Szoke wins Calabogie Mopar Canadian Superbike opener

CALABOGIE, Ont. – Jordan Szoke of Brantford, Ont. took the early lead in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship point standings with a narrow victory over Keene, Ont.’s Jodi Christie in the season opener, presented by MV Agusta, at Calabogie MotorSports Park on Sunday.

Riding his BMW Motorrad / Mopar Express Lane BMW S1000RR, Szoke led virtually all the way but was constantly under pressure from Christie, who finished just 0.255 seconds behind on his Accelerated Technologies / Honda Canada Honda CBR1000RR.

Sebastien Tremblay of Longueuil, Que. was third on the MotoNation / Laval Crossfit Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Szoke completed the 14 lap race distance of the 5.05km (3.14-mile) Calabogie track in 28 minutes, 22.125 seconds for an average speed of 149.531km/h (89.719 mph).

The win was Szoke’s first in national Superbike competition since July 6 of last year, when he was victorious at Autodrome St-Eustache. A Trials riding accident that left him with a badly broken thumb forced the nine-time Canadian Superbike champ to miss the final two rounds of the season and he finished third in the 2014 point standings.

“This one is very emotional for me,” said Szoke, who now has 55 points to the 46 of Christie in the Mopar Canadian Superbike standings. “I was injured last year and lost my championship hopes, and I was a little skeptical on how I would be coming back. I’m going to remember this win.”

Christie had qualified fastest in Magneti Marelli SuperPole qualifying on Saturday but Szoke, who started second on the grid, grabbed the lead on the opening lap and briefly opened up a lead of about a second to the defending national champion. Christie closed back up however and at one point took the lead, only to have Szoke quickly reply. Christie made another bid for the lead in turn 14 on the final lap but could not complete the pass.

“We gambled on the soft rear tire and thought we could put in some hot laps off the start and get away,” Szoke explained. “But on the third lap the electrics shut off and there was no traction control and no quick shifter, so I had to ride it ‘old school.’

“But the chassis worked fantastic and I think we have yet to unlock the potential of this new BMW. It was an awesome race and a great battle with Jodi, as usual.”

Szoke officially led all 14 laps and turned the race’s fastest lap, 2:00.833 on his third tour.

Christie is also coming off a setback after suffering a dirt bike crash in the spring that left him with internal injuries. He only recently was cleared for competition.

“In general I’m really pleased because two months ago I was in hospital wondering if I would be here,” said Christie, who opted for a medium rear Dunlop. “I was a little worried because we’ve been trying to find rear grip all weekend, but the bike stayed consistent and we had a good race pace. It was a really fun race and I’m looking forward to more.”

Tremblay had only qualified sixth but got up to fourth on the opening lap and enjoyed an early battle with front row qualifiers Sean Huffman and Michael Leon. Tremblay took third from local hero Huffman on lap five and soon pulled away to finish 5.582 secs. clear of the Royal Distributing / Multi-Tact BMW S1000RR of Leon.

“We’ve been chasing a chatter issue all weekend,” explained Tremblay after equaling his best career Canadian Superbike race finish. “But it was steadily getting better and we changed it a bit more this morning.”

After tiring early in the race Leon elected to sit back and save his rear tire. The Beaconsfield, Que. rider put on a push in the final laps and closed up on Huffman, taking fourth two laps from the finish.

Despite losing fourth in the late stages Huffman was pleased to come away with fifth place in his first national Superbike appearance since 2010. The Kemptville, Ont. rider had elected to use a soft Dunlop rear tire on his Endras / Pro 6 Cycle / Forsaken Motorsports BMW S1000RR, which was finished by the end of the race.

Despite riding with a separated shoulder he had suffered in a crash on Saturday, Kenny Riedmann emerged on top of a three-way scrap for sixth on the GE Capital / Sturgess Cycle-backed Kawasaki ZX-10R. The Belfountain, Ont. rider held off the Motovan / RMP Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Hamilton’s Ross Millson and Ottawa rider Jim Proulx aboard his Yamaha YZF-R1.

Scarborough, Ont.’s Chris Murray-Audain, riding a BMW S1000RR, and the OCM Motor Sports Kawasaki ZX-10R of Montreal’s Franklyn Dominguez completed the top 10, respectively.

Mississauga, Ont.’s Trevor Daley and Gatineau, Que. rider Tim Robinson were engaged in a fierce battle for sixth for most of the race, but crashed together in the second last turn on lap 12. Daley was able to restart his One Speed / Suzuki Canada / Parts Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000 and limped across the line in 12th but the 613 Motorsports / Gym-Max BMW of Robinson was eliminated from the race.

In other action at Calabogie MotorSports Park, Christie took the lead on lap two and pulled away to win the 10-lap opening round of the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike Championship on his Honda CBR600RR. Starting from pole position, Christie snatched the lead from defending series champion Riedmann on the opening lap and pulled clear for a 2.625-sec. win.

After leading the first lap Riedmann was caught up in a fierce battle for second for the remainder of the race. The rider of the Riedmann Racing / Sturgess Cycle-backed Triumph 675R just held off Philippe Masse and Darren James at the line

St-Hyacinthe, Que.’s Masse grabbed the final podium spot with his Pete’s Superbike Kawasaki ZX-6R by about half a bike length from the Ruthless Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 of Deep Cove, B.C.’s James.

Elie Daccache of Newcastle, Ont. took fifth on his Yamaha YZF-R6 after qualifying second but suffering a practice crash on Sunday morning.

After a poor start that left him fifth at the end of the opening lap Stephane Chimot completed his domination of the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike class at Calabogie with a clear win on Sunday. Riding a Honda CBR1000RR the St-Lin Laurentides, Que. rider grabbed the lead on lap four of 10 and pulled away to a 12.903-sec. victory over the BMW S1000RR of Ottawa’s Jason Thoms and Oshawa, Ont. rider Derrick Whyte aboard a Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Alex Coelho of Brossard, Que. won the Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike race on a Kawasaki ZX-6R, beating Ottawa’s Chris Brant by just 0.914 secs. on his Honda CBR600RR. Another Honda, ridden by Notre Dame d’Ile Perrot, Que.’s Martin Cote completed the podium.

Louie Raffa of Ste-Marthe, Que. rode his Honda GT650 Hawk to the overall victory in the 10-lap Vintage Road Racing Association Period 4 event. 

The official Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship website,, will have full race video coverage of Sunday’s Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike and Mopar Pro Superbike feature opening National events.

The Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship resumes at Autodrome St-Eustache in St-Eustache, Que. June 26-28.