ST-EUSTACHE, Que. – Jodi Christie claimed his first career national Superbike pole position in a dramatic qualifying session for the Laval Harley-Davidson-sponsored second round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Autodrome St-Eustache on Saturday.
With his final lap in the Magneti Marelli SuperPole qualifying session the Keene, Ont. rider recorded a time of 45.144 secs. on his Jodi Christie Racing / Honda Canada / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR. His average speed around the 1.93km (1.2-mile) circuit was 153.907 km/h (92.344 mph).
Defending Mopar Canadian Superbike champ Jordan Szoke, who won the 2012 St-Eustache race, turned in the second best qualifying time of 45.185 on his Waznie Racing / BMW Motorrad Canada / Parts Canada BMW S1000RR, just 0.041 secs. behind Christie.
“I wasn’t sure if my last lap was fast enough, because I didn’t know what Jordan’s time was,” said Christie, who also picked up four points toward the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship. “But when I got back to the pits my whole team was clapping and showing me the number one. It was a great feeling.”
Christie is now 10 points behind Szoke in the battle for the national Superbike title heading into Sunday’s race. Szoke earned three points for qualifying second and now has 59 points to Christie’s 49.
“We got the bike figured out pretty early in the weekend and we didn’t make any changes during qualifying,” Christie said. “On my last few laps I made a few mistakes but the last one I put it all on the line. It felt good the whole lap.
“I think we have a set-up that can make the tires last for the race tomorrow. The team’s done a great job and put a terrific bike under me. It’s all down to me now.”
Szoke was fastest for most of the session and also tried to put in a hot lap in the dying moments of the Magneti Marelli SuperPole session.
“I’m more mad at myself than anything because I feel like I’m the guy to beat at this track,” said the Brantford, Ont. racer, who is going for his third Superbike win at St-Eustache on Sunday. “I did have a lap with a chance near the end but I screwed it up. It was purely my fault. I thought we could beat the record today.”
Brett McCormick holds the track record of 45.012, which he set in 2011.
“I was able to turn in a lot of consistently fast lap times and that will be important for the race,” Szoke added. “I’ll try to get a good start and keep the pressure on.”
Alex Welsh will start third on the grid in Sunday’s race aboard the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada / Parts Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000, putting three different motorcycle brands in the top three grid spots. The Uxbridge, Ont. racer turned a lap of 45.604.
“I really wanted to make sure I got the bike into the race, because I have a bad streak of chucking bikes away in qualifying,” said Welsh, who finished a close second to Szoke here last year. “We have a really good bike for tomorrow and the race is the big picture for me. I had a good race last year and I know what to expect.”
Sunday’s front row is rounded out by Sebastien Tremblay of Longueuil, Que., who turned a 46.694-sec. lap on his MotoNation BMW S1000RR.
“The lap times are consistent but we need to be faster,” said the 2012 Pro Rookie of the Year in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship. “We’re going to change the geometry; the bike is still unstable out of the corners.”
Franklyn Dominguez of St-Lazare, Que. leads the second row of the grid after recording a 47.168 on the Excel Honda / Holt / Seamont Brokerage Honda CBR1000RR. Ste-Marthe, Que.’s Louie Raffa qualified sixth fastest with a 47.542 on the Raffa Racing / Team Couturier Honda CBR600RR and Beaconsfield, Que.’s Michael Leon rounds out the second row of the grid after recording a 48.784 on the Royal Distributing Racing Team / MV Agusta Canada / Motovan MV Agusta F3.
Frank Trombino managed to walk away from a crash on the front straight that kept him out of the SuperPole session, but the Kleinburg, Ont. racer will start eighth Sunday on the Trombino Racing / Draft Picks Sports Grill / Acme Slate Aprilia RSV4.
The top 10 is rounded out by Mississauga, Ont.’s Trevor Daley on the ProStar Motorsports / One Speed Honda CBR1000RR and Ste-Adele, Que.’s Jean-Francois Cyr with the CyrRacing / RaceLine Aprilia RSV4. Cyr won the St-Eustache Superbike race in 2003.
