Jordan Szoke to be inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Canadian motorcycle host and announcer Frank Wood regularly refers to veteran Canadian National motorcycle racing star Jordan Szoke of Brantford, ON, as “The People’s Champion.”  This might be the shortest route to describe the unparalleled career of Szoke, undoubtedly one of the most successful racers in the history of National roadracing competition in any country.  

Szoke is a multi-discipline success story, a throwback to racers of early eras – he rides all kinds of off-road, ice races in the winter, and competes at the top level on bicycles.  Szoke has scored the Canadian Observed Trails Championship four times.

Here is a summary of his top-level success:  Szoke has 14 Pro Superbike (Overall Canadian) titles, and five National crowns in the middleweight Pro Sport Bike National division.  In total, Szoke has 78 Feature class wins over three decades, with 119 Pro Superbike Podiums – a remarkable hit ratio from 150 total career starts.

Twenty years ago, no one expected any of Steve Crevier’s (H of F class of 2018) records to be beaten:  he is second in wins at 26 and earned the overall number one plate six times.   

Szoke’s father Bob was a road racer, and with the solid support of mother Sandy, Jordan started out in Vintage Road Racing Association (VRRA) at Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) in 1994, age 15.  Soon the family were budget racing with a Honda CBX250 singe street machine, Szoke winning his first crown with Shannonville-based RACE in 1995.  He then moved to a unique, 250 Grand Prix class MuZ Yamaha based single, earning another regional crown.

In 1997 Szoke moved to the mainstream in the CSBK Nationals as a rookie Pro on his famously flexi yellow Pennzoil Honda CBR600F3. Later that season, Szoke took a Kawasaki ZX-7R Ninja out of a head office display to make his Superbike debut at Shubenacadie, placing fourth.  In the next and final National of the year at Shannonville, Szoke fought for the lead in the rain and made it to the podium in third, earning his nickname, “Jordan of the Jungle.”  In his final fall outing on the borrowed Ninja, Szoke showed well at a Loudon FormulaUSA event, befriending series Champ David Sadowski.

Szoke also raced in the U.S. with the famed Fast by Ferracci Ducati team during his breakout 1999 season, when boss Eraldo Ferracci saw the teenager win in the rain at Race City in Calgary during a Speedvision television broadcast.

Moving to a brand-new Kawasaki Superbike in 1998, Szoke defeated his more experienced team-mates Don Munroe (H of F class of 2006) and Michael Taylor (H of F class of 2019), both two-time number ones, to earn the Canada Cup in his first attempt.  It was one of the closest title fights in the history of the series.  

Unfortunately, tire and sponsor woes meant Szoke was in the cold heading into 1999, until Honda Canada moved in to activate a long-term plan.

Szoke had success running his own effort with Honda’s CBR900RR in 1999, but in 2000 Honda provided the legendary RC51 twin and full in-house support to partner a back-from-the-U.S.A. Steve Crevier.  Szoke won four of six races and earned a job in the U.S. with the Austin Harley-Davidson VR1000 superbike program, scoring top privateer honours in 2001.  

In 2002 Szoke started in the U.S. with Ebsco Suzuki and a podium at Daytona, and a last-minute deal with Alberta’s Coors Light Racing Blackfoot Suzuki squad brought another overall Canadian road race number one.

After frustrating results in a return to Honda Canada that still yielded second in the Superbike Nationals with long-time supporter Scott Miller of Fast Company, Szoke joined Kawasaki in 2006 for the switch to spec Pirelli rubber in CSBK. 

Szoke established an unprecedented dynasty with Kawasaki for this new era of Canadian racing, taking the title in both televised Pro classes for the next four years in a row.  

When the economy suffered a downturn, Szoke ran his own Honda program and had a perfect season in Superbike in 2010 – the first rider ever to do so in Canada.  Since then, Szoke has also earned perfect seasons for the BMW Motorrad Canada program in 2015 and 2016 – he also set the consecutive win record at an incredible 15 in a row.

During the 2010s, Szoke enjoyed a strong period with Mopar support on both Kawasaki and BMW Motorrad Canada Superbikes, and a recent return for a third stint with Canadian Kawasaki included the 2020 title – his unprecedented 14th overall. 

Szoke missed the 2022 season due to injuries suffered in motocross training and was forced to work through further health issues in 2023. His enlarged, home-based Kawasaki equipe included rising star Trevor Dion last season. Still, Szoke was back at the front and on the podium in one of the final races of the season at Shannonville.

Pre-pandemic, Szoke also ran his own stunt show/trails demonstration company, providing a rough idea of his wide-ranging influence on Canadian bike sport.

Szoke will be inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Toronto on Saturday, November 4.

The 16th Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction Banquet and Reunion will include an evening’s presentation for various individuals on stage, including CSBK founder Colin Fraser.  This event takes place on at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale in Mississauga, northwest of Toronto, Ontario.

Further information, including ticket availability, will be published on Facebook and on the official site at canmoto.ca.