Autodrome St-Eustache Mopar CSBK Key Takeaways

Superbike Points Chase Focus

While the Mopar CSBK tour is past half done in terms of weekends after the Quebec event at Autodrome St-Eustache (three down, two to go), the remaining events are double headers for the Pro divisions: so Atlantic Motorsport Park July 13-16 and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (August 18-20) will be central to the Championship ambitions of Mopar CSBK Front runners.

Jordan Szoke returned to his winning ways in Quebec after the streak-breaking interruption of upstart Bodhi Edie at Grand Bend’s second race, and “Jordan of the Jungle” stands atop the standings as he has done ever since his dirt bike thumb injury in August of 2014.

There are well over 200 Series Championship points up for grabs during the remainder of 2017, depending on results from races, Dalton Timmis Insurance SuperPole sessions and laps led in races.  Insiders will say that the title chase is wide open – except for the fact that St-Eustache victor Szoke is on top, as usual, aboard the Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR, looking for his 12th career and third straight Championship.

Here is the current top ten overall Mopar Pro Superbike Points Breakdown:

Position

Points

Name

Machine

1

160

Jordan Szoke

BMW S1000RR

2

124

Bodhi Edie

Yamaha YZF-R1

3

120

Kenny Riedmann

Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja

4

86

Ben Young

BMW S1000RR

5

74

Samuel Trepanier

BMW S1000RR

6

73

Jeff Williams

BMW S1000RR

7

65

Andrew Nelson

Suzuki GSX-R1000

8

59

Frank Trombino

Honda CBR1000RR

9

54

Michael Leon

BMW S1000RR

10

47

Tim Toldnes

Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja

Szoke leads with 160 points, and his detailed success with laps led and Dalton Timmis Insurance SuperPole bonus points (perfect in both so far this year) means he is almost half-a-race ahead in the standings.  Szoke’s goal every season is to clinch the overall Canadian title early so that he can race without restriction at CTMP, where the typical drafting battle at the front makes racing-for-points a task he doesn’t relish.

Of course, his rivals know all about Szoke’s well-proven title prowess, and know they need to mix it up with the points leader early and often around the “roller coaster” at Shubenacadie in just over a week’s time. 

For Edie and the Z-1/Parts Canada backed Yamaha squad, his quick rise to the front ranks of the Canadian National tour is a major story line, but taking the fight to Szoke is a big ask for a rider with limited Superbike experience.  However his all-out battle for second at St-Eustache with Kenny Riedmann was certainly one of the best Superbike battles in recent memory.

Perhaps the bigger challenge at A.M.P. will come from the Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly-backed Kawasaki of Riedmann, now in his third year in the Feature class for the “mean green.”  Last year on Sunday out East, Riedmann led most of the race and came close to ending Szoke’s record-setting winning streak.

Second year Superbike competitor and reigning Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year Ben Young is also, like Riedmann, looking for a break-through win after regular podium appearances in the Feature class.  Young’s points total reflects his fall at round two while fighting for the lead, so like St-Eustache faller Michel Leon (Royal Distributing/Bell BMW), he is a little lower in the rankings than he should be.

A true dark horse at Atlantic Motorsport Park will be Frank Trombino, back on the tour with his ProStar/White Gold Financial Honda CBR1000RR.  Although he missed the Shannonville opener and has yet to qualify well in Superbike, ever-impressive Trombino is a factor in races and a very experienced and successful performer at A.M.P.

In a season where the overall pace of the front runners has increased considerably, tenth overall Tim Toldnes has also impressed on his Inglis Cycle/Hellfury sponsored ex-Riedmann Kawasaki.  Tenth in the standings, Toldnes will be making his first trip out East and aiming to hang on to the BCR Rookie Pro points lead with a pair of consistent performances.

Casas Builds Title Momentum

In Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike action, young racers Tomas Casas and Mitch Card were pre-season title favourites with their Yamaha R6s, and this duo now head the middleweight Championship battle, Casas ahead with 147 points to the 120 total of Card.  However, it would be foolish to ignore third overall Trombino at 99 points or Kris Garvie in fourth with a total of 96.

At St-Eustache, Casas took control and showed Championship form, holding off a very aggressive late race, damp track challenge from Trombino to earn the win.  It was the second Pro victory for the 18-year-old, giving him the same race winning total as 21-year-old Card.

