TORONTO, Ont. – The path to an 11th national Superbike crown promises to be a daunting one for Jordan Szoke as the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship motorcycle road racing series opens with the Superbike Challenge 2016 at Shannonville Motorsport Park this weekend.
The 37-year-old resident of Lynden, Ont. will face one of the deepest Superbike fields assembled in several years as he tries to maintain his mastery over the Canadian series. Last year the Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR rider put together the second perfect season of his career in claiming the Mopar CSBK crown. Included in that winning run was a milestone 50th career Canadian Superbike national triumph.
In addition to having won the last seven Mopar CSBK races, Szoke has also triumphed in the two most recent national rounds to be held on Shannonville’s 2.45km (1.53-mile) 11-turn ‘Pro’ layout.
This season marks the return of Mopar CSBK action to TSN, with support from Dalton Timmis Insurance. Dalton Timmis Insurance presents Mopar CSBK on TSN will consist of half-hour programs from each of the seven national rounds, beginning in June. Dalton Timmis Insurance will also be a co-sponsor of the online coverage of the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class.
Dalton Timmis Insurance is also sponsoring the Pro Superbike Qualifying Award, in which the top five qualifiers at each Mopar CSBK round will share in a $2,000 purse and a year-end top qualifier will be crowned.
Among the challengers ranged against Szoke this season will be 25-year-old Kenny Riedmann. The Belfountain, Ont. racer finished runner-up to Szoke in last year’s championship standings with three second-place finishes to his credit. For the coming season Riedmann will be aboard the latest Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja with backing from Sturgess Cycle, Liqui Moly and Speed and Strength.
Last year’s top Quebec-based performer Sebastien Tremblay of Mirabel returns with the Laval Moto / MotoNation Kawasaki ZX-10R after finishing fourth in the 2015 series while Mississauga, Ont.’s Trevor Daley will be looking to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish with the OneSpeed/Rockstar/Motovan Yamaha YZF-R1M.
A pair of former race winners returns to the national tour this season. Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Lacombe of Granby, Que. will ride a Yamaha YZF-R1 with backing from Motosport St-Cesaire, Motovan and Kutvec Amerika. Also riding an R1 will be 20-year-old Bodhi Edie of Warman, Sask., with support coming from Trip-Dub Racing, Z1 CycleTech and Parts Canada.
Collingwood, Ont.’s Ben Young, 22, will make his national Superbike debut riding a BMW of Toronto / Tim Horton’s BMW Motorrad-supported BMW S1000RR and last year’s Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike champion Derrick Whyte of Oshawa, Ont. steps up to the Pro ranks aboard a Snow City Cycle / Lucas Oils / Z1 Cycle Tech Kawasaki ZX-10R.
This season SMP celebrates its 40th anniversary of racing competition. The first motorcycle event was held on Thanksgiving Weekend, 1976.
In addition to his Pro Superbike program, Riedmann will be bidding for a third straight crown in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Championship. This year Riedmann will go for the title on a Kawasaki ZX-6R after claiming the 2014 and 2015 crowns for Triumph.
The Triumph challenge will be led by two-time national Superbike champion Michael Taylor of Toronto, who makes his return to racing aboard a GP Bikes / Goderich Toyota / Mr. Metal-backed Triumph Daytona 675S.
Also expected to feature in the Pro Sport Bike class will be former co-Sunoco Fuels / BCR Pro Rookie of the Year Tomas Casas. The 18-year-old from Peterborough, Ont. will ride a Peterborough Cycle Salvage / Parts Canada / BCR-backed Yamaha YZF-R6.
This weekend’s racing also includes the resumption of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Spec Series. Eric Quintin of Notre Dame de l’Ile Perrot, Que. won the season opener, also at Shannonville, on May 14.
Competition begins on Friday with practice for all five national classes, plus the second round of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 series. Qualifying, including the Dalton Timmis Insurance Pro Superbike Top 10 Qualifier, goes on Saturday, along with another round for the Kawasaki Ninja 300 competitors.
Feature races in all classes will be held Sunday.
Tickets are available through the track website (www.shannonville.com) or through csbk.ca. Weekend passes can be purchased for $30 online or $40 at the gate.
Recent Shannonville Motorsport Park Superbike National Wins
2014 – Jordan Szoke (BMW S1000RR)
2013 – Jordan Szoke (BMW S1000RR)
2012 – Andrew Nelson (BMW S1000RR)
2011 – Brett McCormick / Brett McCormick (BMW S1000RR)
2009 – Brett McCormick (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
Shannonville Motorsport Park Fast Facts
…BMW enjoys a streak of five straight wins at Shannonville Motorsport Park. Aboard the venerable S1000RR, Jordan Szoke won the two most recent SMP Mopar Pro CSBK races in 2013 and 2014. Andrew Nelson was victorious in 2012 and Brett McCormick swept a doubleheader in 2011.
…Besides Szoke, Granby, Que.’s Kevin Lacombe is the only other former Shanonnville Canadian Pro Superbike winner entered for this weekend’s Mopar Pro CSBK event. Lacombe claimed his first career win in the 2002 season finale and was also victorious in 2006.
…Over the past 10 years that SMP has hosted the opening round of the Canadian Superbike series, the race winner has gone on to take the title six times. The most recent racer to do so was Szoke in 2013. He also used victory in the Shannonville opener as springboard to a title in 2000 and 2006. Others to pull of the feat were Steve Crevier in 2001 and 2003, and Francis Martin in 2005.