SZOKE HOPES HISTORY REPEATS
TORONTO, ON Jordan Szoke and the Canadian Kawasaki factory team head into this weekend's second round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant hoping history will be on their side.
Szoke was the winner the last time the national tour visited the daunting 4.27km, 15-turn circuit while riding for Honda in 2004. The previous year, on the Canadian series' first visit to Le Circuit Tom Kipp rode his Kawasaki ZX-7RR to victory.
Those respective wins were the last for Szoke and Kawasaki until two weeks ago at the 2006 Parts Canada Superbike series opener at Shannonville Motorsport Park, where Szoke rode his new Kawasaki ZX-10R to an impressive victory to take the early lead in the standings.
Szoke is aiming to become just the third rider to win three Canadian Superbike titles since the inception of the national championship in 1980. The select group includes Steve Crevier, who has won six championships, and Michel Mercier. Szoke was previously the Canadian champion in 1998 for Kawasaki and 2002 with Suzuki.
The Brantford, ON racer will face many challengers in his bid for a second straight win at Mont-Tremblant. Chief among them could be his own teammate, Kipp, who qualified on pole for the season opener at Shannonville and finished fifth in the race.
Another threat will be the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot squad of Francis Martin and Clint McBain. Martin, from Rock Forest, QC, is the defending Parts Canada Superbike champion and placed third at Shannonville. Calgary's McBain is coming off a nasty fall at the season opener, but should be ready for action this weekend and won two races last year.
Another rider nursing injuries is Picotte Performance / Yamaha Canada / Toyota Yamaha's Pascal Picotte. The two-time champion from St-Cecil Milton, QC finished fourth in round 1 despite racing with broken vertebrae, a broken toe and banged up knees sustained in a crash in the U.S. in April.
His teammate Kevin Lacombe of Granby, QC finished second at Shannonville and was also a race winner last season.
Darkhorses this weekend include Armour Bodies Honda's Erick Beausejour of Val Senneville, QC, Riders Choice Suzuki's Matt McBride of Mississauga, ON, Z1 Yamaha's Andrew Nelson of Kars, ON and Kahuna Kawasaki's Frank Trombino of Kleinburg, ON.
Szoke will also be looking to stretch his lead in the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike support class. He won the season opener at Shannonville comfortably over McBain and Lacombe.
This weekend's action also features the second rounds of the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike, Canadian Thunder and Suzuki SV650 National Cup divisions. Karl Daigle of Roxton Pond, QC rode his Honda to victory in the Amateur 600 opener two weeks ago, while defending champion Darren James of North Vancouver triumphed in Thunder on a Buell and Brantford, ON's Rob Busby took the SV Cup win.