ST-EUSTACHE, Que. – Jordan Szoke pipped Jodi Christie to the fastest time in a dramatic Magneti Marelli SuperPole qualifying session for the second round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Autodrome St-Eustache on Saturday.
Moments after Christie had broken the four-year-old track record with a time of 44.999 seconds on his Accelerated Technologies / Honda Canada Honda CBR1000RR SP, Szoke responded with a time of 44.812 on the BMW Motorrad / Mopar Express Lane BMW S1000RR.
Szoke’s effort gave the Brantford, Ont. racer four points toward his bid to regain the Canadian Superbike title from Christie, who picked up three points for qualifying second. Szoke goes into Sunday’s 22-lap race with 59 points to Christie’s 49.
The previous lap record of 45.012 seconds was set by Saskatoon’s Brett McCormick in 2011.
Szoke’s average speed around the 1.93km (1.2-mile) 10-turn road course was 142.194km/h (85.316 mph).
“I had a clear lap and I just put my head down and had a nice and clean lap, no moments,” said Szoke, who will try to become the first racer to win four straight national Superbike events at Autodrome St-Eustache in Sunday’s 22-lap race. “We’re still dealing with some electronics stuff on the new bike. We can’t see all the data we need so we’re just using our experience and using the other bike a lot.”
Sebastein Tremblay of Longueuil, Que. qualified third with a time of 46.779 on his MotoNation / CrossFit Laval Kawasaki ZX-10R and solidified his third place in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings with two more points, to give him 39.
Beaconsfield, Que.’s Michael Leon completes the front row for Sunday’s race after turning a lap at 46.956 aboard the Royal Distributing / Multi-Tact BMW S1000RR.
Christie was fastest in the 25-minute prequalifying session that set the top 10 for the 10-minute Magneti Marelli showdown. Szoke took a run at McCormick’s lap record early with a lap at 45.089 before Christie hit the track to try his hand. The Keene, Ont. racer’s first flying tour was a 45.039 before he followed up with a 44.999. Szoke then replied with his time at 44.812 to lock down pole position.
“I thought that 45.0 was a really good lap and I pulled it in,” Szoke said. “Then I saw Jodi’s time and I realized I had to go back out and try again.
“I like this track – it’s fun and challenging, and this bike is fantastic. We’re still developing it. To do these times is a great credit to the bike but also to the Dunlop tires.”
Christie spent considerable time in prequalifying refining the handling of his Honda SP before setting the pace in that session with a time of 45.505 seconds. He admitted to a couple of mistakes on his fastest SuperPole laps that might have prevented him from snatching his second pole position of the season.
“I screwed up the first couple of corners and that really affects your drive onto the straight,” said Christie, who finished a close second to Szoke in last year’s race here. “But I think we have a comfortable race pace and a good set-up for tomorrow.”
Tremblay scored his first career Pro Superbike podium finish when he placed third at St-Eustache last year and he was also third at this season’s opener at Calabogie MotorSports Park two weeks ago.
“There’s still a couple of tenths to be gained,” Tremblay said. “We need more stability in the transitions but we found something this morning and we’re going to continue to go in that direction.”
Leon equaled his fourth place qualifying effort from Calabogie after a difficult start to his weekend during practice on Friday when he could manage no better than seventh in either practice session.
“I wasn’t expecting the front row heading into qualifying but after we were third in the prequalifying session I thought we might have a chance,” Leon said. “We made a lot of changes after Friday and the bike is definitely better. It’s working well but when it gets out of shape it’s unmanageable. I can’t override it – you have to go slow to be fast around here.”
Kristopher Garvie of Caledon, Ont. made a late jump to grab the fifth quickest qualifying time of 46.956 on his Mikey Moto / Wall Energy Honda CBR1000RR. He will be joined on the second row of the grid by the Suzuki Canada / Parts Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Trevor Daley and Kenny Riedmann aboard the GE Capital / Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Mississauga, Ont.’s Daley lapped at 47.126 while Belfountain, Ont. rider Riedmann managed a 47.269 before he suffered a fall late in the Magneti Marelli SuperPole session. Riedmann, already dealing with a shoulder injury suffered at Calabogie, was not hurt.
The top 10 qualifiers are rounded out by Will Hornblower of Sarnia, Ont. on the Blue Streak Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, Ste-Marthe, Que.’s Louie Raffa aboard the Centre Hamel Honda CBR600RR and top rookie qualifier Tomas Casas of Peterborough, Ont. on the Peterborough Cycle Salvage Yamaha YZF-R6.
In other action at Autodrome St-Eustache, Christie claimed his second straight pole position in the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike class with a time of 46.343 on his Accelerated Technologies / Motovan Honda CBR600RR. Christie was almost a second clear of the Yamaha YZF-R6 ridden by Hornblower, which was second quickest at 47.257.
Raffa was third fastest at 47.506 on his Honda CBR600RR and defending class champion Riedmann completes the front row for Sunday’s race after recording a time of 47.534 on his Triumph 675R.
Alex Coelho of Brossard, Que. was quickest in Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike qualifying with a time of 48.494 on his Kawasaki ZX-6R.
London, Ont.’s Phillip Leckie waited until the waning moments of Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike qualifying to claim his first career national pole position with a time of 48.938 on his Suzuki GSX-R600.
Action at Autodrome St-Eustache concludes Sunday with feature races for all four national classes. Practice begins at 10:00 with the first race, for the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike competitors, set to launch at 1:00 pm.
For ticket information call (450) 472-6222 or (514) 591-4388, or visit www.autodrome.ca.
The official Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship website, www.csbk.ca, will have full race video coverage of this weekend’s Mopar Pro Superbike race, as well as the Hindle Pro Sport Bike feature.