SZOKE LEADS SEE-SAW BATTLE TO AMP SHUBENACADIE, N.S. (August 6) -- The back and forth battle for the 2009 Parts Canada Superbike Championship reaches its penultimate round at Atlantic Motorsport Park this weekend with Brantford, Ont.'s Jordan ...
SZOKE LEADS SEE-SAW BATTLE TO AMP
SHUBENACADIE, N.S. (August 6) -- The back and forth battle for the 2009 Parts Canada Superbike Championship reaches its penultimate round at Atlantic Motorsport Park this weekend with Brantford, Ont.'s Jordan Szoke back in the driver's seat.
With wins in the two most recent rounds of the series at Mosport International Raceway last month the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider regained the points lead over his season-long rival Brett McCormick of Saskatoon.
Szoke now has a 25-point edge over McCormick, 251-226 heading to this weekend's race. A victory is worth 50 points and there's a two-point bonus for leading the most laps, as well as four points for qualifying on pole.
Szoke also won the season opener of the 2009 season at Calabogie Motorsports Park on his Kawasaki ZX-10R and the 30-year-old is now the all- time leader in career Superbike wins with 29. He is trying for a record- setting fourth straight Parts Canada Superbike title and a record-tying sixth national crown.
But the 17-year-old McCormick is not making things easy for the veteran. In his first year with the Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing squad McCormick has two wins to his credit on the Suzuki GSX-R1000. He dominated round two of the series at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que. and won two weeks later at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park with an audacious pass of Szoke on the final lap.
While the destiny of the Parts Canada Superbike title appears set to be decided between Szoke and McCormick, several other racers have shown they are capable of mixing it up at the front.
Clint McBain of Cochrane, Alta. battled for the win at both Mosport races on his Suzuki Dealers / Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 and sits third in the standings with 167 points. The 36-year-old McBain was runner-up to Szoke in last year's Parts Canada Superbike Championship and scored a race win at AMP.
Granby, Que.'s Kevin Lacombe has been the most successful racer at AMP over the last few years, with three wins to his credit since 2004. The rider of the Team Toyota Yamaha / OTSFF Yamaha YZF-R1 is only seventh in Superbike points with 118, but enjoyed his strongest race of the year at Mosport, where he challenged for the win.
Fourth in points with 145 is Uxbridge, Ont.'s Alex Welsh, Szoke's team-mate on the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team. Last year's winner of the HJC Pro Rookie of the Year award, the 21-year-old Welsh has shown steady improvement on his Kawasaki ZX-10R this year and achieved his first ever podium finish in the feature class with a third at Mosport.
Just three points behind Welsh is Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. The 24- year-old rider of the Nelson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 also earned his first career Superbike podium at Circuit ICAR but is coming off a big practice crash at Mosport.
Also expected to be in the hunt this weekend is six-time Superbike champion Steve Crevier. The Maple Ridge, B.C. rider is sixth in points with the Deeley Racing Powered By Buell / Buell 1125R and has won more Superbike races at AMP than anyone else with seven triumphs.
The battle for the 2009 HJC Pro Rookie of the Year award also tightened up after Mosport. Coaldale, Alta.'s Royce McLean is the leader and sits eighth in Superbike points. The 14-year-old rides for the Team Toyota Yamaha / OTSFF squad.
His closest challenger is 17-year-old Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont. on the Honda Powerhouse Dealers of Ontario / Roz-Gar Racing Honda CBR600RR. Christie is 11th in the Superbike standings and coming off a strong weekend at Mosport.
A wildcard this weekend will be Truro, N.S.'s Brian Blaauwendraat on the Pro Cycle / Atlantic Honda Dealers Honda CBR600RR. The 24-year-old is the top Maritime racer at the moment and was the sensation of national action at AMP last year.
Szoke and McCormick are also locked in battle for the Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike title coming to AMP, where Szoke leads by 27 points, 255-228. Riding Kawasaki's newest version of the ZX-6R, Szoke has led the standings since round three and has three race wins to McCormick's two. Szoke is trying for a fourth straight Pro Sport Bike title.
Szoke's team-mate Welsh moved into third in points with 178 thanks to a pair of podium finishes at Mosport. Next up is Lacombe with 165. He equaled his best finish of the year at Mosport with a third aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6.
Crevier could well be a threat at AMP after battling for the win at Mosport on his Buell 1125R. He sits fifth in the standings, while team-mates Dave Estok of New Smyrna Beach, Fla. and North Vancouver's Darren James lie ninth and 11th, respectively.
Nelson is sixth in points with his Yamaha and won at AMP last year, while rookie contenders McLean (Yamaha) and Christie (Honda) are seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Pro Sport Bike class also features the BMW Motorrad Canada factory program, with Francis Martin of Sherbrooke, Que. 12th in points and Mississauga, Ont.'s Michael Ferreira 15th racing the ever-improving HP2s.
Blaauwendraat will also figure in this class on his Honda.
Action at AMP will also feature the Armour Bodies Amateur Sport Bike, Suzuki SV650 National Cup and Honda CBR125R Challenge divisions.
Cochrane, Alta.'s Cody Matechuk leads the Amateur Sport Bike standings on his Suzuki Dealers / Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 by 31 points over the A. Perusse Kawasaki / Kawasaki ZX-6R of Longueuil, Que.'s Sebastien Tremblay.
Matechuk has won three out of the four races so far this season with Tremblay taking victory on home turf at Circuit ICAR.
In Suzuki SV650 Cup, Raphael Archambault of St-Colomban, Que. won both races at Mosport and now leads Brantford, Ont.'s Rob Busby by 33 points.
Steven Nickerson of Hamilton, Ont. enjoys a 39-point lead over Warman, Sask.'s Bodhi Edie in the Honda CBR125R Challenge.
Practice for this weekend's event begins on Friday with qualifying, including the Pirelli SuperPole for the Inside Motorcycles Pole Position Award in the Parts Canada Superbike class set for Saturday. Races in all national classes will go Sunday.
Advance Weekend Passes are $40, which include a paddock pass. Weekend passes at the gate are $50. Daily passes are $25 and camping is available for $20. Go to www.atlanticroadracing.com for more info.
Atlantic Motorsport Park Fast Facts
--Last season Jordan Szoke won a Superbike feature at Atlantic Motorsport Park and went on to claim the national title. The last time an AMP winner was also Canadian champion was in 2003, when Pascal Picotte managed the feat.
--Current Superbike stars Steve Crevier and Kevin Lacombe are the only racers to win Superbike nationals at AMP in three consecutive years. Crevier did it from 1991-93 and Lacombe from 2004-06.
For more series information, visit www.cdnsuperbike.com