SZOKE AIMS TO CLINCH TORONTO, ON -- Jordan Szoke comes into this weekend's penultimate round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at Atlantic Motorsport Park aiming to accomplish what only two riders have managed in the past...
SZOKE AIMS TO CLINCH
TORONTO, ON -- Jordan Szoke comes into this weekend's penultimate round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at Atlantic Motorsport Park aiming to accomplish what only two riders have managed in the past quarter-century -- win his third Canadian Superbike title.
The Brantford, ON rider comes into the event with a 67-point lead over his nearest rival in the championship, Kevin Lacombe, with 267 points to Lacombe's 200. With a maximum of 56 points available at each Parts Canada Superbike round, Lacombe would have to claw back at least 12 points from Szoke's lead to have a shot at snatching the title at Shannonville Motorsport Park Sept. 3.
Only six-time Canadian champion Steve Crevier and Michel Mercier, a three-time national titlist, have ever claimed more than a pair of Canadian Superbike titles. The 27-year-old Szoke won his first championship in 1998 and repeated in 2002, when he also clinched at Atlantic Motorsport Park.
Of course, Lacombe and his fellow challengers would likely be happy just to beat Szoke in Sunday's 22-lap race. The points leader is unbeaten through the first five rounds of the series on his Canadian Kawasaki Motors Kawasaki ZX-10R, and is trying to become the first rider in Canadian championship history to win more than five races in a single season.
If anyone is likely to throw a wrench in Szoke's celebration plans it is Lacombe. The Granby, QC rider has won twice on the challenging 1.46- mile, 11-turn AMP circuit, including last year. Lacombe has finished on the podium in every race so far this season on his Yamaha / Toyota / Picotte Performance Yamaha YZF-R1.
Lacombe's teammate Pascal Picotte is also a threat as he continues his recovery from preseason injuries. The St-Cecile Milton, QC veteran enjoyed his strongest outing of the year in the most recent tour stop at Mosport International Raceway, and won at AMP on his way to the national title in 2003.
Picotte is in a battle for third in points with Szoke's Kawasaki teammate Tom Kipp, of Chardon, OH, who has qualified on the pole twice this year, including at Mosport.
Also not to be underestimated are the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot Suzuki GSX-R1000s of Calgary's Clint McBain and Francis Martin of Rock Forest, QC. McBain gave Szoke all he could handle at Race City Motorsport Park earlier this year, while Martin, the defending Parts Canada Superbike champion, was a close second to Szoke at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in June.
Szoke will also be trying to lock up the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike title at AMP this weekend. He has failed to win only once in five events so far this year, and comes into this event 36 points clear of Lacombe, who won at Race City, with Kipp in third in the standings.
This weekend's action also sees the fifth round of the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike Championship. Roxton Pond, QC Honda rider Karl Daigle enjoys a narrow nine-point lead over Hamilton's Ross Millson on a Suzuki.
Defending champion and current point leader Darren James will try to hold back the charge of Mosport double winner Oliver Jervis in the Thunder class for twin-cylinder motorcycles, and Dave Bagshaw comes to AMP with a slender four-point lead over Paul Glenn in Suzuki SV650 National Cup.
Practice for all five national classes opens Friday with qualifying set for Saturday afternoon. Races are set to go Sunday.