Szoke aiming to clinch 13th title in doubleheader finale at CTMP

Three-time defending Mopar Pro Superbike champion Jordan Szoke will look to add to his historic trophy case this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, as the veteran aims to secure his record 13th Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship in the season finale doubleheader. 

Szoke has won all five races so far this season aboard his Mopar Express Lane BMW Motorrad S1000RR and enters the weekend with a commanding 58-point lead. The Lynden, ON native will attempt to secure his fourth career perfect season – something no other rider has ever done once – while also looking to extend his streak of six-consecutive victories at CTMP.

Szoke could clinch the overall crown, 2019 number one plate and the coveted Canada Cup Trophy as early as Saturday’s sixth race on August 11, 2018. 

Things likely won’t be easy for Szoke, however, as it was just one year ago that the veteran endured one of the toughest tests of his career at the hands of rival Samuel Trepanier. The Blysk Racing BMW rider out of St. Isidore, QC led nearly the entirety of race one at CTMP last season before losing pace and settling for second, though he may not make the same mistake if given the opportunity again. 

Trepanier currently sits third in the overall standings but is coming off another thrilling battle with Szoke in round four at Atlantic Motorsport Park, and he will look to continue that momentum by securing his first career Pro victory in the finale doubleheader. 

Another rider who could be poised to secure his first ever win in the premier class is Collingwood, ON’s Ben Young, who has been consistently among Szoke’s biggest challengers over the last few seasons. The Scot-Build BMW youngster sits second in the overall standings and has finished on the podium in every race, with his best performance coming in round two when he nearly secured his inaugural victory. 

Perhaps the most anticipated name to return to the series will be Belfountain, ON’s Kenny Riedmann, who finished second in last year’s championship before entering a brief retirement. The Riedmann Management/Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja rider and three-time Pro Sport Bike champion will likely be another potential challenger to Szoke as he returns to his home track in search of his first career Superbike victory. 

The frontrunning group may also feature a pair of Mississauga, ON riders in Trevor Daley and Matt McBride. The former, riding a OneSpeed Chop Shop Kawasaki, has finished inside the top five in every contest this season and as a result sits fourth overall, while the latter finished third in the season opener aboard his Riders Choice BMW.  

A dark horse to watch could be Peterborough, ON teenager Tomas Casas, who is rumoured to be sporting a new machine at the finale. Currently piloting a Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R6 Sport Bike-class entry, Casas may upgrade to the more powerful YZF-R1, which could lead to his first ever top-five finish in the Superbike class. 

One battle to watch within the weekend could be the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year fight, with Lasalle, QC’s Samuel Desmarais looking to secure the honours with a 28-point lead aboard his Playground Poker Club Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja heading to CTMP. 

Another item of interest could be the return of the chrome-striped Dunlop Q tires, which will be available to all Pro Superbike riders entering the Dalton Timmis Insurance Top-Ten Superpole event as they look to break the current outright circuit Q motorcycle lap record of 1:20.520, set by Szoke on Friday of last year. 

In the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, the 19-year old Casas will look to hold off a number of riders to secure his second-consecutive title as he enters with a reasonably comfortable 43-point lead.  A race win and bonus for most laps lead is worth 52 points. 

Casas has yet to win at CTMP in his Pro Career but finished second in both races to rival Mitch Card in 2017, who also figures to be near the front as he looks to overcome the deficit and win his first ever Pro title. 

Card, riding a Fast Company Yamaha, endured a tough weekend in round four but still finds himself in a position to challenge for the title, though he will likely need to sweep the weekend for a second year in a row if he wishes to do so. 

Another youngster who could upset the front-running duo is Falmouth, NS’s Jacob Shaw-O’Leary, who made his season debut in the round four doubleheader and scored his first career Pro victory as well as a third-place finish aboard a Pro Cycle Honda CBR600RR.

Shaw-O’Leary may not be the only rider to disrupt the front, however, with Laval, QC’s Sebastien Tremblay coming off his first career victory in round four and Sarnia, ON’s Will Hornblower expected to return to the series. Tremblay, riding a DB Moto Kawasaki, sits third in the overall standings following the win, while Hornblower did not attend rounds three or four but finished inside the top five in each of the first two races and has been among the top contenders over the past few seasons. 

One name who will also be returning to the series and could be familiar to motorsport fans is Mississauga, ON’s Doug Lawrence, who will be piloting a Millson Suzuki GSX-R600. The former Canadian Flat Track champion last raced at CTMP in 2017, where he narrowly lost out on the Brooklin Cycle Pro Rookie of the Year title. 

The first piece of hardware to be handed out on the weekend could be in the inaugural Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class, with Blackstock, ON teenager Jake LeClair carrying a massive 87-point lead into the finale. The Yamaha YZF-R3 rider could clinch the title in Saturday’s race barring any difficulties. 

Meanwhile, the two most exciting classes to watch could be the battles in the remaining two Amateur classes. With less than 15 points separating the top two in each division there are many different possible championship scenarios, including possibly the first double-champion since Card in 2012. 

The Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike class will see Mirabel, QC’s Luc LaBranche take a 14-point lead into the weekend aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6, with local rider Michael Van Ek (Ajax, ON) looking to erase that deficit aboard his BMW S1000RR. 

LaBranche could also come away victorious in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class, though he will find himself in the opposite position, as he trails 16-year old Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja phenom Nicolas Meunier (Verdun, QC) by nine points. 

The inaugural Parts Canada Hard Charger Award will also be handed out, which goes to the rider who has shown the most improvement from qualifying to the race. Meunier currently sits tied atop the standings with a number of riders, with the doubleheader finale sure to break the deadlock and allow one rider to come away victorious. 

The weekend is also slated to feature a 40th anniversary celebration of Grand Marshal John Long and his G.S. Tuning BMW R90S from the official collection in Germany, which will commemorate his success at the first ever Canadian Superbike race at CTMP (then Mosport) in 1978. 

Information regarding round five, including the weekend schedule, can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.