Casas is a regular at A.M.P. with his Peterborough Cycle/Parts Canada Yamaha, battling for the lead with Riedmann is Sport Bike last year before a fall climbing the hill to the final turn ended his challenge.  Card, sponsored by Shoei and Vortex, has not raced out east since his double Amateur title winning tour back in 2013.

Meanwhile Trombino has battled the likes of “Shubie” legends Steve Crevier and Kevin Lacombe around those famous 11 turns north of Halifax, and will be looking for his second and third win in four starts during A.M.P. middleweight action.

Returning to the tour in style aboard an ex-works “parts bin” Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja, Garvie has backing from Riedmann Management and Reliable Mechanical, but hasn’t had the best of luck in races.  Still, Garvie has run at the front in all three rounds, and will be aiming for the podium twice during the east coast A.M.P. weekend.

East Coast Aces

For the first time in a long time, there was no east coast representation at the St-Eustache CSBK National.  Rookie Pro contender Jacob Shaw-O’Leary, from Falmouth, Nova Scotia, was injured at Grand Bend and skipped round three while his hand heals.  Shaw-O’Leary aims to return to Pro action at home at A.M.P. with his Pro Cycle supported Honda CBR600RR.

Shaw-O’Leary’s team-mate, 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Spec Series National Champ Brandon Pemberton, made the big step up to the Shoei Helmets Amateur Sport Bike class in 2017.  After placing tenth at Grand Bend, the Windsor, Nova Scotia based racer crashed at a Society of ARL Regional event at A.M.P. in late June, and opted not to head to Quebec for the next National. Pemberton also aims to return to action at home in Shubenacadie aboard his Pro Cycle-backed Yamaha YZF-R6.

Meanwhile, the top rider on the east coast for the past few seasons, Kawasaki’s Beaver Bank, N.S. based Ron Munroe, injured his neck at the opening Regional event at A.M.P. and will not compete again this season.  

Veteran Cory Canfield, seventh in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike last year aboard a Suzuki GSX-R600, is expected to be one of the top locals in the Pro National divisions. As well, a strong grid of Lightweight SuperSport racers is expected to feature in one of the two local support divisions of the Society of ARL that are invited to compete with the CSBK regulars July 13-16.

Amateur Attractions

At St-Eustache, locals Ernest Bernhard (Yamaha YZF-R1) and Samuel Desmarais (Kawasaki ZX-6R) disputed the lead on track in Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike, but at the finish Bernhard’s five second penalty meant that Desmarais scored his second victory of the young CSBK season.  In the points table, Bernhard and Desmarais are tied atop the standings with 140 points, while Aprilia pilot Dave Natale is third with 116 points, just ahead of Jean-Francois Aubin’s Suzuki GSX-R600 with 114.

This means the battle up front is much too close to call, and with three races down and three to go, all four have a good shot at the Amateur Superbike National crown.  It could be argued that the middleweight machines of Desmarais and Aubin might have an edge at Atlantic Motorsport Park, but the final two races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August will certainly favour the 1000cc big bikes.

In Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike, Grand Bend victor Aubin heads the standings with 141 points while double victor Desmarais is still recovering from his Grand Bend woes with 114 points.  Also in with a shout is Vincent Levillain (Yamaha YZF-R6) at 79 points, tied in the standings with Danny Cayer (Suzuki), and Yamaha mounted Aaron Burns with 63 points.  If any of these riders find form at A.M.P., it could make a big difference for their National title ambitions.

Paradis Closes On Kawasaki Crown

Jared Walker and Xavier Paradis traded Kawasaki Ninja 300 spec series race victories at Autodrome St-Eustache, in some of the best race action of an exciting and busy program.  However in the overall points standings, Paradis has more than a complete race in hand, with four rounds remaining in the ten race all-Kaw Championship.

Paradis is first with 297 points, chased by Walker at 239 and a gaining-form Amy Szoke at 225.  The class is expected to pick up some locals at the next National counter on the east coast, before the second anniversary of the class for identical 300cc twins at C.T.M.P. in August.    

As well, a couple of young riders are rumoured to be joining the Ninja Series once they have reached the crucial age of 15 – the minimum allowed for competition at the National level. So a larger than usual grid is expected for the final 2017 Ninja events at A.M.P. and C.T.M.P.