Szoke aims to stretch lead. Welsh looking to keep momentum.

August 5, 2009

TORONTO, Ont. - Fresh off a sweep of the doubleheader at Mosport International Raceway, Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider Jordan Szoke will try to extend his lead in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship point standings at round six of the series at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, N.S. this weekend.

The Brantford, Ont. rider comes into the penultimate round of the 2009 season with a 25-point lead in the standings and in an excellent position to win an unprecedented fourth straight national Superbike title and record-tying sixth career crown.

Szoke has three Superbike victories on the 2.56km (1.6-mile) AMP circuit, including one last year on the venerable Ninja ZX-10R.

"It's going to be a tough race and the other guys are all flying right now," said the 30-year-old Szoke. "I have to stay as close to the front as possible and not take any unnecessary risks. The start will be the most important thing - getting a good launch and settling in early."

Szoke also feels his excellent physical conditioning could come into play in the race over the tight and technical track.

"It can get hot and humid at ‘Shubie'," he said. "The Carousel is about the only place you have time to pull off a tear-off. The rest of the track you're giving it everything you got. It's a tough place."

Szoke also heads to Nova Scotia with a 27-point lead in his bid for a fourth straight Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike Championship with the all new Ninja ZX-6R. He has three wins this year and has qualified fastest in every race but one on the bike.

"The Sport Bike times will be really impressive," he said. "It's a pretty awesome bike and I'm pretty sure our race pace will surprise a lot of people."

Szoke's Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team-mate Alex Welsh is riding a wave of momentum coming to AMP. The 21-year-old from Uxbridge, Ont. earned his first career national Superbike podium with a third-place finish at Mosport on his Ninja ZX-10R and is now fourth in the Parts Canada Superbike standings.

"The Superbike is coming along pretty well and I was pleased with Mosport," said the second-year Pro rider, who is in his first season on a Superbike. "I was at the shop a couple of times over the past couple of weeks talking with my crew chief Jeremy Sharrard and we've got a couple of ideas for this weekend.

"It's one of those tough races and you want the bike to be compliant. The easier the bike is to ride the better. You need it to get you through the laps consistently."

Welsh is now third in the Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike standings following two finishes on the box at Mosport, including a runner-up result behind Szoke to give the Canadian Kawasaki Motors team an impressive 1-2 with the Ninja ZX-6R.

"I can't say enough about the new bike and now we're at the point where I think I, the bike and the team deserve to be," Welsh said. "I'm looking forward to the last two rounds."

Practice at Atlantic Motorsport Park opens Friday, August 7 with qualifying scheduled for both the Parts Canada Superbike and Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike classes on Saturday August 8.

The 18-lap Pro Sport Bike race is set to launch at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, August 9 with the 22-lap Superbike race to follow at 3:00 p.m.

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