Szoke and McCormick shine at Atlantic Motorsport Park
August 12, 2008
It was another stellar weekend for Canadian Kawasaki Racing as the Parts Canada Superbike and Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike Championships visited Atlantic Motorsport Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia for the fifth and sixth rounds of the series. Podium finishes all around for both Jordan Szoke and Brett McCormick saw the team play a dominant role in both classes on both days.
For Szoke, who recorded a second and third place finish in Pro 600 action at the double-header AMP weekend, the quest for the championship is a done deal. The Brantford, Ontario native secured enough points in Sunday's race to clinch the championship, his third consecutive title win in the series. A victory in Saturday's 22 lap Superbike feature saw Szoke achieve another career milestone, tying Steve Crevier's record for the most wins in Canadian Superbike competition at 26 wins!
"Things really rolled our way this weekend. We had great setups going for both bikes and we basically decided to play it smart," said Szoke. "Saturday I rode for the Superbike win because I was in a good position the entire race and felt really comfortable. It was unfortunate that Kevin [Lacombe] crashed in the first 600 race taking him out of contention for the championship. For me it meant the pressure was off, of course, so I rode for points both days."
The double-header showdown at Shubie began on an auspicious note for both Szoke and his teammate McCormick as they posted excellent qualifying times in both classes. On the way to his first ever pole position, sixteen-year-old teen sensation McCormick ripped up the 2.56km (1.6-mile) AMP circuit in one minute, 7.728 seconds on the all new ZX-10R. Szoke recorded third with a 1:07.772 to also snare a front row starting position. In Pro 600 qualifying, McCormick grabbed the final front row starting position kicking out a time of 1.08.069 on the ZX-6R, just 0.597 seconds off the pole. Szoke booked the fifth fastest time with 1:08.105.
In Saturday's races, Szoke settled for a second place finish after his main rival for the championship, Kevin Lacombe, crashed out at the midway point. McCormick put the icing on the cake for the Canadian Kawasaki Racing Team by claiming the final podium slot. In the 22 lap Superbike final, showers soaked the track prior to the start of the race but by the time the lights went green it was dry enough for riders to push to the limit. Defending champion Szoke was engaged in a tight, race-long duel with Clint McBain. But when it counted at the checkered flag, Szoke took the win earning full points plus two bonus points for the most laps lead. McCormick just missed the podium having to take satisfaction with fourth. Unfortunately, an error in tire choice left him unable to capitalize on his pole position.
Day two of the AMP showdown on Sunday would result in four more podiums for Canadian Kawasaki Racing. An on fire Brett McCormick recorded an impressive second place finish in Pro 600 action, a position he also nailed down at the season opener in Calabogie. And with the championship title just a few heartbeats away Jordan Szoke rode a cool, calm, and collected race to finish a safe third. In the final Superbike race of the weekend, the teammates again claimed second and third place finishes. Unfortunately, both riders got held up early in the race allowing eventual winner Clint McBain to put some distance on the pursuit group. McCormick, who had not fully recovered from a serious crash at Rounds 3/4 of the series in Mosport, rode a brilliant race to chalk up another second place finish while Szoke sealed the podium with third.
"When considering I had quite a bit of bad luck to deal with at the earlier rounds, this weekend was definitely a turning point for me," said McCormick. "It definitely puts me in a good frame of mind for top results at the final round in Shannonville."
Szoke, for his part, settled for third and another solid points infusion that sees him head to Shannonville on Labour Day weekend with a comfortable margin over second in the series McBain. Szoke, looking for his second three-peat of the season, has 287 points on the scoreboard to McBain's 245 points and Lacombe's 205.
"The guys really stepped up when they needed to this weekend and the results speak for themselves. Everybody on the team did an awesome job. The bike setups allowed for total reliability and optimum racing performance," said team manager Jeff Comello.
Be sure to check in at Kawasakiracing.ca and cdnsuperbike.com from August 29th to 31st for results and pictures of the series finale from Shannonville Motorsports Park.