By John Hopkins
ST-EUSTACHE, Que. – Jordan Szoke took over the lead of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship with a dramatic win in round two of the series at Autodrome St-Eustache on Sunday.
The Brantford, Ont. racer snatched the lead from Alex Welsh on lap 20 of the 22-lap race and took advantage of some good breaks in lapped traffic to score a 1.995-sec. victory on his Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR.
Welsh settled for second on the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Kevin Lacombe, who led the first five laps on his Team Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR completed the podium.
The win gives Szoke the lead in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings after two of six races with 97 points after opening round winner Andrew Nelson could only manage a fifth place finish on Sunday.
“I’ve really enjoyed this weekend. This is a track I really like and I was looking forward to coming here,” said Szoke, who led every practice session and qualified on pole for the race. “We’ve been fast all weekend long and the bike was fantastic.”
From fourth on the grid Welsh got the holeshot but St-Cesaire, Que.’s Lacombe grabbed the lead entering the Dogleg near the end of the first lap, and Szoke moved into second place in the same spot on lap two. Szoke then overtook Lacombe, again entering the Dogleg at the end of the backstraight, on lap six with Welsh grabbing second a lap later.
“I didn’t get the best of starts but I just calmly worked my way into the lead,” said Szoke. “Once I got in front I put my head down and I thought I could get a gap, but Alex stuck with me, so I backed it down a little to save myself and the bike.”
After shadowing Szoke through the middle of the race Welsh pounced at the end of lap 17, grabbing the lead entering the Bowl. He stayed in front for three laps before Szoke regained the top spot at the end of the backstraight, a move that earned him the KICKER Kick Ass Pass of the Race Award and an iK501 iPhone / iPod Dock valued at $300.
Szoke was then able to take advantage of lapped traffic to open a lead of a couple of seconds in the waning laps.
“When Alex got me I wanted to pass him back right away, and I was able to get a really good drive onto the backstraight. I think the lappers gave me a bit of an advantage, but I was also able to put in a hot lap right near the end, which was a nice feeling. It was a great race with Alex; a lot of fun.”
Welsh’s runner-up finish moved him up to third in the Mopar Canadian Superbike standings with 75 points.
“I’m pretty happy. It was good to get up there and run with Jordan,” the Uxbridge, Ont. racer said. “I don’t think I’ve done that in a while and it was a good confidence booster for me and the whole team.
“I knew once Jordan got past Kevin he would try to get away pretty quickly, so I really tried to reel him back in. I wanted to lead when we were going through the lappers, but once Jordan got by me he got someone in the Bowl, and then another in turn one and it was a little tight for me.”
Welsh did have the consolation of turning the fastest lap of the race at 45.413 secs. on lap eight.
After his early run at the front Lacombe couldn’t maintain the pace of Szoke and Welsh and settled for a lonely third place. That was still an encouraging result for the St-Cesaire, Que. rider in just his second race back following a two-year layoff.
“In the race the set up didn’t work out,” Lacombe admitted. “We weren’t off the pace by much but I was still having a hard time in the tight stuff. The faster stuff was OK.”
Jodi Christie rode a brilliant race to take fourth on the Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR. From seventh on the grid the Keene, Ont. rider was running right behind Lacombe, Welsh and Szoke at the end of the first lap and he stayed glued to that trio until lap five. He was never troubled from behind, however.
“We had a very good bike set-up and that allowed me to put down good, consistent laps,” Christie said. “I’m glad I got some fast laps in early, because that allowed me to just focus on lapped traffic near the end.”
Riding the Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR Nelson spent the first five laps stuck behind the Team Dumas Superbike / Boulangeriedumas.com BMW S1000RR of Francois Dumas before taking over fifth, but it wasn’t until the last lap or so that he was within striking distance of Christie.
Dumas slowly slid back to eighth at the finish, also being passed by Bodhi Edie on the Edie Racing / Blue Streak Racing / Fast Company BMW S1000RR, who rode another strong race to sixth, and Matt McBride on the Riders Choice BMW S1000RR.
Sebastien Tremblay ran ninth all the way on the MotoNation BMW S1000RR and Marie-Josee Boucher came out on top of a three-way scrap for 10th on her Chaine Performance BMW S1000RR.
1.Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 22
2. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 22
3. Kevin Lacombe, Granby, Que., BMW S1000RR, 22
4. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR600RR, 22
5. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 22
6. Bodhi Edie, Warman, Sask., BMW S1000RR, 22
7. Matt McBride, Mississauga, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 22
8. Francois Dumas, St-Raymond, Que., BMW S1000RR, 22
9. Sebastien Tremblay, Longueuil, Que., BMW S1000RR, 22
10. Marie-Josee Boucher, Montreal, Que., BMW S1000RR, 22
11. Marcel Irnie, Kelowna, B.C., BMW S1000RR, 22
12. Martin Hamel, Drummondville, Que., BMW S1000RR, 21
13. Samuel Proulx, Magog, Que., BMW S1000RR, 21
14. Franklyn Dominguez, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., Honda CBR1000RR, 21
15. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban, Que., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 21
16. Michael Leon, Beaconsfield, Que., Honda CBR600RR, 21
17. Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que., Honda CBR600RR, 21
Did Not Finish
Tony Stufko, Ottawa, Ont., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 20
Did Not Start
Frank Trombino, Kleinburg, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R600
Amzy Nawaz, Thornton, Ont., Kawasaki ZX-6R
Time of Race: 16:04.454
Average Speed: 158.490km/h (95.094 mph)
Margin of Victory: 1.995 secs.
Fastest Lap: 45.413 secs. by Alex Welsh on lap 8
1. Jordan Szoke, 97
2. Andrew Nelson, 86
3. Alex Welsh, 75
4. Kevin Lacombe, 71
5. Matthew McBride, 68
6. Jodi Christie, 59
7. Bodhi Edie, 52
8. Francois Dumas, 44
9. Sebastien Tremblay, 40
10. Marcel Irnie, 34
11. Marie-Josee Boucher, 31
12. Samuel Proulx, 28
13. Franklyn Dominguez, 25
14. Frank Trombino, 23
15. Sylvain Dery, 16
16. Martin Hamel, 15
17. Aubrey Bailey, 10
18. Tony Stufko, 8
19. Michael Leon, 8
20. Louie Raffa, 6