Szoke heads to top track. Welsh ready to roll again.

June 23, 2009

TORONTO, Ont. (June 23) - No one has had more success at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park than Jordan Szoke, and the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory rider will be hoping to add to that legacy in the third round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship this weekend.

The five-time Canadian Superbike champion has won eight races on the 3.2km (2.0-mile) road course, double the total of the next most successful racer. The 30-year-old from Brantford, Ont. comes into this weekend's event playing catch-up in the Parts Canada Superbike Championship standings, six points out of first place with two of seven races in the books.

"I've had a lot of success at Race City and I'm excited to get back there," says Szoke, who scored his first career Superbike national win in Calgary for the Canadian Kawasaki Motors team in 1998. "I don't know why, but I always seem to get along well with this place."

Although he sits second in the Superbike championship Szoke says the upcoming races on the schedule at Race City and then Mosport International Raceway should favour his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

"It's nice to be going back to tracks I enjoy and excel at," he says. "With Mike Crompton I'm guaranteed to have the strongest motors out there and we always seem to be able to get the bike off the corners well. The Kawasaki is also good under braking too. All that will help us at Race City."

Szoke also thinks the Calgary venue will suit his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in the Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike class. The three-time defending class champion is also second in that category, but only two points out of the top spot.

"I still believe this new ZX-6R is the best 600 ever built and I think as we get into more real race tracks like here and Mosport it will be the bike to beat," Szoke says. "Through that twisty section from turn three to turn six and through the chicane, where you have to carry some speed, that's where this bike will really excel."

Szoke's Canadian Kawasaki Motors team-mate Alex Welsh is fighting fit after a qualifying crash at the previous event in Mirabel, Que. left him with a sore shoulder and back. He heads to Calgary sixth in the Superbike standings and fifth in the Pro Sport Bike rankings.

"I took a few days off [after Mirabel] and physically I'm fine right now," the 21-year-old from Uxbridge, Ont. says. "I started training again last Wednesday and now I'm 100 per cent."

In his first season as a factory Superbike rider the 2008 HJC Pro Rookie of the Year is looking forward to exploiting the speed of the Ninja ZX-10R on Race City's long front straight.

"The Kawasaki's are so fast, I know that will play into my favour," he says. "And our equipment is probably the best set up of anybody's out there. I'm looking forward to utilizing what a Superbike is."

Welsh thinks he can make significant improvements in the Pro Sport Bike class.

"I've just got to forget about the last round," he says. "I know I can be riding up front. We're just missing a little bit. But I have a great group of guys helping me out and they'll get things figured out fast."

The Race City weekend kicks off with practice Friday, June 26. Qualifying for both the Parts Canada Superbike and Yoshimura Pro Sport Bike categories will be held Saturday, June 27.

The 16-lap Pro Sport Bike feature will open Sunday's racing action at 12:45 p.m. with the Superbike main event, set for 22 laps, scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start.

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