By John Hopkins
MONT-TREMBLANT, Que. – Jordan Szoke took a big step toward his eighth national Superbike title with a win in Sunday’s fourth round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
But while the Brantford, Ont. racer was impressive in claiming his third straight win of the season, Jodi Christie stole the show with a scintillating ride on his Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR.
Gambling with a slick rear Pirelli on a track that was mostly wet at the start of the race, Christie moved up from 10th place at the end of lap one of the 12-lap race and caught the leaders on the final tour. He passed Kevin Lacombe just before the finish line to snatch the final podium spot behind Szoke and Matt McBride.
Using wet weather Pirellis like the majority of the field on his Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR, polesitter Szoke was third into the first corner but by lap four had worked his way into the lead, passing Lacombe on lap two and the Riders Choice BMW S1000RR of McBride on lap four.
“I could have had the holeshot, but I was thinking about the championship, and I wanted Matt and Lacombe to get in front and hopefully drag me away from the pack,” Szoke said. “But when I saw Matt getting away from Lacombe I thought I’d better go.
“The set-up felt really comfortable and when I passed Matt I was able to keep a good consistent pace.”
McBride and Lacombe stayed close behind Szoke as the laps wound down and the track tried. Lacombe started to fade back on the Team Couturier BMW S1000RR a couple of laps from the end, but McBride was still on Szoke’s tail as they started the last lap.
“I saw a ‘+0’ as I started the last lap, so I put my head down,” said Szoke, who turned his fastest lap of the race, a 1:48.009 on the final tour. “I felt really comfortable and I was able to hammer out a good lap.”
Szoke now heads into the season finale doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a commanding 66-point lead over Christie, 207-141. Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. is third in points with 140 after placing a disappointing ninth on Sunday on his Nelson Racing / Endras Motorrad / mcn.tv BMW S1000RR and Lacombe is fourth with 137.
McBride wound up 1.748 secs. behind Szoke at the flag.
“The tires were a bit squirmy at the end and anything up the inside would have been a close pass,” said the Mississauga, Ont. racer after his second runner-up finish of the year. “On the last lap I knew I had a bit of a gap but I had a couple of slides early on and I thought I should just bring it home in one piece.”
Most of the attention, however, was focused on Christie’s charge. As the track tried the Keene, Ont. teenager got faster and faster. He worked his way through a gaggle of six bikes fighting over fourth place by lap seven, then managed to erase an 11.5-sec. gap to Lacombe over the next four tours.
He tried what he described as an “optimistic” pass in turn 13 but was turned back by the St-Cesaire, Que. rider, then made his move on the inside as Lacombe slid wide through the Namerow hairpin. The Honda got in front and held off Lacombe’s BMW by 0.347 secs. at the line.
“It was sunny when we did our warm-up and I saw a few small sections of the track were dry,” said Christie, who was having his first race this year on the CBR1000RR and was making his first appearance at Mont-Tremblant, of his gamble. “I could tell it would be mostly dry by the end of the race so I bounced the idea off [crew chief] John [Sharrard] and we decided to go for it.
“Off the start it was really slippery but I just wanted to make sure I stayed up. I used the dry line in some corners to pass guys.”
Christie turned the fastest lap of the race, a 1:46.637 on the 11th lap.
Lacombe admitted his wet weather set-up was not working out as the race neared its conclusion.
“I knew Jodi was coming but I was sliding all over the place,” he admitted. “It’s disappointing; we took a gamble in the race.”
Alex Welsh emerged on top of the squabbling pack battling for fifth, but the rider of the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000 was penalized five seconds for shortcutting the chicane three times, and slipped to seventh in the results.
His penalty promoted Sherbrooke, Que.’s Samuel Proulx to a career-high fifth on the second Team Couturier BMW S1000RR while Bodhi Edie of Warman, Sask. produced another strong effort to take sixth riding the Edie Racing / Blue Streak / Fast Company BMW S1000RR.
After running as high as fourth, Sebastien Tremblay of Longueuil, Que. faded to eighth on the MotoNation BMW S1000RR ahead of Nelson. Kelowna, B.C.’s Marcel Irnie rounded out the top 10 on his Irnie Racing / Amsoil BMW S1000RR.
1.Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 12 laps
2. Matthew McBride, Mississauga, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 12
3. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR1000RR, 12
4. Kevin Lacombe, Granby, Que., BMW S1000RR, 12
5. Samuel Proulx, Magog, Que., BMW S1000RR, 12
6. Bodhi Edie, Warman, Sask., BMW S1000RR, 12
7. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 12*
8. Sebastien Tremblay, Longueuil, Que., BMW S1000RR, 12
9. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 12
10. Marcel Irnie, Kelowna, B.C., BMW S1000RR, 12**
11. Franklyn Dominguez, Hudson, Que., Honda CBR1000RR, 12
12. Francois Dumas, St-Raymond, Que., BMW S1000RR, 12
13. James Collins, Kaladar, Ont., Yamaha YZF-R6, 12
14. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban, Que., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 12
Did Not Finish
Martin Hamel, Drummondville, Que., BMW S1000RR, 2
Did Not Start
Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, Que., Suzuki GSX-R600
Yvon Jodoin, Beloeil, Que., Honda CBR1000RR
Ron Munroe, Beaver Bank, N.S., Kawasaki ZX-6R
Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que., Honda CBR600RR
Richard Thompson, Milford, N.S., Suzuki GSX-R600
*–penalized five seconds for short cut through chicane
**–penalized five seconds for incorrect grid position
Time of Race: 21:31.852
Average Speed: 142.456km/h (88.617 mph)
Margin of Victory: 1.748 secs.
Fastest Lap: 1:46.637 by Jodi Christie on lap 11
1. Jordan Szoke, 207
2. Jodi Christie, 141
3. Andrew Nelson, 140
4. Kevin Lacombe, 137
5. Matthew McBride, 112
6. Bodhi Edie, 108
7. Alex Welsh, 100
8. Sebastien Tremblay, 86
9. Samuel Proulx, 82
10. Frank Trombino, 60
10. Francois Dumas, 60
12. Marcel Irnie, 53
13. Franklyn Dominguez, 42
14. Marie-Josee Boucher, 31
15. Sylvain Dery, 28
16. Ron Munroe, 21
17. Martin Hamel, 15
18. James Collins, 13
19. Aubrey Bailey, 10
20. Tony Stufko, 8
20. Michael Leon, 8
22. Louie Raffa, 6