SZOKE GOES FOR MORE CALGARY MAGIC CALGARY, Alta. (June 25) -- He may be from Brantford, Ont. but two-time defending Parts Canada Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke often jokes that Calgary also feels a lot like home. That's not much of a...
SZOKE GOES FOR MORE CALGARY MAGIC
CALGARY, Alta. (June 25) -- He may be from Brantford, Ont. but two-time defending Parts Canada Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke often jokes that Calgary also feels a lot like home.
That's not much of a surprise, really.
Calgary has been very good to Szoke in his professional racing career. He scored his first national Superbike win at Race City Motorsports Park in 1998 on his way to the first of four Canadian titles.
He has earned seven more Race City Superbike victories since then, making him the winningest rider at the track since it hosted its first national in 1987. In fact, no one else has more than four Calgary Superbike wins to their credit.
The 29-year-old Szoke will go for his ninth Race City Superbike triumph at this weekend's second round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship.
Szoke is off to a good start in his bid for a third straight Superbike title. Riding the latest Canadian Kawasaki Motors Kawasaki ZX-10R he won the 2008 season opener at Calabogie Motorsport Park to take an early lead in the seven-round series.
This year's title battle promises to be one of the toughest yet, however, and there are plenty of challengers aiming to derail Szoke's championship bid, including a pair of local racers.
Calgary's Chris Peris was one of Szoke's sternest challengers at Calabogie on the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000, but a crash took him out of a battle for third place late in the race. The 21-year-old has run well at his home track in the past.
Clint McBain, 35, of Cochrane, Alta. is the last man besides Szoke to win at Race City, sweeping both ends of the 2005 doubleheader. The Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider is coming off a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the 2008 season opener, but he expects to be close to full fitness this weekend.
Another fierce challenge will come from Granby, Que.'s Kevin Lacombe on the Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing Yamaha YZF-R1. The 25-year- old finished second at Calabogie after starting from pole position.
Peris's Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing teammates Matt McBride and Francis Martin also figure to be in the mix. McBride, a 23-year- old from Mississauga, Ont., also ran at the front before crashing out at Calabogie. The 34-year-old Martin, from Sherbrooke, Que. is a two-time national Superbike champion.
Szoke also faces a threat from within his own team in the form of 16- year-old Brett McCormick. The Saskatoon racer, who was last year's HJC Pro Rookie of the Year, scored his first career Pro podium at Race City last summer. A couple of wildcards in the deck are Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, B.C. and Calgary's Jeremy Stepper. The 42-year-old Crevier, a six-time Superbike champion, finished a remarkable third at Calabogie in the debut of the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada / Ruthless Racing Buell 1125R. However, Calgary's long straights will likely put the twin-cylinder machine at a disadvantage against its more powerful opposition.
Stepper, just 20 years old, is brimming with confidence after placing fifth at Calabogie on his Stepper Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000.
This weekend's action will also feature rounds of the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike, Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike, Canadian Thunder, Canadian Sport Twins and Suzuki SV650 National Cup support divisions.
Szoke is also the two-time defending champion in the Pro 600 Sport Bike class and won the season opener at Calabogie, just edging McCormick at the line after Peris had led the first half of the race.
The NCR Ducati team is coming off a dominant one-two finish at Calabogie thanks to race winner Valter Bartolini of Italy and Kars, Ont.'s Andrew Nelson. They will face a stiff challenge, however, from the factory teams of two-time class champions Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, last year's winners BMW Motorrad Canada, and KTM Canada, a new entry for 2008.
Ottawa's Jim Proulx rode his Buell XB12R to the win in the opener for the Canadian Sport Twins class and enjoys the early series lead.
Martin Grande of Montreal won the first round of the Amateur 600 Sport Bike Championship and Burlington, Ont.'s John Jarvie triumphed in Suzuki SV650 Cup at Calabogie.
Action at Race City begins Friday with practice for all the national classes. Qualifying is set for Saturday, including the Pirelli SuperPole for the Inside Motorcycles Fastest Qualifier Award. Races are slated for Sunday afternoon.
Race City Motorsports Park Fast Facts
-- Race City is one of the most storied venues on the Canadian Superbike national tour. It hosted its first national in 1987 and last year celebrated its 25th Canadian Superbike feature race. Only Shannonville Motorsport Park in Shannonville, ON has a longer run on the Canadian tour.
-- Jordan Szoke's win in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship season opener at Calabogie Motorsport Park was his 24th career national Superbike victory, leaving him just two wins behind Crevier for first place on the all- time list.
--In six of the past 10 years a rider has used victory in a Superbike event at Race City as a stepping stone to that year's national title. In each of his four championship seasons (1998, 2002, 2006 and 2007) Szoke has won in Calgary on his way to the championship.
All Time Race City Superbike Wins
Jordan Szoke (Brantford, Ont.) 8; Pascal Picotte (Granby, Que.) 4; Michael Taylor (Toronto, Ont.) 3; Steve Crevier (Maple Ridge, B.C.) 2; Clint McBain (Calgary, Alta.) 2; Gary Goodfellow (Vancouver, B.C.) 1; Rueben McMurter (London, Ont.) 1; Michel Mercier (Thetford Mines, Que.) 1; Don Munroe (Halifax, N.S.) 1; Francis Martin (Sherbrooke, Que.) 1; Jeff Williams (Harrowsmith, Ont.) 1; Owen Weichel (Toronto, Ont.) 1
2008 Point Standings
Parts Canada Superbike: 1. Jordan Szoke (Kawasaki) 53; 2. Kevin Lacombe (Yamaha) 46; 3. Steve Crevier (Buell) 37; 4. Francis Martin (Suzuki) 32; 5. Jeremy Stepper (Suzuki) 29 Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike: 1. Jordan Szoke (Kawasaki) 54; 2. Brett McCormick (Kawasaki) 44; 3. Matt McBride (Suzuki) 37 Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike: 1. Martin Grande (Suzuki) 52; 2. Jodi Christie (Yamaha) 46; 3. Patrick Marques (Suzuki) 40 Canadian Thunder: 1. Walter Bartolini (NCR-Ducati) 56; 2. Andrew Nelson (NCR- Ducati) 45; 3. Dave Estok (Buell) 39 Canadian Sport Twins: 1. Jim Proulx (Buell) 56; 2. Laurent Feuiltault (Kawasaki) 45; 3. Olivier Spilborghs (Buell) 37 Suzuki SV650 National Cup: 1. John Jarvie 54; 2. Simon Blue 45; 3. Rob Busby 41
Provisional Weekend Schedule
Saturday June 28
1:00 p.m.-1:25 p.m. -- Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike Qualifying
1:35 p.m.-2:00 p.m. -- Canadian Thunder & Canadian Sport Twins Qualifying
2:10 p.m.-2:20 p.m. -- Parts Canada Superbike Pirelli SUPERPOLE Top 10 Warm-Up
2:25 p.m. -- Parts Canada Superbike Pirelli SUIPERPOLE Qualifying for the Inside Motorcycles Fastest Qualifier Award
3:00 p.m.-3:25 p.m. -- Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike Qualifying
3:35 p.m.-4:00 p.m. -- Suzuki SV650 National Cup Qualifying
Sunday June 29
1:00 p.m. -- Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike Race -- 18 laps
Canadian Thunder & Canadian Sport Twins Race -- 16 laps
Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike Race -- 14 laps
3:00 p.m. -- Parts Canada Superbike Championship Race -- 22 laps
Suzuki SV650 National Cup Race -- 14 laps
Tickets: Call the track at (403) 272-7223 or go to the website at www.racecity.com