The Mopar CSBK Championship started their Dunlop Tire Test at the Area27 course near Osoyoos, British Columbia, as guests of OPP Racing’s Track Days on Monday afternoon, August 19. Enjoying an exclusive session as part of OPP’s regular customer event, Jordan Szoke and Ben Young were aboard the same equipment they put on the podium on week earlier in the National series finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, ON.
Newly-crowned 2020 Mopar CSBK National Champion Ben Young of Collingwood, ON, was pleased with his first day on-course at Area27 Motorsport Park, a 16 turn, 4.82 kilometer long circuit that has a strong reputation as a challenging venue.
“The weather was perfect, and the track conditions were great once we got some rubber laid down,” explained the pilot of the Barrie Trim/Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW S1000RR. “Once we got comfortable on the track, we could learn that it has a really nice flow to it.
“It’s going to be a difficult track to really nail down and get the best of,” continued Young, “and I’m looking forward to the possibility of racing here. I think it would be good to bring the CSBK Nationals here, the potential is definitely here for this track, and everyone here seems really keen to make something happen and bring the racing series out here, so fingers crossed.”
Young is still feeling the effects of his big SuperPole Qualifying fall at C.T.M.P., admitting that “it feels good to be back on the bike, but I have quite a bit of neck pain, some issues with my chest and my sternum. It’s been OK today; we’ll see how I feel tonight. But it’s great to be back riding, this is what we love and I’m pretty sure I can work with it.”
13-time Canadian National overall Champion Jordan Szoke of Lynden, ON, was happy with his Mopar Express Lane/Blackfoot-backed Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja, and equally pleased to be riding on a road race circuit in B.C. for the first time since the Nationals twenty years ago at the temporary airport track in Chilliwack.
“You can see why the World Championship guys have long careers,” started Szoke. “These long tracks don’t beat you up, I’m not tired! 15 laps around Shubenacadie (Nova Scotia) or St-Eustache (Quebec) really take it out of you, it’s just a different mentality – you really have to focus on being smooth and carrying lots of speed.
“It’s such a different mind set to ride these tracks that have a high level of traction with no bumps. It’s amazing and it’s fun. A couple of corners are unique, might not be my favorites, but there are a lot that are fun and a great challenge, lots of lean angle, really cool.
“Turn one is super tricky, you can carry a lot of speed, but it backs around on you, and it will reward the guy who can find those couple of extra miles per hour, heading onto the long straight away.”
Szoke explained that the layout is special, “a little like Calabogie (Ontario), that kind of grip and pavement, and like Suzuka (Japan), since there is so much to it. It’s not as open as I thought, a lot of track in a small area, and it reminds me of some of our ice tracks like that.
“You lift up your head a little bit and you see the beautiful valley we are in, the mountains, it’s really nice, super exciting and really, really cool,” smiled Szoke.
“The last two tracks we were at with the Nationals, ‘Shubie’ and Mosport, have lots of blind corners, over hills, elevation changes, back and forth, and that is exactly what this is, only on a bigger scale. I love racing at C.T.M.P. because of the fans and the racing and the history, but I don’t like that it just turns into a drafting battle, it’s the nature of the beast these days with our current bikes. Nobody can get away.
“But at this place, you could get away. It is a real race track that way. It has lots of line choices because of the quality of the pavement, and that should make for some great racing. There are places where you could run it in on someone, or get around on the outside at the next corner. So, it opens up the door to be a very good racetrack.”