Three-time defending champion Jordan Szoke will be looking to add another name to the list of tracks he has won at, as the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship heads to the Grand Bend Motorplex for round two this weekend, June 8-10.
The current Mopar Pro Superbike championship leader out of Lynden, ON finished second to Warman, SK's Bodhi Edie when the facility hosted its inaugural National event a year ago, the only race Szoke has failed to win in the last three seasons.
The Mopar Express Lane BMW Motorrad S1000RR rider enters the weekend's action in first place in the point standings after dominating the season opener at Shannonville Motorsport Park, though he will likely be joined once again in round two by front-runner Ben Young, who also pilots a BMW S1000RR.
Young, out of Collingwood, ON, finished in second-place at Shannonville and will be looking for a strong finish in his return to Grand Bend after crashing out of the fight for the lead in last year's race.
Behind the front-runners, it will also be an opportunity for a pair of Quebec-born BMW riders to improve their championship standing after tough season opener at Shannonville. St. Isidore's Samuel Trepanier, widely believed to be among Szoke's biggest contenders entering the season, had a huge crash early in the weekend and would later settle for fifth in the race, while Beaconsfield's Michael Leon crashed out after running inside the top five early on.
Trevor Daley, the only non-BMW rider to finish inside the top seven in round one, is also expected to head to Grand Bend for the first time. The Kawasaki ZX-10R pilot finished fourth at Shannonville and will look to keep things going as the season progresses.
A number of front-runners at the SOAR regional series should also benefit from their added experience at the track, which was a common theme in last year's race. Mitch Card (Ripley, ON), a frequent podium finisher at SOAR events, will be among the biggest names looking to play spoiler, as the Yamaha YZF-R1 rider tries to improve upon his 10th place finish from the opening round.
Card will also look to do the same in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, after finishing second to 19-year old defending champion Tomas Casas in the first race. Casas (Peterborough, ON), who lost at Grand Bend last season to veteran Frank Trombino, will be looking to hold off fellow Yamaha YZF-R6 riders Card and Will Hornblower for his first victory at the track.
Hornblower, a Sarnia, ON native who has won regional Superbike races aboard a Sport Bike, may be the best bet to keep Casas waiting another year. Another strong choice for the Pro Sport Bike victory is Hamilton, ON’s David McKay on a Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja. MacKay earned his first career Pro podium at the Shannonville opener, and crashed from the fight for second in the same class a year ago.
In the brand new Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class, competition could be very unpredictable as many of the front-runners will be heading to the track for the first time. Teenager Jake LeClair, who won both races at Shannonville in dominant fashion aboard a Yamaha YZF-R3, struggled at the facility in 2017 as part of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 class, crashing in race one and settling for fourth in round two.
In the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike class, it could be Shannonville runner-up Dave Natale who finds the top of the box after finishing second in Grand Bend a year ago aboard his Aprilia RSV4RR. However, championship leader Michael Van Ek and his BMW S1000RR could be poised to make it two straight victories, despite not contesting the National event here last season.
The Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class will be among the most interesting races as all of the top five finishers from the season opener will be heading to the facility for the first time. Points leader Luc LaBranche, piloting a Yamaha YZF-R6, could continue his strong start, but may face a tough challenge from 15-year old sensation Nicolas Meunier, who finished third at Shannonville aboard a Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
Full details regarding the weekend's action, including the event schedule and track information, can be found on the series' official website at www.csbk.ca.