In other action at Autodrome St-Eustache, points leader Christie also qualified on pole for Sunday’s second round of the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike Championship. The Keene, Ont. racer turned a fastest lap of 46.091 aboard his Honda CBR600RR.
After a late back and forth battle, Calgary’s John Ross MacRae edged Trombino for the second spot on the grid. MacRae managed a time of 46.858 on the Riedmann Racing / Castrol / Blackfoot Triumph 675 while Trombino could only get down to a 47.005 with his Honda CBR600RR.
Leon completes the front row for Sunday’s race after turning a fastest lap of 47.251 aboard the MV Agusta F3.
Michael Taylor took the Tactical Products Canada LUMINOX Pole Award in the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup at St-Eustache. The Toronto racer recorded a lap at 49.696 secs. aboard the Mackie Harley-Davidson entry.
Two-time defending class champion Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, B.C. was second fastest at 49.853 on the MotoSport Plus-backed bike and Darren James of North Vancouver will start third for the Ruthless Racing team after setting a qualifying time of 50.785. James’s teammate MacRae rounds out the front row.
Eric Gagnon of Ste-Sophie, Que. qualified fastest for the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike class with a 47.717 on his BMW S1000RR.
After qualifying on pole with a new lap record Japanese sensation Hikari Okubo won Saturday’s third round of the Honda CBR250R National Race Series. The 19-year-old finished 25.003 secs. clear of series points leader Tomas Casas of Peterborough, Ont., while Breslau, Ont.’s Dylan Bauer won a race long battle with his brother Jordan for the final podium spot.
Qualifying for the Bazzaz / Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike category was postponed until Sunday morning due to a red flag for a crash early in their session. Alexandre Guay of Levis, Que. posted the best practice time of the weekend on Saturday morning with a 48.977 on his Yamaha YZF-R6.
The qualifying session was stopped for a fall by Martin Setlakwe of Quebec City, who was transported to hospital with a suspected back injury.
Action at Autodrome St-Eustache concludes Sunday with feature races in all six national classes. Practice begins at 10:00 a.m. with the first race, round four of the Honda CBR250R National Race Series set to go at 12:00 p.m.
For ticket information call (450) 472-6222 or (514) 591-4388. Or go to www.autodrome.ca.
Video coverage of the Mopar Pro Superbike, Harley-Davidson Canada XR1200 Cup and Saturday’s Honda CBR250R National will be available on www.csbk.ca, as well as highlights from the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike race.
Superbike Qualifying Results
1.Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR1000RR, 45.144 (153.110km/h)
2. Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 45.185
3. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 45.604
4. Sebastien Tremblay, Longueuil, Que., BMW S1000RR, 46.694
5. Franklyn Dominguez, St-Lazare, Que., Honda CBR1000RR, 47.168
6. Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que., Honda CBR600RR, 47.542
7. Michael Leon, Beaconsfield, Que., MV Agusta F3, 47.694
8. Frank Trombino, Kleinburg, Ont., Aprilia RSV4, 46.201
9. Trevor Daley, Mississauga, Ont., Honda CBR1000RR, 47.370
10. Jean-Francois Cyr, Ste-Adele, Que., Aprilia RSV4, 47.798
11. Tim Robinson, Gatineau, Que., BMW S1000RR, 47.916
12. Matt Cooper, Guelph, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 47.926
13. Martin Ricard, Montreal, Que., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 47.940
14. Austin Shaw-O’Leary, Falmouth, N.S., Yamaha YZF-R6, 48.291
15. Kristopher Garvie, Caledon, Ont., Honda CBR600RR, 48.315
16. Philippe Masse, St-Hyacinthe, Que., Kawasaki ZX-6R, No Time
17. John Ross MacRae, Calgary, Alta., Triumph 675, No Time
–From Frontline CSBK Inc.