SZOKE GOES FOR THREE
TORONTO, ON -- He may be from Brantford, ON, but Calgary could be considered a second home for Parts Canada Superbike Championship points leader Jordan Szoke.
The Canadian Kawasaki factory rider comes to this weekend's third round of the national road race series at Race City Motorsport Park aiming to add to his already impressive numbers at the 3.2km (2.0-mile) circuit.
Szoke's five career national Superbike victories at Race City are more than any other rider, and that number includes two doubleheader sweeps (2000 and 2002). Not surprisingly, perhaps, the two-time Canadian Superbike champion claimed his first career national Superbike win in Calgary in 1998.
Szoke's bid for another Race City win won't come without a fight, however. Leading the charge will be local hero Clint McBain, who won both ends of last year's doubleheader. The Team Suzuki / Blackfoot Suzuki rider has suffered a rough start to his 2006 campaign with a pair of falls in the first two rounds, but will be looking to regain ground on home turf.
His teammate Francis Martin of Rock Forest, QC, the defending Parts Canada Superbike champion, should also be in the thick of the action. Martin won in Calgary in 1999 on the way to his first of two national titles and is second in points this year.
Close behind Martin in the standings is Granby, QC's Kevin Lacombe. Riding for the Picotte Performance / Yamaha Canada / Toyota Yamaha team Lacombe has finished on the podium at the first two rounds of the season.
His teammate Picotte is battling back from injury, but has won four times in Calgary, including a sweep of a doubleheader two years ago.
Szoke's Canadian Kawasaki teammate Tom Kipp is fourth in the series standings after two events, and the Chardon, OH native qualified on pole for the season opener.
Szoke will also be aiming to keep a perfect record intact in the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike Championship standings. He has won the first two races in the national support class as well and has never taken the Canadian title in that series.
McBain sits second in points after a pair of runner-up finishes in the first two races. The Calgarian won the title in 2002. Lacombe and Kipp have traded third place finishes so far this season.
Ross Millson of Hamilton, ON comes to Calgary leading the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike standings on his Suzuki. Honda rider Karl Daigle of Roxton Pond, QC and Saskatoon Yamaha racer Brett McCormick have split the wins in the first two rounds.
Three-time Calgary national Superbike winner Michael Taylor has come out of retirement to race a BMW in the Thunder twins class, which makes its Race City debut. The Toronto ace will try to stop the Buell juggernaut and defending Thunder champion Darren James of North Vancouver.
Another Brantford rider, Rob Busby, is riding a two-race winning streak in the Suzuki SV650 National Cup and has a comfortable lead in the standings entering round 3 this weekend.
Official practice for the Parts Canada Superbike Championship will be held Friday, with qualifying for the national classes on Saturday afternoon. Feature races will go Sunday.