SZOKE RELISHES MOSPORT RETURN TORONTO, Ont. (July 14) -- Parts Canada Superbike Championship leader Jordan Szoke considers Mosport International Raceway one of his favorite race track, and the feeling appears to be mutual. The Brantford, Ont.
SZOKE RELISHES MOSPORT RETURN
TORONTO, Ont. (July 14) -- Parts Canada Superbike Championship leader Jordan Szoke considers Mosport International Raceway one of his favorite race track, and the feeling appears to be mutual.
The Brantford, Ont. racer has won four Superbike nationals on the fast and flowing 3.9km (2.459-mile) circuit located near Bowmanville, Ont., and he will attempt to continue the love affair when the national road racing series resumes with its traditional doubleheader this weekend.
"I consider Mosport, and Mont-Tremblant [in Quebec] to be real race tracks," says the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider. "To me, the best riders always seem to come through on those types of tracks.
"I enjoy the layout, and also the atmosphere. There are always a lot of fans there and it feels like my home race to me. And it's one of the most famous race tracks in the world."
The 29-year-old Szoke comes into the third and fourth rounds of the seven-race series with a 14-point lead over Kevin Lacombe of Granby, Que. thanks to a win in the season opener at Calabogie Motorsport Park and a runner-up finish at Calgary's Race City Motorsports Park.
So while Szoke would obviously like to add to his Mosport win total -- a sweep this weekend would make him the winningest Superbike racer at the track -- he is also aware of the title picture. Only one other racer, Steve Crevier has claimed three straight Canadian championships, and Szoke is also going for a fifth crown overall, which would bring him to within one of Crevier's all-time mark of six.
"I want to win and I always try to win races," says Szoke, who could also tie Crevier for the most career Superbike wins, 26, with a sweep this weekend. "But the most important thing is to stay ahead of Kevin. Like at Calgary, if things aren't perfect I'll have to take what I can get."
Indeed, in the second round of the series Szoke struggled with the set-up of his Kawasaki ZX-10R and had to give best to Clint McBain on the Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. Settling for second best on a given day can be hard for a racer to accept, but it's a lesson Szoke has learned in almost a dozen years of professional competition.
"As you get older you find your limits and you stay at them a little bit easier," he explains. "When you're younger you don't always know where those limits are and that can sometimes get you into trouble."
Mosport's doubleheader schedule puts an added strain on racers and teams. With feature races on Saturday and Sunday this weekend's event could have a huge impact on the outcome of the Parts Canada Superbike title chase.
"It's a long weekend, especially when you are riding two classes," points out Szoke, who will also be defending his lead in the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike national support division. "You just try to approach the weekend one race at a time. And the big thing with Mosport is you never know what kind of weather you're going to get. That's what makes it very stressful."
Szoke is the two-time defending Pro 600 Sport Bike class champion and has won the first two rounds of the 2008 season. He holds a 31-point lead over his Kawasaki teammate Brett McCormick of Saskatoon.
"I feel I'm steady. I'm super-comfortable on the 600," he says. "I always say I'm not much of a 600 rider, but I seem to be getting that way."
Szoke has a busy schedule leading up to this weekend's races. On Tuesday he will take part in the Walter Gretzky CNIB Celebrity Golf Classic at the Brantford Golf & Country Club.
"It's a cool event," he says. "I've been doing it for three or four years now and they get a lot of great celebrities out. It's quite an event."
Szoke is scheduled to receive an Award of Merit at Tuesday's function.
The following day Szoke will be in Toronto for an official series media event, then activity begins at the track on Thursday with testing in preparation for the weekend's intense racing schedule.
Official qualifying will be held on Friday, which will establish the starting grids for the weekend's two 20-lap Superbike races, which are slated to run Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Rounds 3&4 of the 2008 Parts Canada Superbike Championship will be held at Mosport International Raceway July 18-20.
The Track: Mosport is a 3.9km (2.459-mile), 10-turn road course. This weekend's races will be the 22nd and 23rd Canadian Superbike events at the track.
Weekend Schedule: Practice and qualifying will be held Friday, July 18, with feature races on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Tickets: Call the track at 1-800-866-1072 or go to the website at www.mosport.com