By John Hopkins
MONT-TREMBLANT, Que. – Jordan Szoke maintained his perfect record in qualifying in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant on Saturday, claiming pole position for this weekend’s fourth round of the series.
In the first dry session of the weekend, the Brantford, Ont. rider turned a lap in 1:40.495 on his Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR early in the 15-minute Pirelli SuperPole shootout.
That topped the next fastest qualifier, Kars, Ont.’s Andrew Nelson by 0.349 secs. Nelson had a best lap of 1:40.844 on the Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR and Matthew McBride was close behind in third with a time of 1:40.915 aboard the Riders Choice BMW S1000RR.
Francois Dumas of St-Raymond, Que. will complete the front row for Sunday’s 16-lap race after qualifying an impressive fourth on the Team Dumas Superbike / boulangeriedumas.com BMW S1000RR with a time of 1:41.472.
After heavy rain ruined practice Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday morning, the Superbike competitors got a dry track for their qualifying session, leaving many of them scrambling to find an effective dry set-up.
“We were pretty close,” said Szoke, who is chasing his fourth Mont-Tremblant Superbike win and 40th career national triumph on Sunday. “The bike’s not 100% and we do have some ideas for tomorrow. One thing we did manage to work on was the fuel injection and we’ve picked up eight horsepower and the bike is more rideable now.
“I’m a little mad at myself because we were sitting around all day Thursday and Friday and when it came time to qualify I was feeling a little lethargic. I wish I had a little bit more energy going.
“But this makes my year. I’m thankful we got at least one session in the dry. This is one of the best tracks in North America and it would have been so depressing to have it rain through every session.”
Pole position was also good for Szoke’s bid to claim an unprecedented eighth Canadian Superbike title. He picked up four points for his qualifying success and goes into Sunday’s race with 155 points to the 119 of Nelson, who earned three points for qualifying second.
Nelson also felt like he’d got the set up pretty close for qualifying and admitted that a couple of mistakes on a fast lap at the end of the session cost him a shot at unseating Szoke from pole.
“We’ll make a few changes to the rear but overall we’re very close,” Nelson said.
McBride was pleased with third although he acknowledged the rear suspension needed to be stiffened for Sunday.
Dumas was surprised to find himself on the front row.
“I thought I’d be fast here but not on the front row,” he conceded. “I’m very happy to do this in my first full year as a Pro. We won’t make many changes – maybe a little to the gearing and the rear suspension. But overall the bike is very good.”
Alex Welsh of Uxbridge, Ont. leads the second row of the grid thanks to a time of 1:41.985 on the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000. This is Welsh’s first visit to Mont-Tremblant and he was still finding his way during qualifying.
Next to him will be another Mont-Tremblant first-timer, Keene, Ont.’s Jodi Christie, who was sixth fastest on Saturday with a time of 1:42.347 for the Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies team. Christie is also having his first taste this year of the Honda CBR1000RR after previously relying on his smaller CBR600RR in the Superbike class.
Completing the second row is Kevin Lacombe on the Team Couturier BMW S1000RR. Lacombe only turned his 1:42.571 late in the SuperPole shootout. The St-Cesaire, Que. rider is third in Superbike points with 105, one more than Christie.
Eighth fastest on Saturday was Sebastien Tremblay with a 1:42.959 on the MotoNation BMW S1000RR, ninth was the Namyatech BMW S1000RR of Martin Hamel, which turned a 1:42.932, and rounding out the top 10 qualifiers was Kelowna, B.C.’s Marcel Irnie, who lapped at 1:43.165 on the Irnie Racing / Amsoil BMW S1000RR.
1.Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 1:40.541 (152.535km/h)
2. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 1:40.844
3. Matthew McBride, Mississauga, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 1:40.915
4. Francois Dumas, St-Raymond, Que., BMW S1000RR, 1:41.472
5. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:41.985
6. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR1000RR, 1:42.347
7. Kevin Lacombe, Granby, Que., BMW S1000RR, 1:42.571
8. Sebastien Tremblay, Longueuil, Que., BMW S1000RR, 1:42.959
9. Martin Hamel, Drummondville, Que., BMW S1000RR, 1:43.126
10. Marcel Irnie, Kelowna, B.C., BMW S1000RR, 1:43.165
11. Samuel Proulx, Magog, Que., BMW S1000RR, 1:44.751
12. Bodhi Edie, Warman, Sask., BMW S1000RR, 1:45.038
13. Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, Que., Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:45.550
14. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban, Que., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 1:46.519
15. Yvon Jodoin, Beloeil, Que., Honda CBR1000RR, 1:48.726
16. Franklyn Dominguez, Hudson, Que., Honda CBR1000RR, 1:49.422
17. Ron Munroe, Beaver Bank, N.S., Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:56.886
18. Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que., Honda CBR600RR, No Time
19. Richard Thompson, Milford, N.S., Suzuki GSX-R600, No Time