Calabogie: Round one preview

SZOKE EYES THIRD STRAIGHT CALABOGIE, Ont. -- Jordan Szoke begins his quest for a third consecutive Parts Canada Superbike Championship this weekend as the 2008 season kicks off at Calabogie Motorsports Park. This will be the first national...

SZOKE EYES THIRD STRAIGHT

CALABOGIE, Ont. -- Jordan Szoke begins his quest for a third consecutive Parts Canada Superbike Championship this weekend as the 2008 season kicks off at Calabogie Motorsports Park.

This will be the first national event held at the scenic venue, situated about an hour's drive west of Ottawa near the resort town of Calabogie. The series will use the 2.81km (1.74-mile) Stadium Track.

"Calabogie Motorsports Park is one of the most impressive race tracks to open in North America in a long time," said Colin Fraser of Professional Motorsports Productions, which operates the Parts Canada Superbike Championship. "Its location, picturesque setting and daunting layout should make it a very popular stop for our series for many years to come."

Waste Management of Canada and the Ottawa Citizen are sponsors of the weekend's event.

Riding a Kawasaki ZX-10R for the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team, Szoke is trying to become only the second rider in the 29-year history of the series to win three straight titles. Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, B.C., who has six Superbike championships to his credit, did it from 1991-93.

Szoke, from Brantford, Ont., also won the Canadian crown in 1998 and 2002.

There is a tough field of competitors looking to stop Szoke in his tracks, however. Chief among them is Kevin Lacombe, who will make his debut this weekend on the Team Toyota Yamaha / Fast Company Racing Yamaha YZF-R1. Lacombe was second to Szoke in the 2006 Parts Canada Superbike Championship and placed fourth in the standings last year.

The trio of Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing riders should be a threat as well on their Suzuki GSX-R1000s. Chris Peris of Calgary has been very strong in preseason testing while Rock Forest, Que.'s Francis Martin is a two-time Canadian Superbike champion. Mississauga, Ont. racer Matt McBride is considered one of the series' top up and coming competitors.

Szoke will also face a threat from within his own Canadian Kawasaki Motors team in the shape of last year's HJC Pro Rookie of the Year Award winner Brett McCormick of Saskatoon.

Crevier is also a potential challenger as he makes his debut with the Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada / Ruthless Racing Buell 1125R. Crevier finished second in last year's Superbike standings.

A questionable starter for the weekend is Cochrane, Alta.'s Clint McBain. The Acceleration Racing Suzuki rider, third in points last season, was injured in a fall last weekend.

Szoke is also going for a third straight title in the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike this season. Among his challengers will be Lacombe, Peris, McBride and Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. on the Nelson Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.

Calabogie also sees the debut of the new look Canadian Thunder and Canadian Sport Twins classes for twin-cylinder motorcycles. Factory teams from defending Thunder champions BMW, Buell, Ducati and KTM will battle for supremacy in the Thunder division.

This weekend will also feature the opening rounds of the Armour Bodies Amateur 600 Sport Bike class, the Suzuki SV650 National Cup and the newly-created Honda CBR125R Challenge.

Racers will get their first official taste of Calabogie Motorsports Park in testing Thursday. Practice for all national classes opens Friday with qualifying, including the Pirelli SUPERPOLE in the Parts Canada Superbike class, set for Saturday afternoon. Races are scheduled to go Sunday.

-credit: www.cdnsuperbike.com

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Series CSBK
Drivers Jordan Szoke , Andrew Nelson , Chris Peris , Kevin Lacombe , Steve Crevier , Brett McCormick