BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Jordan Szoke moved a step closer to the 2017 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship in record-setting fashion as he claimed pole position for Saturday’s first race of this weekend’s season-ending doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Friday.
Riding his Mopar Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR the Lynden, Ont. racer turned a lap at one minute, 20.520 seconds (174.367km/h) in Dalton Timmis Insurance SuperPole to claim four points in the championship and extend his lead in the standings to 64 points over Kenny Riedmann heading into this weekend’s pair of races.
A maximum of 52 points is available in each of this weekend’s feature races.
“I didn’t think it was there,” said the 38-year-old Szoke, who took advantage of special issue Dunlop Qualifying tires made available for this race to set his time. “On the first lap I didn’t get a good drive onto the front straight and on the second lap I think I could have done a little better.
“I think the conditions were better than last year and I could have done better, but I’m not complaining.”
Second-year Pro Samuel Trepanier of St-Isidore-de-Laprairie, Que. turned in his best career qualifying performance with the second fastest time of 1:20.832 on the Blysk Racing/Neuroperforma BMW S1000RR and Collingwood, Ont.’s Ben Young was third quickest at 1:21.176 riding the Scot-Build Developments BMW S1000RR.
Szoke has now qualified fastest at all five Mopar CSBK races this season as he chases an unprecedented 12th Canadian Superbike title and third in a row. He received a $600 cheque from Dalton Timmis Insurance and a Rockwell watch courtesy of Motovan for his performance on Friday.
The 38-year-old has swept the last two doubleheaders at CTMP.
“The bike’s good. We had a good set-up last year and it feels pretty solid,” Szoke said. “We’ll probably make a couple of little changes here and there for the race. The track temperature’s a little cooler so that will affect things.”
Trepanier claimed his first career front row Pro Superbike start in his first experience with the Dunlop Qualifying tires. He missed out on the SuperPole session at CTMP last season in his rookie Pro appearance.
“That was an amazing experience,” said Trepanier, who comes into the final round fifth in the Mopar CSBK point standings and set his fast time on his second qualifying lap. “The first lap didn’t feel quite perfect and I thought the tire still felt pretty good. So I opened the throttle a little earlier the second time.”
Young picked up two more points in the Mopar CSBK standings and moved seven points clear of Edie in the battle for third place.
“I tried to get a second quick lap in but I just didn’t have the grip and it was too close,” explained the 23-year-old. “We still are having some front end issues and in the morning we might try stiffening the front end. It should be a close race and it will be a matter of just hanging in there the first half and then going after it at the finish.”
Edie is the only rider to have beaten Szoke this season, having won round two at Grand Bend Motorplex in June. The 21-year-old scored his only other Mopar CSBK win here at CTMP in 2013.
“I was learning every corner and I think if I could have had two more laps and another tire I could have managed something better,” said Edie, who was also having his first experience of the Dunlop Qualifier. “But to be on the front row is amazing and there are a lot of places to pass here. The races should be pretty exciting.”
Riedmann failed to add to his point total and will head the second row for Saturday’s race after lapping at 1:21.442, just .014 secs. behind Edie, on the Sturgess Cycle/Liqui Moly Kawasaki ZX-10R. He will be joined on the second row by Beaconsfield, Que.’s Michael Leon, who recorded a time of 1:21.837 on his Royal Distributing BMW S1000RR and the Riders Choice BMW S1000RR of Mississauga, Ont.’s Matt McBride, who turned in a time of 1:21.921.
The third row of Saturday’s grid features Jeff Williams of Inverary, Ont. on a BMW S1000RR, the Kimpex/Racer5 Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Kars, Ont.’s Andrew Nelson, Mitch Card of Ripley, Ont. aboard the Goderich Toyota/Shoei Helmets Yamaha YZF-R1, and the One Speed/Shoei Kawasaki ZX-10R of Trevor Daley, making his first start of 2017.
While Friday’s qualifying sets the grid for Saturday’s 20-lap Mopar CSBK race, fastest race laps from Saturday will be used to make Sunday’s race grid.
An impressive entry of 35 motorcycles turned times in Mopar Pro Superbike qualifying.
In other action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Card gained a point on Peterborough, Ont.’s Tomas Casas in qualifying for the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class by taking pole position on Friday with a time of 1:24.400 on his Yamaha YZF-R6.
Casas was second quickest at 1:24.495 on the Peterborough Cycle/Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R6 and now leads Card by 76 points in the standings, 246-170.
Will Hornblower of Sarnia, Ont. qualified third fastest at 1:24.901 on his Yamaha YZF-R6 and Falmouth, N.S.’s Jacob Shaw-O’Leary completes the front row for Saturday’s race after turning a lap at 1:25.586 on the O’Leary Brothers Honda CBR600RR.
Jean-Francois Aubin of St-Jerome, Que. and Ste-Brigide, Que.’s Ernest Bernhard both made up ground on Samuel Desmarais in the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike standings. Aubin, currently third in the standings, qualified on pole Friday with a time of 1:25.598 on his Suzuki GSX-R600 and Bernhard, second in points, was close behind in second at 1:25.753 riding a Yamaha YZF-R1. Lasalle, Que.’s Desmarais could only manage 11th on his Kawasaki ZX-6R and now leads Bernhard by 15 points, 195-180 heading into this weekend’s races. Aubin now has 161 points in the standings.
Desmarais tightened the battle for the Shoei Premium Helmets Amateur Sport Bike title by claiming pole position for Saturday’s race, turning a lap of 1:28.041 and moving to within 13 points of class leader Aubin, who was fourth quickest.
Lynden, Ont.’s Amy Szoke was quickest in a combined practice for the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Spec Series competitors and entrants into the Bickle Racing Lightweight Sport Bike Invitational race. Szoke turned a time of 1:43.382 on her Kawasaki Ninja 300. Ninja 300 class points leader Xavier Paradis of Shannon, Que. had the sixth best time overall.
Competition at CTMP continues on Saturday with feature races in all five national classes. Practice begins at 9:00 am with the first race, for the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Championship, set to launch at 1:00 pm.
Off the track, Jordan Szoke's Extreme Show will include freestyle motocross exhibitions throughout the weekend. Additionally, fans at CTMP will have a chance to win one of six Toronto Argonauts Family Packs for a remaining Argos home game.
Tickets are $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday and $35 for Sunday. Children under 16 are free with paid adult admission. For more ticket information, visit www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com