Shubenacadie, NS – July 21, 2018 – Jordan Szoke continued his east coast dominance in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship with another convincing victory on Saturday, as the three-time defending champion took his sixth-consecutive win in the Mopar Pro Superbike class at round four from Atlantic Motorsport Park, presented by Pro Cycle and Honda Canada.
Szoke, who continues to move closer to a record 13th career title, started from pole position and led virtually the entire race, powering his way to a four-second victory over Collingwood, ON’s Ben Young.
The Mopar Express Lane BMW Motorrad S1000RR rider will now take a 53-point lead over Young into Sunday’s race, which is the second part of a Pro doubleheader.
“We’re getting really great starts, but Ben is always right there too. I knew I had the inside line, so I tried to put the pressure on him, but he wouldn’t budge and at one point I thought we were both going into the grass,” Szoke laughed. “It’s really awesome to come out on top because we’ve all been working really hard. But we’re here again tomorrow so hopefully things are a little less stressful.”
Young, meanwhile, will be looking to cause even more problems for the Lynden, ON veteran on Sunday as he continues the quest for his first career victory.
The Scot-Build BMW rider was held up by Szoke at the start of the race and quickly fell behind Samuel Trepanier for second-place. Though he would ultimately catch his longtime rival on the penultimate lap, it was too little too late as he could not break down the gap to the reigning champ.
“We got a really good launch into corner one, but Jordan sort of ran me wide and I had to leave the door open for Sam,” Young said. “We were back farther than we wanted to be, and the passing spots here are so minimized, but I was able to squeeze my way in at the end. I knew Sam was good around here, so I had to take my chance.”
“We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but hopefully we can hang with Jordan,” he continued.
Though it was a tough break for Trepanier, who led Young for nearly the entirety of the race prior to the penultimate-lap pass, the St. Isidore, QC native was still pleased with the end result aboard his Blysk Racing BMW.
“Anytime you can go from the second row to second-place you are very happy,” said Trepanier, who qualified fourth. “It was a very challenging battle, both with Ben and myself, because I didn’t want to get in my own head. When he passed me, there was not much I could do other than put us both in the gravel, so I’m happy with third.”
It was another strong performance for Mississauga, ON’s Trevor Daley, who overcame a huge crash in qualifying on Friday to take fourth-place for the third time this season aboard his OneSpeed Chop Shop Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Rounding out the top five for the third-consecutive time was Beaconsfield, QC’s Michael Leon, who ran in fourth for much of the race but faded in the dying laps and couldn’t hold off Daley aboard his Royal Distributing BMW.
The race within the race was no doubt the battle for sixth, which was won by Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year points leader Samuel Desmarais. The Lasalle, QC native narrowly came out on top of a thrilling four-way battle, with Desmarais and his Playground Poker Club Kawasaki ZX-6R taking over a 20-point advantage with three races to go.
Jacob Shaw-O’Leary was able to come out of the four-way battle in seventh, but that was hardly the best result of the day for the local youngster, as he took his maiden victory in the Pro ranks after coming out on top of a wild Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike race at his home track.
The 19-year old out of Falmouth, NS started from pole position but was quickly shunted down to fourth on the opening lap, though it took only six laps for Shaw-O’Leary to retake the lead and begin to pull out a gap.
The O’Leary Brothers Racing Pro Cycle Honda CBR600RR rider was awarded his first ever Pro national victory after a red flag with four laps to go ended the race, though he likely could have gone the distance as his final lap was the fastest of the contest.
The race was scheduled to begin at 1:20 pm but was delayed by nearly a half-hour due to changing conditions, which left many riders scrambling to change from dry “slick” tires into the more appropriate rain tires.
“It was difficult to choose which tires to run, but the team worked awesome and everything was great,” Shaw-O’Leary said. “I had a pretty good pace, so I was able to get to the front and pull away which was a huge bonus for us.”
“It’s also great because it looks like I finally one-upped my brother,” he joked, referencing his older sibling Austin, a former Pro Sport Bike frontrunner who retired at the end of the 2013 season.
It was a crucial second-place finish for reigning champion and current points leader Tomas Casas out of Peterborough, ON, who continued his run of podiums as he looks to successfully defend his title from a year ago.
The Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R6 rider has now finished inside the top-two in each of his four races this season and will look to continue that trend with a win on Sunday in the second half of a Pro doubleheader.
“It was very tricky because we had to change tires at the last minute, but we still got a good start,” Casas said. “After Jacob got by me we kind of settled in and played a smart race, which is really important for the championship.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Laval, QC’s Jean-Marc Bilger, who jumped out to an early lead in the wet conditions and held that position for nearly half of the race before eventually getting worn down by Shaw-O’Leary and Casas.
The Kawasaki ZX-6R rider was still able to hold on for his first career Pro podium in third, and the reigning Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year was predictably very pleased with the result after qualifying in ninth.
“When I saw it was rainy I was happy because you never know [what could happen], and I love the rain, so it worked really well for me,” Bilger said. “I don’t know why I’m so good in the rain, but it was a lot of fun. To be standing here is just so cool!”
Laval, QC’s Sebastien Tremblay took another consistent result aboard his DB Moto Kawasaki, as the former Pro Superbike frontrunner looks to get back in the championship hunt following a round one crash.
It was a disappointing result for the second consecutive year at AMP for title contender Mitch Card, who could only manage fifth after struggling on the wet track. It was just a year ago that the Ripley, ON youngster crashed out in race two, effectively ending his championship bid as Casas went on to win.
The result hardly takes Card out of contention, especially considering his prowess at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but its nonetheless a big blow to the Fast Company Yamaha rider’s chances.
Seventeen-year old Jake LeClair continued his dominant run in the upstart Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class, narrowly defeating local rider Avery Hart in a terrific battle that nearly resulted in a photo-finish.
The Blackstock, ON native of LeClair was able to place his Yamaha YZF-R3 just 0.101 seconds ahead of Princeville, NS’s Hart, who nearly came all the way back after a brutal start aboard his Kawasaki Ninja 250.
“It was a lot of fun. The start was really interesting, and I figured [Hart] was out of it but all of a sudden he got by me,” LeClair said. “We actually touched a little but luckily we both stayed upright, and obviously it turned out well for us.”
LeClair will now take a commanding 82-point lead over Laval, QC’s Alex Berthiaume, who saw his streak of podium finishes end in fourth place aboard his Yamaha.
The Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike class will see Memramcook, NB’s Mario Richard start from pole after he topped Saturday’s qualifying session aboard his Honda CBR600RR.
Meanwhile, phenom Nicolas Meunier will grab pole-position in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class, as the Verdun, QC youngster topped the morning practice session aboard his Kawasaki ZX-6R before the scheduled afternoon qualifying was cancelled due to rain.
Full results, including the schedule for Sunday’s action, can be found at the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.