Race City: Series round three preview

NEW POINTS LEADER BRINGS SERIES WEST CALGARY, Alta. (June 24) -- The Parts Canada Superbike Championship has a new look as it comes west for its third round at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park this weekend. For the first time in a little...


CALGARY, Alta. (June 24) -- The Parts Canada Superbike Championship has a new look as it comes west for its third round at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park this weekend.

For the first time in a little over three years someone other than Jordan Szoke is at the top of the point standings.

With his victory in the most recent event at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Que. June 14 Saskatoon's Brett McCormick took over the points lead after two rounds of the seven-race series.

After narrowly being beaten by Szoke in the season opener at Calabogie Motorsports Park in May the 17-year-old was dominant in Quebec, topping every practice and qualifying session and leading all but one lap of the race on his Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. He comes to Calgary leading Szoke by six points in the Parts Canada Superbike standings, 104-98.

So Szoke finds himself in unfamiliar territory as he tries to turn the tables on his former teammate at Race City. But the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider has plenty of reason for optimism. No one has scored more victories than Szoke's eight at the 3.2km (2.0-mile) circuit and Calgary was the scene of the Brantford, Ont. rider's first career Superbike win in 1998.

The 30-year-old Szoke is trying to win his fourth straight Parts Canada Superbike title and a record tying sixth national crown aboard his Kawasaki ZX-10R this season.

McCormick and Szoke have already pulled well clear of the rest of the Superbike field but there are plenty of potential challengers for victory at Race City.

Chief among them is defending race winner and local hero Clint McBain of Cochrane, Alta. The Suzuki Dealers / Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider has three Calgary wins to his credit and finished second to Szoke in last year's Superbike point standings. He is currently fourth in the championship.

One point ahead of McBain is Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont., who picked up his best ever Superbike finish with a third at Circuit ICAR on his Nelson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1.

Although he is currently languishing in ninth in the standings, Kevin Lacombe will be a threat at Race City on the Team Toyota Yamaha / OTSFF Yamaha YZF-R1. The Granby, Que. ace placed third at the Calabogie season opener but crashed out of the lead in Quebec two weeks ago.

Another Yamaha rider to watch will be Lacombe's team-mate on the Team Toyota Yamaha / OTSFF squad, 14-year-old Royce McLean of Coaldale, Alta. A raw rookie on the national tour McLean was an impressive seventh at Circuit ICAR and is eighth in series points. He is also the early leader of the HJC Pro Rookie of the Year point standings.

Fifth in points is Canadian legend Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, B.C. The rider of the Deeley Racing Powered By Buell / Buell 1125R is coming off a fourth place finish in round two of the series.

Also in the top 10 are up-and-coming Kawasaki riders Alex Welsh of Uxbridge, Ont. and Granby, Que.'s Karl Daigle. The 21-year-old Welsh, Szoke's Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team-mate is sixth in points while Daigle sits seventh riding for the A. Perusse Kawasaki squad.

Honda hopes are led by Keene, Ont. rookie Jodi Christie on the Honda Powerhouse Dealers of Ontario / ProStar Motorsports entry and Montreal's Marie-Josee Boucher with the Excel Moto squad.

Buell's effort is bolstered by North Vancouver's Darren James and Dave Estok of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., who join Crevier on the Deeley team.

Action at Race City includes the third round of the Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike Championship. McCormick leads Szoke by two points in this class, 101-99 thanks to victory in the most recent round at ICAR.

Yamaha hopes are led by Lacombe, Nelson, McLean and Becker, Minn.'s Tony Kasper on the third Team Toyota Yamaha / OTSFF entry.

Szoke is backed up on the Kawasaki team by Welsh while Daigle will also likely figure on his privateer entry.

Crevier, James and Estok handle Buells in the Sport Bike class and Christie is the top Honda runner in eighth place in points.

Montreal's Martin Grande with his Suzuki Sport Collette Suzuki GSX- R600 sits ninth in points and the class also features a factory effort from BMW Motorrad Canada, with Sherbrooke, Que.'s Francis Martin, 10th in the standings, and Michael Ferreira of Mississauga, Ont. handling the HP2s.

The Calgary weekend is a big one for the Honda CBR125R Challenge, which has two races on tap. On Sunday the series will tackle the full road course while on Monday it runs as part of the Alberta Mini Roadracing Association program on the adjacent Varsity Chrysler Speed Park. Hamilton, Ont.'s Steven Nickerson and Bodhi Edie of Warman, Sask. are tied for the points lead.

Rounding out the weekend's activities are races for the Armour Bodies Amateur Sport Bike class, where Cochrane, Alta.'s Cody Matechuk enjoys the points lead, and the Suzuki SV650 National Cup, which has been dominated by Brantford, Ont.'s Rob Busby.

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.

For ticket information go to www.calgarysuperbike.com.

Race City Fast Facts

--Of Jordan Szoke's all-time leading eight Superbike wins at Race City Motorsport Park, six have come in years when he won the national title -- 1998, 2002 (2), 2006 (2) and 2007. The only exception is 2000, when he swept the doubleheader but was beaten to the Canadian crown by Steve Crevier.

--With his victory in 2004, current Brett McCormick mentor Pascal Picotte is the last racer other than Szoke or Clint McBain to win a Superbike national in Calgary.

--Brett McCormick is the first racer from the province of Saskatchewan to win a Canadian Superbike national, and Saskatchewan is the sixth province to boast a Canadian Superbike victory. Ontario has 67 Superbike wins shared between 14 competitors, Quebec has 48 divided between nine riders, and B.C. has 37 wins among four racers.

-credit: www.cdnsuperbike.com

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Series CSBK
Drivers Jordan Szoke , Pascal Picotte , Andrew Nelson , Clint McBain , Kevin Lacombe , Francis Martin , Steve Crevier , Darren James , Brett McCormick , Tony Kasper , Marie-Josee Boucher