Jordan Szoke moved one step closer to a possible Pro Superbike National crown on Saturday, winning a dramatic race two at Calabogie Motorsports Park in the Canadian Superbike Championship season opener invitational, sponsored by IBEW and presented by Pro6 Cycle.
Szoke once again led every lap across the line, earning himself a perfect 104-points on the weekend, although this time it was far different than his dominant race one victory. The General Warranty Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja rider nearly conceded the holeshot to Michael Leon off the start, but Szoke managed to wrestle the lead from his veteran counterpart before Leon retired just a few laps later due to a mechanical issue aboard his Royal Distributing BMW S1000RR.
After appearing to be on his way towards another comfortable victory, Szoke’s gap was quickly eaten up by former National Superbike race winner Jeff Williams, who got a terrific start from the second row aboard his BMW. Williams managed to put pressure on Szoke for nearly the entire race, but the convincing passing opportunity never materialized as the veteran was forced to settle for second – his best result since his victory in 1999.
“I did my best lap of the weekend and the gap still went to plus-zero, so I knew Jeff was flying back there,” Szoke said. “I just tried to run a consistent race and keep the lead, and my last lap ended up being my fastest which just shows you the level of the bike.”
Despite his best result in over two decades, Williams was still optimistic he could have beat the 13-time National champion after visiting Calabogie in recent weeks.
“Right around lap six, I thought maybe I could have done it, so I just put my head down and went for it,” Williams said. “I was trying to figure out some bold lines the last time I was here in case I could make a pass, and I got him a few times, but I just couldn’t make anything stick.”
The two were joined by Trevor Daley on the podium after the Mississauga, ON native mounted a late comeback bid aboard his M4 Suzuki Canada GSX-R1000R, moving Daley into second in the championship leaving Calabogie – albeit 26 points behind his championship rival in Szoke. Daley’s comeback charge was hindered by curfew issues that caused the race to be shortened by two laps just prior to the start.
“It was certainly exciting. We had some real close battles out there today, but we’re all really strong around here too, so it ended up being some pretty fun racing,” Daley said. “I would have liked a bit of a better start, because I could see Jordan getting away, but overall it was a good day.”
Daley also donated $100 to the Revs 4 Rett charity along with a $50 purse to the winner of each race, which Szoke chose to also give to the Revs 4 Rett cause.
Daley finished just a few seconds clear of Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider Sebastian Tremblay in fourth, who managed to make a late push despite running his third race of the day aboard a lesser-powered ZX-6R Kawasaki Ninja sport bike.
The top five was rounded out by one of the surprise stories of the weekend, as rookie Samuel Guerin scored an impressive fifth place after turning heads with a front-row qualifying spot aboard his EFC Group BMW.
It was a tough end to the day for Leon, who appeared set to challenge for his first Pro Superbike title after his first career podium in race one, but now finds himself tenth in the standings after the season opener.
“Iron man” Tremblay also enjoyed a near flawless day in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, grabbing the holeshot and leading the entire way as he cruised to a seven-second victory over Turcotte Performance teammate’s Vincent Levillian and rookie Christian Allard, all riding Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja’s.
Tremblay smashed the lap record by nearly a full second earlier in the day in qualifying, eclipsing the 2:04.142 mark ahead of Levillian, and that pace was no different in the race as the Mirabel, QC native took a much-needed victory after a tough year in 2019.
“We really battled last year, so I just wanted to come out here and put my head down and get a gap,” Tremblay said. “I know the track very well, and I knew the pace was there, but it was still some really impressive racing this weekend.”
Levillian overcame a brief battle with Allard at the midway point to score a career best result in second, while the latter impressed with a podium in his Pro debut after winning the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class last season.
Teenager Mack Weil took his first career victory in the AIM Insurance Amateur Lightweight class, overcoming an early challenge from rookie Kawasaki rider Mike Maguire to win by nearly seven seconds aboard his Ninja 400.
The youngster entered 2020 as one of the favourites to win the “junior” series and delivered in round one, finishing over six seconds clear of Maguire in second, who enjoyed a terrific National debut aboard his Ninja 400, while Paul Etienne Courtois completed the podium in third aboard his Honda CBR500R.
The MotorcycleCourse.com Amateur Superbike race was postponed due to time curfews and will instead run during the Pro6 Cycle trackday on Sunday morning, with Jordan Royds on pole aboard his Yamaha YZF-R1.
Series officials will examine the results of the invitational weekend and determine further plans for the 2020 season at a later date, as CSBK continues to experiment with it’s non-spectator return to racing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full results from Saturday’s action can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.