Thirteen-time National champion Jordan Szoke will enter round two of the 2020 Canadian Superbike Championship in familiar territory, as the points leader will look to extend his grasp atop the Pro Superbike standings at Canadian Tire Motorcycle Park this weekend, August 15-16, presented by Pro6 Cycle.
Szoke opened the revised season with a bang on July 25, winning both races in a one-day doubleheader at Calabogie Motorsport Park to score a perfect 104 points aboard his Canada General Warranty Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja. The Lynden, ON native won’t have any spectators to celebrate with at CTMP as entry remains limited to only competitors and crew, but that won’t discourage Szoke from seeking out his 17th and 18th career wins at the “Old Mosport” circuit – albeit his first since 2017.
Another factor drawing attention to the always popular “old Mosport” annual CSBK round is the recent, complete repaving of the famous 4.05 km long facility. The current lap record for motorcycles stands at 1:20.52, set by Szoke on a BMW during CSBK Qualifying in 2017. The race record is also held by Szoke on a S1000RR, at 1:21.021 in 2016, and if track conditions are favorable, a new outright record could be at hand.
Despite his 25-point lead atop the standings, Szoke won’t be without potential challengers in round two, with veteran Jeff Williams posing his biggest threat after a terrific battle in race two at Calabogie. Williams is coming off his best result since his lone career victory in 1999, but the former factory rider has found race-winning pace as he comes to grips with his brand-new BMW S1000RR machine.
Another challenger aboard new machinery is long-time frontrunner Kenny Riedmann. Twice a Superbike victor at CTMP, once in each of the past two seasons, Belfountain, ON-based Riedmann is filling in for Trevor Daley of Mississauga, ON.
Daley enters CTMP in second in the championship after a pair of podiums in round one aboard his M4 Suzuki Canada GSX-R1000R. However, health concerns related to Daley’s schedule means he will not attend, and instead Riedmann will take over the controls of the works GSX-R1000. Fans will be watching to see how quickly Riedmann can adapt to the new mount, and he was aboard a Suzuki at the prestigious Bol D’Or Endurance classic in France a few years ago.
Williams will not be the only BMW rider up front, however, as Beaconsfield, QC veteran Michael Leon will look to make up for a race two DNF with a pair of strong results aboard his Royal Distributing-backed machine. Leon captured his first career podium in race one at Calabogie but fell to tenth in the standings after a mechanical issue later in the day, as he will try to bounce back with a return to the podium at CTMP.
One of the more surprising stories to watch will be top rookie Samuel Guerin, who came out of nowhere to qualify on the front row in his Pro debut aboard his EFC Group BMW. Guerin struggled to replicate that pace when the lights went out, but the privateer won both races at CTMP as an Amateur a year ago and could be a dark horse for the podium in his return to the circuit.
Series organizers have confirmed that CSBK will recognize a 2020 Pro Superbike Feature class Champ for 2020. However, due the Covid19 Pandemic disruptions and travel and health restrictions, the Canada Cup and a range of other yearly honours will not be awarded.
Champions will not be recognized in the other four National classes, and special awards will not be presented for the abbreviated season. Top Amateur performers from 2020 will not be required to move to the Pro level in 2021.
While Sebastian Tremblay will also enter as an under-the-radar contender for the podium in the Superbike class, the fan-favourite will likely be turning his focus towards his dominant program in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike category. The Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja rider turned in a brilliant season opener that featured a run-away victory in Sport Bike and a pair of top-five finishes in the Superbike class.
Tremblay was joined on the podium at Calabogie by a pair of Turcotte Performance Kawasaki teammates in Vincent Levillian and rookie Christian Allard, but the trio may be on the defensive as a pair of high-profile riders will make their 2020 CSBK debuts in round two – including defending champion Will Hornblower.
Hornblower was unable to travel to the season opener, but that won’t prevent the Sarnia, ON rider from at least putting some pressure on arch-rival Tremblay aboard his Yamaha Canada YZF-R6 after a two-win, seven-podium campaign in 2019.
The reigning champion will not be the only frontrunner returning, however, as last year’s fourth-place finisher David MacKay is set to make his 2020 debut aboard his Mack Attack Racing Kawasaki. The youngster found the podium twice in 2019 and was amongst the most consistent finishers on the grid, as he searches for his first career National victory.
The AIM Insurance Amateur Lightweight class will also prepare for doubleheader action at CTMP, as teenager Mackenzie Weil looks for his first triumph at his home circuit aboard his Kawasaki Ninja 400. Weil scored a comfortable round one victory in the “junior” class and will look to make it three in a row in round two, as Kawasaki chases their first championship since the introduction of the class in 2018.
One of the most wide-open races could be the MotorcycleCourse.com Amateur Superbike category, as round one winner and championship leader Marc Labrossiere is expected to face a much different grid in round two after their season opener was pushed to July 26 over time restrictions at Calabogie.
The full schedule for round two at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park can be found on the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.