SHANNONVILLE, Ont. – What a difference a year makes.
In the off-season following the 2011 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship, Keene, Ont.’s Jodi Christie thought it might be time to pack things in. Despite winning the Pro Sport Bike national title, it was uncertain that he would be able to raise the money to defend his crown.
But some words of wisdom from his mentor and chief backer, John Sharrard of Accelerated Technologies convinced Christie to persevere, and as a result he comes into this weekend’s opening round of the 2013 season not only bidding for a third straight Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike title, but his first Pro Superbike national championship as well.
“There’s no question it’s a different feeling this year,” said the 20-year-old as he prepared for the start of the new season at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Friday. “After winning a championship in 2011 and not having the funding to carry on, it was tough to handle. But John’s support is what got us rolling. His message to me was basically that it was not an option not to defend the title. And he helped me along the entire year.”
Christie won the final five races to repeat as Pro Sport Bike champion in 2012, and has a shot this season to become only the third rider to take three straight class titles. He also raced a virtually stock Honda CBR1000RR in the final three Superbike rounds and made an excellent impression, scoring a sensational third at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in his debut on the bike.
“Tremblant was a great turnaround weekend for us,” Christie said. “It gave us great momentum going to the final round at Mosport [Canadian Tire Motorsport Park]. But we were really down on power there and it was tough for us. We really had brought a knife to a gunfight.”
There should be no such worries this year. Christie has increased backing from Honda Canada for the 2013 season and will race a Honda CBR1000RR in the Superbike class as well as Honda’s brand new CBR600RR in Pro Sport Bike.
He got some valuable track time at Shannonville in May at the opening RACE SuperSeries regional round, which proved especially critical as rain washed out much of Friday’s scheduled Mopar CSBK practice.
“It’s not so bad, and it’s the same for everybody,” Christie said of the conditions. “In a worst case scenario we do have some set-ups to fall back on. We’ll just have to make more effective use of our dry track time.”
Christie’s chief rivals for the Superbike championship, Brantford, Ont.’s Jordan Szoke and Alex Welsh of Uxbridge, Ont. also chose to skip the wet practice sessions on Friday. Szoke is going for his ninth national Superbike crown on the Waznie Racing / BMW Motorrad Canada / Parts Canada BMW S1000RR.
This weekend’s event at Shannonville, which is co-promoted with Belleville, Ont.’s West City Powersports Honda, will also see the opening rounds of the Harley-Davidson Canada XR1200 Cup, Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike Championship and Bazzaz / Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike Championship.
National action is rounded out by a doubleheader for the Honda CBR250R National Race Series.
Qualifying, including the battle for Magneti Marelli SuperPole in the Mopar Pro Superbike division, takes place on Saturday. The first of two Honda CBR250R National Race Series rounds goes Saturday afternoon, with feature races in all six national classes set for Sunday.
For ticket information call 1-800-959-8955 613-969-1906. Or go to www.shannonville.com.
Video coverage of the Mopar Pro Superbike, Harley-Davidson Canada XR1200 Cup and Saturday’s Honda CBR250R National will be available on www.csbk.ca, as well as highlights from the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike race.