SZOKE NEARS FIFTH TITLE AT AMP HALIFAX, N.S. (August 6) -- There will be plenty on the line for Jordan Szoke when the Parts Canada Superbike Championship makes its penultimate stop of the 2008 season at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie,...
SZOKE NEARS FIFTH TITLE AT AMP
HALIFAX, N.S. (August 6) -- There will be plenty on the line for Jordan Szoke when the Parts Canada Superbike Championship makes its penultimate stop of the 2008 season at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, N.S. this weekend.
The 29-year-old from Brantford, Ont. is closing in on a possible third straight national Superbike title, and fifth in his career. He comes into this weekend's doubleheader round 38 points clear of Kevin Lacombe in the standings with three races remaining. A win is worth 50 points.
Szoke would be the first rider since Steve Crevier in the early 1990s to win three straight championships, and a fifth title would move Szoke to within one of Crevier's record total of six.
The Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider also has more immediate goals available to him. A Superbike win at AMP would tie him with Crevier for top spot in all-time victories with 26, and a sweep of the doubleheader would put Szoke alone at the top.
But it will not be clear sailing for Szoke this weekend, as he battles one of the deepest fields in the history of the Canadian national championship.
His closest rival in the point standings, Lacombe has been the most successful racer at AMP over the last few years, with victories in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The 25-year-old from Granby, Que. hasn't won yet this season on the Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 but he has two pole positions to his credit.
Third in the standings and the only racer besides Szoke to win this year is Cochrane, Alta.'s Clint McBain. The rider of the Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 is only eight points behind Lacombe despite missing the opening round of the series with a separated shoulder.
Also worth watching at AMP will be the trio of Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing entries of Francis Martin, Chris Peris and Matt McBride.
Martin, a two-time Canadian champion, stood on the podium at the most recent event at Mosport International Raceway and the 34-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que. has grown to enjoy the tight and twisty, 2.56km (1.6-mile) AMP circuit.
Peris, a 21-year-old from Calgary, comes to Nova Scotia fifth in the Parts Canada Superbike point standings while Mississauga, Ont.'s McBride, 23, qualified on the front row for the most recent event at Mosport.
Szoke's Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory teammate Brett McCormick will be looking to get back on track after missing the previous round due to injury. The 16-year-old from Saskatoon is the defending HJC Pro Rookie of the Year.
A real wildcard this weekend will be Maple Ridge, B.C.'s Crevier on the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada / Ruthless Racing Buell 1125R. The 42-year-old finished third in the season opener and the AMP track will suit the twin-cylinder bike.
Additionally, Crevier is a seven-time Superbike winner at AMP, which includes victory in last year's race.
This weekend's action also includes doubleheaders for the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike, Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike, Canadian Thunder, Canadian Sport Twins, Suzuki SV650 National Cup and Honda CBR125R Challenge national classes.
Szoke leads Lacombe in the Pro 600 Sport Bike class, 194-166, thanks to wins in the opening two races of the year. Lacombe and Peris split the victories at the most recent series stop at Mosport, and the Calgary rider is now third in points with 141.
Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont. will attempt to build on his lead in the Amateur 600 Sport Bike class after he won his second straight race at Mosport last month on his Yamaha YZF-R6.
NCR-Ducati teammates Valter Bartolini of Bologna, Italy and Kars, Ont.'s Andrew Nelson are separated by just two points in the Canadian Thunder title battle, while Ottawa's Jim Proulx has won three of four races in Sport Twins on his Buell.
John Jarvie of Burlington, Ont. and Cochrane, Alta.'s Cody Matechuk will continue their battle for the Suzuki SV650 National Cup at AMP and Quebec City's Raphael Archambault aims to maintain his perfect record in the Honda CBR125R Challenge.
Qualifying for all national classes, including the Pirelli SuperPole session for Superbike, will be held Friday with races set for Saturday and Sunday.