Shannonville II: Season finale preview

TORONTO, ON The Parts Canada Superbike Championship wraps up its 2005 season at Shannonville Motorsport Park this weekend with Francis Martin in a strong position to claim his second national Superbike title. The Rock Forest, QC rider, who...

TORONTO, ON The Parts Canada Superbike Championship wraps up its 2005 season at Shannonville Motorsport Park this weekend with Francis Martin in a strong position to claim his second national Superbike title.

The Rock Forest, QC rider, who first won the Canada Cup in 1999, holds a 22-point lead in the standings over Calgary's Clint McBain, 277-255. A top three finish in Sunday's 14-lap feature race around the 4.0km (2.5-mile) Shannonville 'Long Track' would be enough to assure Martin of the title.

The very consistent Martin has only finished off the podium once in seven races this year, when he came back from a fall to salvage sixth at Mosport International Raceway. Riding the Snobgirls / Laval Moto Suzuki GSX-R1000, Martin won the season opener on the Shannonville 'Pro' Track in May. Since then he has placed second once, and has added four, third-place finishes to his total.

But no fewer than five other racers have a mathematical shot at wresting the championship from Martin at Shannonville. Just one point behind McBain in the standings, with 254 is two-time defending Parts Canada Superbike champion Pascal Picotte. Jordan Szoke lies fourth in points with 250, while Kevin Lacombe and Steve Crevier are fifth and sixth with 231 and 223 points, respectively.

McBain has won twice this year on his Team Suzuki / Blackfoot Suzuki GSX-R1000. He swept the doubleheader on home turf at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park to claim his first two career national Superbike wins.

Picotte spent the first half of the season recovering from injuries he suffered at the season opening round in May. But the Granby, QC rider won both races at Mosport aboard the Picotte Performance Yamaha YZF-R1, proving he can never be counted out of the title battle.

Szoke hasn't won yet this year on the Fast Company Honda CBR1000RR, but the Brantford, ON ace is another two-time Canadian Superbike champion and qualified on pole for this year's season opener.

With a maximum of 56 points available at this weekend's season finale 50 for the race win, two for leading the most laps and four for nabbing the MPM Array Pole Award it would take a remarkable set of circumstances to see Lacombe or Crevier lift the Canada Cup. But the pair are the most recent winners on this year's tour.

Lacombe claimed the first half of last month's doubleheader at Atlantic Motorsport Park on the second Team Suzuki / Blackfoot Suzuki GSX-R1000 while Crevier won the back end riding the Diablo Performance Honda CBR1000RR.

Another rider who should be in the mix at the front this weekend even though he cannot win the championship is Chardon, OH's Tom Kipp. The veteran rider sits seventh in the standings with 145 points riding the Canadian Kawasaki Motors Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Shannonville favourite Frank Trombino could also come up with a win on the Trombino Yamaha Racing Yamaha YZF-R1. The Kleinburg, ON racer is eighth in the standings with 139 points after an injury-marred campaign.

This weekend's racing includes the final rounds for four other national classes, three of which still have titles up for grabs.

Crevier has already clinched the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike crown for Honda after sweeping the AMP doubleheader, but he will be hard pressed to add to his five class wins this season.

Suzuki's McBain has been on Crevier's tail almost all season and comes to Shannonville looking to lock up second in the point standings. Kawasaki rider Kipp has been very strong in the 600 Sport Bike class of late, while Trombino will also be a threat for Yamaha.

Mark Douglas comes to Shannonville with a 27-point lead over fellow Yamaha rider James Collins in the International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike standings. Douglas, from Warkworth, ON, has won the last two races to take control of the title battle.

The fight for the Thunder Championship took a big swing at the previous round at AMP as race winner Darren James took over the points lead. The Buell rider from North Vancouver comes to the finale with 180 points to the 157 of Ducati's Derek Vammus and the 149 of Bill Card, also on a Buell.

The Thunder class will also feature the Brampton Chrysler Pole Award for the winner of Saturday's qualifying heat race.

Fifteen-year-old Karl Daigle holds a commanding lead in the Suzuki SV650 National Cup point standings coming into the Shannonville finale. The Roxton Pond, QC rider holds a 42-point edge, 231-189 over Norm Tang, the only other racer with a shot at snatching the crown.

Qualifying for the national classes will take place Saturday afternoon with features on Sunday.

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Series CSBK
Drivers Jordan Szoke , Tom Kipp , Pascal Picotte , Clint McBain , Kevin Lacombe , Francis Martin , Steve Crevier , Bill Card , Frank Trombino , Darren James