SEASON-LONG WAR HITS FINAL BATTLE SHANNONVILLE, Ont. (September 3) -- After six races, three and a half months of criss-crossing the country and some ferocious battles, the fight for the 2009 Parts Canada Superbike Championship comes down to its...
SEASON-LONG WAR HITS FINAL BATTLE
SHANNONVILLE, Ont. (September 3) -- After six races, three and a half months of criss-crossing the country and some ferocious battles, the fight for the 2009 Parts Canada Superbike Championship comes down to its final chapter at Shannonville Motorsport Park this weekend.
Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider Jordan Szoke enters the event 14 points clear of Team Suzuki / Blackfoot / Picotte Performance ace Brett McCormick in the Superbike standings, with 296 points to McCormick's 282. The two have traded blows all season. Each has won three of the six races so far and the momentum has swung between them with each event.
There are 56 points on the table at Shannonville this weekend. Assuming he can qualify in the top four, a second place finish in the race would give Szoke the championship, even if McCormick were to win the race and earn the two-point bonus for leading the most laps.
Should Szoke claim the title the 30-year-old from Brantford, Ont. would go into the history books as the first winner of four consecutive Parts Canada Superbike crowns and he would tie Steve Crevier for the most titles in series history with six.
Saskatoon's McCormick, 18, is looking for his first national championship after a breakthrough year that has seen him emerge as one of Canada's brightest racing prospects in a long time.
Szoke regained the series lead from McCormick with a sweep of July's doubleheader at Mosport International Raceway on his Kawasaki ZX-10R, but McCormick kept the title battle alive with a dominant performance in the most recent event at Nova Scotia's Atlantic Motorsport Park on the factory Suzuki GSX-R1000.
While Szoke and McCormick have shared the victory spoils between them this season and have pulled clear of their Superbike challengers, there are plenty of other riders who could mix it up at the front this weekend and play spoiler in the title fight.
Cochrane, Alta.'s Clint McBain is third in the Superbike standings with 204 points and he is the only rider other than Szoke or McCormick to place in the top two this season, finishing runner-up to Szoke at Mosport. Riding the Suzuki Dealers / Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 McBain is coming off a third place performance in Nova Scotia.
The Yamaha ranks feature a couple of potential winners as well. Although only seventh in the standings Kevin Lacombe of Granby, Que. has won twice at Shannonville and the rider of the Team Toyota Yamaha / OTSFF Yamaha YZF-R1 has three podium finishes to his credit this year.
Kars, Ont.'s Andrew Nelson is fourth in points with 171. Riding the Nelson Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 the 24-year-old Nelson scored a career high third at Circuit ICAR in June.
Just 10 points behind Nelson in the standings is the ageless Steve Crevier. The 44-year-old from Maple Ridge, B.C. leads the Deeley Racing Powered By Buell team on the distinctive Buell 1125R twin.
Szoke's team-mate Alex Welsh is sixth in Superbike points but the 21- year-old from Uxbridge, Ont. suffered a broken pelvis in the previous round and last year's top rookie Pro won't be at 100 per cent.
Wildcard challenges could come in the form of Mississauga, Ont.'s Matt McBride (Riders Choice Suzuki GSX-R1000), two-time Superbike champion Michael Taylor of Toronto (ProStar Motorsports Honda CBR1000RR) and Kleinburg, Ont. ace Frank Trombino (GoLo Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Szoke and McCormick are also fighting over the Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike class crown heading to Shannonville this weekend. Szoke leads McCormick by 16 points, 300-284 and the pair have shared the six race wins evenly this season.
Szoke is also going for a fourth straight title in the Sport Bike division.
Lacombe is third in the standings with three podium finishes to his credit, while Welsh leads Crevier and Nelson in a tight battle for fourth in points.
Keene, Ont.'s Jodi Christie is next up, and the rider of the Roz-Gar Racing / Honda Powerhouse Dealers of Ontario Honda CBR600RR carries a 10- point lead over Royce McLean in the HJC Pro Rookie of the Year standings. McLean is sidelined after breaking his leg in a crash at Atlantic Motorsport Park last month.
Crevier's Buell team-mates Darren James (North Vancouver) and Dave Estok (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) are both in the top 10 in Pro Sport Bike points while BMW Motorrad Canada's effort will be led by Michael Ferreira of Mississauga, Ont. on the BMW HP2 after his team-mate Francis Martin was injured at the last event.
Another contender is Granby, Que.'s Karl Daigle on the A. Perusse Kawasaki / Chaine Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R. Daigle is a former Amateur national champion who is the defending Shannonville Motorsport Park regional champ.
Cochrane, Alta.'s Cody Matechuk carries a commanding 44-point lead over Sebastien Tremblay of Longueuil, Que. in the Armour Bodies Amateur Sport Bike standings. Riding the Suzuki Dealers / Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R600 the 15-year-old Matechuk has won four of five races while Tremblay, 21, has taken the other on his A. Perusse Kawasaki / Kawasaki ZX-6R.
A potential threat to these two could come from local ace Efram Ellenbogen, third in the standings on his BnE Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
Raphael Archambault of St-Colomban, Que. carries a four-race winning streak into the final round of the Suzuki SV650 National Cup at Shannonville. He leads Brantford, Ont.'s Rob Busby by 42 points in the class standings.
Steven Nickerson of Hamilton, Ont. holds a 26-point edge over Warman, Sask.'s Bodhi Edie in the CBR125R Challenge after Edie won the most recent round.
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.
Weekend Passes are $50 and Sunday-only tickets sell for $30. Children under 12 get in free and there is free camping at Shannonville. Go to www.shannonville.com for more info.
All Time Shannonville Motorsport Park Superbike National Wins
Steve Crevier (Maple Ridge, B.C.) 11; Michel Mercier (Thetford Mines, Que.) 5; Pascal Picotte (Granby, Que.) 4; Rueben McMurter (London, Ont.) 3; Francis Martin (Rock Forest, Que.) 3; Miguel Duhamel (Repentigny, Que.) 2; Jeff Gaynor (Toronto, Ont.) 2; Michael Taylor (Toronto, Ont.) 2; Don Munroe (Halifax, N.S.) 2; Jordan Szoke (Brantford, Ont.) 2; Kevin Lacombe (Granby, Que.) 2, etc.
Shannonville Motorsport Park Fast Facts
--Should either Jordan Szoke or Brett McCormick win the Parts Canada Superbike and Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike races at Shannonville it would mark the first time in national series history that only two riders have split all the Pro class wins between them.
--Steve Crevier has won Superbike nationals at Shannonville in three different decades and two centuries! His first win came in 1989 and his most recent in 2007.