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Kawasaki Race Team dominates at season’s finale in Shannonville

September 2, 2008

2008 PARTS CANADA SUPERBIKE CHAMPION
2008 YOSHIMURA PRO600 SPORT BIKE CHAMPION
2008 Inside Motorcycles Team OF THE YEAR


With another championship title, a 1-2 finish in Pro 600 Sport Bike, a win in Superbike, and receiving the Inside Motorcycles Team of the Year award, it was a picture perfect weekend for the Canadian Kawasaki Race Team at the final round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship. After enduring a mostly wet-dry-wet start to the weekend, ideal weather greeted the teams, riders, and fans at Shannonville Motorsport Park, where racing history was made by Jordan Szoke and his teammate Brett McCormick on Sunday. In addition to winning the 600 showdown, Szoke secured his third consecutive Superbike Championship title while McCormick claimed his first career Pro Superbike win at just 17 years old.

"We couldn't have written a better end to the season. Actually, the entire season unfolded like a dream for us. We had awesome bikes, extremely talented riders, and a dedicated group of mechanics that is second to none," said team manager Jeff Comello. "Winning both classes today, adding a third consecutive Superbike Championship to a third consecutive 600 Championship, and being awarded Team of the Year is as sweet as it gets." 

It was obvious from practice onward that a confident Kawasaki Race Team came to Shannonville with only one goal in mind: dominate both pro classes and reclaim the highly coveted Superbike championship title. For starters, an on fire McCormick scored his second consecutive pole position of the season with a blistering lap of 1.04.656 around the 2.45-KM Shannonville Pro Track, after also setting the fastest lap during the 10-minute warm-up before the start of official Superpole qualifying. McCormick's lap time was just tenths of a second shy of Szoke's record setting lap in 2007. Szoke, who was also on a flyer, had a small moment off the back straight, but still managed to record the 2nd fastest lap at 1:04.741. In Pro 600 Sport Bike action, Szoke secured a 4th place qualifying position while McCormick snared 6th.

Szoke, who clinched his third consecutive Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike title at the penultimate round of the series in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, capped off the season with style by convincingly winning the final 600 round of 2008. On his way to victory, the Brantford, Ontario native powered his ZX-6R to the fastest lap of the 18 lap race. McCormick, who was engaged in an epic battle with Kevin Lacombe for second place, made it a 1-2 Kawasaki finish by sticking a pass on Lacombe on the last lap.

In the Superbike feature, McCormick was determined to put himself and the ZX-10R in the winners circle and after battling for 20 laps with Lacombe and Chris Perris he did just that. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native grabbed the lead from pole position going into the first corner with Lacombe and Peris close behind. McCormick then set the early pace at the front, earning him two bonus points for most laps lead, with Lacombe responding in the later stages and taking the lead. But in the end a relentless McCormick would force his way back into the lead with less than two laps to go and hold off Lacombe to the checkered for his first ever Pro Superbike win.

"My day started off a bit on the downside, as I woke up with an earache, but it couldn't have ended any better. I had a good run in 600 and an even better run in Superbike. I'm happy as can be right now," said McCormick. "There is nothing like ending the season on a positive note. I couldn't have asked for anything more and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the Kawasaki Race Team for all their support and faith in me."

Meanwhile, Szoke secured his fifth national Superbike title after finishing the race in a safe sixth place. Although 12th would have more than sufficed to complete the task, Szoke found a clear spot just behind the lead pack and cruised to a 6th place finish. The final Parts Canada Superbike standings see Szoke on top with 317 points, 40 points clear of second place Clint McBain.

"This will be a season to remember, that's for sure. Although all the ingredients were there for me to successfully defend my 600 and Superbike titles, I'm really relieved that it's over. It's such a weight off your shoulders to get the job done and just enjoy the feelings that come with it," said Szoke. "It's pretty awesome to get three championships in both classes three years in a row. I couldn't be happier, not just for myself but for the entire team. Everybody put so much into this."

Comello sums up the 2008 campaign: "At the beginning of the season, there was a lot of speculation regarding our team and riders and whether we could rise to the challenge again. I think we proved that our entire team is committed, talented, and one of the best in the sport. The ability to look at each weekend as a new challenge and not become complacent, even for a moment, has enabled us to raise our game each year. This continues to be a key factor in bringing home both of these championships."

For the latest series information, visit http://www.kawasakiracing.ca/ and http://www.cdnsuperbike.com/.  Starting this fall, TSN will have the complete coverage from each race of the 2008 Parts Canada Superbike Championship beginning with Round 1 from Calabogie Motorsports Park. The series will also be broadcast in French on RDS during the same period.

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