Shannonville season opener preview

SHANNONVILLE, ON - A new era of Canadian Superbike racing dawns this weekend as the 2003 Parts Canada Superbike Championship opens at Shannonville Motorsport Park. This will be the first race for the national Superbike tour under performance ...

SHANNONVILLE, ON - A new era of Canadian Superbike racing dawns this weekend as the 2003 Parts Canada Superbike Championship opens at Shannonville Motorsport Park.

This will be the first race for the national Superbike tour under performance restrictions designed to level the playing field for competitors in Canada's premier motorcycle road racing class.

As a result of the new regulations, the battle for the 2003 crown is as wide open as it has ever been, with as many as 10 riders having a legitimate shot at the win in Sunday afternoon's season opener on the 1.53-mile Shannonville 'Pro' track.

Adding to the unpredictable nature of this year's title chase is the absence of 2002 Parts Canada Superbike Champion Jordan Szoke. The Brantford, ON rider is competing in the United States this summer and will not try to retain his Canadian crown.

Leading the field of challengers is 2000 and 2001 champion Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, BC, who will be bidding for a record seventh Canadian Superbike crown. Crevier will be riding for the Diablo Suzuki team after spending the last three years with Honda.

Crevier will face some tough competition within the Suzuki ranks, however. Harrowsmith, ON's Jeff Williams returns to the Diablo squad in 2003 while 1999 Superbike champion Francis Martin of Sherbrooke, QC joins Calgary's Clint McBain on the Coors Light Racing/Blackfoot Suzuki team.

After winning two straight Superbike titles with Crevier, Honda will attempt to regain the crown with its three-rider Orion Motorsports squad. Kevin Lacombe of Granby, QC will aim to carry the momentum that saw him win the final round of last year's series. He is joined in the Orion pit by two-time Canadian Superbike champion Michael Taylor of Toronto and Australian newcomer Rob Baird.

Former HJC Pro Rookie of the Year Andrew Nelson of Nepean, ON will also be Honda-mounted, riding for the Z1 Cycletech team.

A pair of returning riders leads Yamaha's efforts in the national series. Granby, QC's Pascal Picotte returns to Canadian competition this year after a successful 12-year stint in the U.S. Picotte will run his own team for the first time in his career.

Frank Trombino of Kleinburg, ON, a race winner last year, is back with the Brooklin Cycle Yamaha team after a year with Honda.

Kawasaki's program is led by Toronto native Owen Weichel, who is coming off a preseason injury suffered in California earlier this month.

This weekend's action includes the opening round of the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike Championship. McBain will attempt to defend his title in that class.

Shannonville will also see the debut of the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike Championship, a new series designed to help Canada's up-and-coming racers gain exposure and experience at the national level.

Official practice for the first round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship opens Friday with qualifying for all three national classes Saturday and races on Sunday.

This weekend's event will be televised on TSN on Sunday, June 15 at 11:00 am EDT and later this year on Quebec's RDS and across Canada on the Outdoor Life Network.

-csb-

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Series CSBK
Drivers Jordan Szoke , Pascal Picotte , Andrew Nelson , Clint McBain , Jeff Williams , Kevin Lacombe , Francis Martin , Frank Trombino
Teams Williams