Race day at round 3 of the 2017 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship ended as most had expected, with Jordan Szoke (Lynden, ON) winning the 22-lap Feature Race in convincing fashion at Autodrome St-Eustache.
Most of the action-filled race day was under constant threat of rain, but all races were contested under mainly dry conditions, with some light rain falling during both Pro contests.
Polesitter Szoke took the lead early in Pro Superbike and got away from the field immediately, pulling clear for a 6.203-second victory on his Mopar Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR ahead of the Z1/Parts Canada Yamaha R1 of Bodhi Edie and the Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly Kawasaki ZX-10RR of Kenny Riedmann. It marked the seventh consecutive win at St-Eustache for the 11-time Canadian Superbike champion, who first won at the Montreal-area track back in 2002.
"The bike was fantastic all weekend, right out of the box," said Szoke on the podium after his 61st Canadian Superbike victory. "We have a great setup here, and this is my strongest track. Our bike's running amazing, and we had it dialled for the race.
"I was getting pretty angry when it was starting to rain," continued Szoke, acknowledging the threatening pre-race conditions. "I'm a great rain rider, but I knew if we had a dry track, we had the bike." Szoke's BMW actually started to slow in the final turn, and he was barely able to complete his in-lap. The champ suspected a minor electronic glitch.
Szoke will carry a 33-point lead into the round 4 double header at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, NS.
"That was a blast," said runner-up Edie after an engaging race-long duel with Riedmann for second. "It was pretty much a battle between Kenny and I from lap 3 or 4; we had multiple passes in different corners on each lap, inside and outside. I got a pretty good start from the second row, but unfortunately Jordan got out front and got away right away. He had the pace all weekend, and I'm happy with second, but it's time to chase the big fish. We'll get there."
"It was a super fun race, and that's why we ride motorcycles," said Riedmann, who earned his third podium finish of the year. "We're not making a living out here, and it's just so much fun when you get into a race-long battle like that. I wish I would have come out on top, but I'm just happy to be having fun on a motorcycle, because I haven't been having much fun lately. Now my team is ready to regroup and start winning races."
In an exciting flag-to-flag Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike race, Tomas Casas (Peterborough, ON) established a gap early on his Peterborough Cycle/Parts Canada Yamaha R6 ahead of polesitter Mitch Card (Ripley, ON) and fourth qualifier Frank Trombino (Etobicoke, ON), while Kristopher Garvie (Caledon, ON) looked to play the spoiler on his Riedmann Management/Tracksport Technologies Kawasaki ZX-6R.
In a thrilling finish, Trombino got his ProStar/White Gold Financial Services-backed Honda CBR600RR around Card's Goderich Toyota/Shoei Premium Helmets Yamaha and quicky began to reel in Casas. Trombino got close, but Casas jammed the door shut on the last lap to earn his second victory in three races this season. Card got third, just ahead of Garvie, with Louie Raffa (Ste-Marthe, QC) rounding out the top five on his Raffa Racing/Liqui Moly Honda.
"The goal was to get a good start, because I knew I could run a faster pace than the other guys," said the 18-year-old Casas, who built upon his points lead going into the remaining four races of the season. "We made some suspension changes last night, but it was still bottoming out when I pushed it. I was at the limit, but I just kept my rhythm going, and I hope I can keep that momentum going at Shubenacadie."
Kawasaki rider Samuel Desmarais (Lasalle, QC) was the big winner in the Amateur category, winning both the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike and Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike races. It was the second time Desmarais has 'done the double' after winning both classes at the season opener in Shannonville in May.
The weekend's second Kawasaki Ninja 300 race was an exciting one for the strong spectator crowd at St-Eustache. Four riders factored into the lead battle for more than half the race before three-time 2017 race winner Xavier Paradis (Shannon, QC) and the previous day's Ninja victor, Jared Walker (Oakville, ON), made it a two-horse race up front. Paradis managed to edge last lap leader Walker en route to a nail-biting 0.120-second victory to increase his existing points lead in the class. Amy Szoke (Lynden, ON) came in a close third, with Johann Plancque (St-Jerome, QC) taking fourth.
The Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship continues with round 4 at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, NS on July 14-16. For full results, photos and video coverage, visit www.csbk.ca.