Kawasaki Team Face Triumphs and Tribulations at Mosport
July 20, 2007
|July 20, 2007|
A dry summer in southern Ontario came to a halt this past weekend as cool weather and rain hit the track at Mosport International Raceway for rounds four and five of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship. Despite the weather, 2006 Double Canadian Champion Jordan Szoke was able to take two of a possible four wins for the Canadian Kawasaki Factory Road Race Team. The forth round also brought with it a first for Szoke's teammate, Brett McCormick who clinched his first podium in the Superbike Championship in just four weekends.
The Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike round held on Saturday was less then desirable for the riders as the conditions were extremely tricky. In fact, it took considerable time to complete the race but when the checkered flag waved, it was the Kawasaki ZX-6R of Szoke who crossed the line first. The Brantford Ontario native put on a spectacular display to get to the front. During the race, Szoke crashed in the entry to Moss corner but was able to take advantage of a race stoppage to remount and return to his pit. The entire Kawasaki team was involved to get Szoke and his ZX-6R back on the grid before the restart of the race. Unfortunately, Jordan had to restart from the back but from there the 28 year old sliced through the pack, needing just five laps to go from last to first. "When I restarted the race, I thought the track is slippery, let's just score some points. If I can get a top five, I'd be happy. Soon after that I found myself battling for the lead."
Due to the conditions Saturday afternoon, the first of two Superbike races were postponed to Sunday morning. By then the weather had cleared and under sunny skies Szoke, aboard his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, captured his 4th straight win of the season after a last lap pass for the lead. For McCormick, after running a strong 4th during the event, the news that McBain had been penalized for a jump start came as a fantastic surprise as it now placed him in 3rd position. In just four races, McCormick has become a solid force in the Parts Canada Superbike series and he was elated to earn his first Superbike podium. "I had a great battle with Kevin Lacombe for most of the race. I thought I finished 4th and didn't find out about McBain's penalty until I got into the pits. I was thrilled. The ZX-10R is a great bike and getting both Jordan and myself on the podium shows how awesome the team is!" Kawasaki Team Manager Jeff Comello was just as pleased with his rookie rider. "After all the speculation that a 15 year old couldn't handle the intricacies of a Superbike, Brett was able to prove the critics wrong. He's been running extremely well this season."
Round five of the Superbike Championship and the Pro 600 final were not as kind to the Kawasaki team. The afternoon Superbike race was yet again forced to run in inconsistent wet conditions. While in 3rd, Szoke crashed sliding off the slick track just behind his ZX-10R but without losing a beat, he jumped up, restarted his battered bike and was off managing to salvage a 7th place finish. McCormick, who had never been in a wet race aboard the ZX-10R, paced himself finishing a solid 6th. In the second Pro 600 race of the weekend, the results were extremely frustrating for the team. While running in 4th, McCormick crashed in turn 3 and would end up crossing the line 12th after remounting. As for Szoke, his race was almost as heartbreaking. According to Comello, "Jordan was working his way forward in the lead pack when he experienced an electrical gremlin and was forced to retire. It's hard to take weekends like this one. The team and our riders are working very hard and sometimes things just don't go as planned. But we did manage to maintain our lead in both championships and I know Jordan and Brett are going to be very determined to make a point at Shubenacadie."
The Canadian Kawasaki Factory Road Race Team are eagerly awaiting round six at Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia (August 9th-12th) to get back in action.
For the latest series information, visit kawasakiracing.ca and cdnsuperbike.com. In addition, all seven races on the will be broadcast on TSN and RDS.