The 2012 season got off to an unexpected start when Andrew Nelson rode the blue and gold Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR to a convincing start-to-finish victory at Shannonville Motorsport Park last month. The Kars, Ont. veteran became the first rider other than Szoke or 2011 national champion Brett McCormick to win a Superbike event since Clint McBain was victorious at Atlantic Motorsport Park in August, 2008.
Nelson is also the first person besides Szoke or McCormick to lead the national standings since the opening round of the 2008 season, when Kevin Lacombe qualified on pole at Calabogie Motorsports Park. Lacombe’s glory lasted barely 24 hours, as Szoke won the race the next day. To find the last time someone other than Szoke or McCormick left a race weekend with the points lead you’d have to go back to the end of 2005, when Francis Martin clinched the title.
There could be more surprises in store this weekend. The tight and technical 1.93km (1.02-mile), 10-turn St-Eustache circuit has a habit of producing shock results. In 1994 Marco Ferland was a surprise winner for Honda, in 1997 Benoit Pilon took the victory on a Yamaha, and in 2003 Jean-Francois Cyr was triumphant, also on a Yamaha. For all three riders the wins were their only visits to the top step of a national Superbike podium.
Additionally, the Canadian championship went through a stretch from 2004 until last year when it didn’t visit St-Eustache, so the track is not that familiar to many racers in the series.
Nelson, the 2001 Pro Rookie of the Year, and Szoke both have extensive experience of St-Eustache, and Szoke was a winner at the venue in 2002. Last year he took a close second to McCormick while Nelson struggled to fifth.
While Nelson enjoyed a virtually perfect race at Shannonville’s season opener, Szoke had to fight back from a poor start to salvage third on the Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR. But the Brantford, Ont. rider was far from ready to push the panic button.
“This is just the first race in a long season,” he cautioned.
Nelson may be only part of Szoke’s problem, however. At Shannonville he only just held off the charging Alex Welsh, who made up for an otherwise miserable weekend to finish fourth on the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000. Welsh rode the same bike to third at St-Eustache last year, and will be a threat for victory.
In his first race in two years, Kevin Lacombe finished fifth at Shannonville on the Team Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR, and the St-Cesaire, Que. rider is another with extensive experience at St-Eustache.
A wildcard is Mississauga, Ont.’s Matt McBride, who placed second to Nelson in round one on his Riders Choice BMW S1000RR. It was not clear if McBride would travel to Quebec to continue his bid for the national title.
There is a similarly tight fight shaping up in the K&N Performance Filters Pro Sport Bike class, where Frank Trombino and Jodi Christie are set to renew hostilities. The pair engaged in a great scrap at Shannonville, where Trombino’s 725 Sports / Acme Slate Suzuki GSX-R600 just edged the Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR of defending class champion Christie. Trombino also won at St-Eustache last summer.
Philippe Masse won a wild opener for the Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike class at Shannonville on his Racingphil.com / Pete’s Superbike Kawasaki ZX-6R while Trevor Daley was impressive in taking the Bazzaz Amateur Superbike victory on the One Speed / Riders Choice Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Story by John Hopkins.
Steve Crevier looked impressive in taking round one of the Deeley Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup, but Ruthless Racing’s Darren James has vowed the defending champ will have a tougher time of it this weekend.
Ryan Roche pulled off a surprise sweep of the Honda CBR250R National Race Series doubleheader at Shannonville. He will try to do the same against local favourite Stacey Nesbitt and impressive rookie Tomas Casas this weekend.
Practice for this weekend’s event gets underway Friday with qualifying taking place on Saturday. The first of two Honda CBR250R National Race Series rounds goes Saturday afternoon, with feature races in all six national classes set for Sunday.
For ticket information call 450-472-6222 or 514-591-4388. Or go to www.autodrome.ca.