TORONTO, Ont. – Jordan Szoke begins his quest for an unprecedented 10th national Superbike title as the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship opens this weekend at Shannonville Motorsport Park in Shannonville, Ont.
The 35-year-old from Brantford, Ont. is also gunning for a third straight Canada Cup aboard his Waznie Racing / BMW Motorrad / Mopar Express Lane BMW S1000RR, having also taken the title in 2012 and 2013.
Szoke used a victory at last year’s national season opener to propel himself to the crown, and he reinforced his status as preseason favourite by winning a RACE regional event last month on Shannonville’s 2.45km (1.53-mile) Shannonville ‘Pro’ track.
There is a long list of challengers who will enter the weekend planning to knock Szoke off his lofty perch, however.
Chief among them is Keene, Ont.’s Jodi Christie, who is aiming to build on a breakthrough season last year that saw him score his first national Superbike win and finish third in the final point standings. The 21-year-old will be on board the Jodi Christie Racing / Honda Canada / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR.
Kleinburg, Ont.’s Frank Trombino should also be a threat on the Trombino Racing / Royal Plumbing Aprilia RSV1000. The 41-year-old fan favourite always runs well at Shannonville and has high expectations as he enters his second year with the Aprilia program.
A couple of last year’s top rookies will also be looking to step up this season. Sunoco / Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year Kristopher Garvie of Caledon, Ont. has a new Honda CBR1000RR at his disposal with backing from Honda Canada, Fast Company and Platinum Painting.
Streetsville, Ont.’s Trevor Daley is back on Suzuki GSX-R1000 equipment with support from OneSpeedChopShop.com, Z1 Cycletech and DUA Motorsport.
Sebastien Tremblay of Longueuil, Que. was a frontrunner last season on his MotoNation BMW S1000RR, while contenders for this year’s top rookie honours will be Marco Sousa of Schomberg, Ont., now equipped with a BMW S1000RR, and Gatineau, Que.’s Stephan Houle, who races a Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Also aboard a new Kawasaki will be Caribbean Superbike ace Franklyn Dominguez, now based in Hudson, Que., who debuts a new program with backing from Montreal’s OCM Racing and egopay.com, while Mississauga, Ont.’s Matt McBride always goes well at Shannonville on his Riders’ Choice BMW S1000RR.
This weekend’s action will also include the opening rounds for the Hindle Pro Sport Bike, Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike, Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike and Honda CBR250R National Race Series support classes.
Christie is aiming for a fourth straight Pro Sport Bike title on his Honda CBR600RR after winning every race last year. But he will face a strong challenge from last year’s pole qualifier Trombino on the ProStar Motorsports Honda and Garvie, who finished third in points last season.
Belfountain, Ont.’s Kenny Riedmann, who won the class regional opener in May on his Riedmann Racing Triumph 675, is expected to take a break from his U.S. racing commitments to run at Shannonville this weekend, while a further challenger should be Falmouth, N.S.’s Austin Shaw-O’Leary on the O’Leary Brothers / Pro Cycle Honda CBR600RR.
In the Amateur classes, Brampton, Ont.’s Tony Lanni marked himself out as an early favourite after sweeping both divisions at the RACE regional season opener on his ProStar Honda CBR600RR. Others to watch will include Gravenhurst, Ont.’s Steve Hamer on his Yamaha YZF-R6, St-Lazare, Que. racer Stacey Nesbitt aboard the OCM Racing Honda CBR600RR, and last year’s Honda CBR250R champion Tomas Casas of Peterborough, who will race a Yamaha YZF-R6 backed by GoLo Racing.
The Honda CBR250R series is headlined by the Walker family of Oakville, Ont., which includes Dad David and sons Jared and Cameron. Cameron Walker finished second in last year’s class point standings.
Action at Shannonville opens Friday with a full day of practice. Qualifying for all five national classes, including the Magneti Marelli SuperPole in the Pro Superbike division, will take place Saturday. Saturday’s action also includes the opening round of the CBR250R series. Feature races in all five national classes will run Sunday.
For ticket information call 1-800-959-8955 or 613-969-1906, or go to www.shannonville.com.
The official Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship website, www.csbk.ca, will have full race coverage of Saturday’s opening round of the Honda CBR250R National Race Series, as well as Sunday’s Hindle Pro Sport Bike and Mopar Pro Superbike feature events.
–From Professional Motorsports Productions