canada and the Ottawa Citizen.

This weekend's event will be shown on TSN and TSN-HD on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. and again on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 4:00-5:00 a.m. All times are Eastern.

-credit: www.cdnsuperbike.com

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Series CSBK
Drivers Andrew Nelson , Michael Barnes , Chris Peris , Clint McBain , Kevin Lacombe , Francis Martin , Steve Crevier , Brett McCormick