Szoke wins rain-delayed race two at AMP
Shubenacadie, ON – July 21, 2019 – Four-time defending Mopar Pro Superbike champion Jordan Szoke rebounded from a tough Saturday to record his second win of the season on Sunday, holding off rival Ben Young in changing conditions at round four of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Atlantic Motorsport Park, presented by Pro Cycle, LS2 Helmets, and Liqui Moly.
After a severe storm delayed the start of the feature race, the grid finally got going in wet conditions, with Young grabbing the holeshot and pacing the field through the opening laps. The Collingwood, ON native appeared set to extend his championship lead as he began to pull away, but it wasn’t long before Szoke had managed to work his way up from fourth on the grid and settled into second place.
With the track drying and the rain tires beginning to wear, Szoke managed to make his move on lap nine, taking the race lead from Young just a day after crashing out of race one. The Lynden, ON veteran briefly came under pressure from Young once more, but ultimately managed to stretch his lead and secure a much-needed victory aboard his Mopar Express Lane Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
“I didn’t get the best of starts, but I typically do pretty well in wet races, so I was able to work my way to Ben just as the track started to dry out a bit and the tires really came together,” Szoke said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle, because Ben would really have to make some big mistakes to throw this one away, but anything can happen and this is a good start so now all we can do is look forward to CTMP.”
It was a smart ride for Young, who looked close to battling Szoke for the weekend sweep before ultimately settling for second place aboard his Barrie Trim/Scot-Build BMW S1000RR, leaving the East Coast with a 59-point lead over his rival.
“I actually didn’t think we were going to get to race because the weather was so bad. Then when it did start, I was able to get the holeshot which is normally pretty great, but it’s actually hard to lead sometimes in the wet,” Young said. “I sat with Jordan for a few laps and thought maybe I could pull it off, but I didn’t want to push too hard and once we ran into lapped traffic I decided to just bring home as many points as possible and play the long game heading into CTMP.”
Stealing the spotlight of Sunday’s race was the youngster who joined the two front-runners on the podium, as Tomas Casas scored the best result of his Pro Superbike career with a historic third-place finish aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R1.
The 20-year old out of Peterborough, ON became the youngest podium finisher since Bodhie Edie in 2013, and the first Yamaha to finish inside the top-three since Edie’s third-place finish at CTMP in 2017.
“It’s hard to even put anything into words, because it just feels so awesome to be up here with these guys that I basically grew up watching,” Casas said. “I got an okay start, but I was able to pick off a few guys as the race went on, and I honestly think the rain did me a favour because I was able to relax a little and just ride a smart race.”
The result moves the youngster back into fourth in the overall standings and just five points behind Samuel Trepanier, who nearly caught Casas on the final lap as the St. Isidore, QC native mounted a late comeback aboard his Blysk Racing BMW.
Rounding out the top five for the second time this weekend was Inverary, ON veteran Jeff Williams, as the former Superbike race winner climbs to sixth in the standings after a strong round four aboard his G. Williams Paving BMW.
The top rookie of race two was Ottawa, ON native Vivian Mathews, as the Windmill Motorsports Yamaha rider capitalized on the changing conditions to record a career-best finish of ninth.
As a result, Mathews will pull within just ten points of top rookie Nicolas Meunier in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year fight, after the Verdun, QC youngster elected not to participate aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
Will Hornblower extended his points lead in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, leading from start to finish for his second victory of the season and first since the season opener.
After costing himself with a cautious approach on Saturday, the Sarnia, ON native said he was planning to be more aggressive in race two, and made good on that promise after getting a brilliant start aboard his Bluestreak Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
“That aggressive strategy seemed to work I guess,” Hornblower joked after the race. “Yesterday was really frustrating, because if you try to follow here then you just tire yourself out. I knew I needed a good start, and I got a really great one, so from there I just tried to lay it down early and pull away.”
Hornblower also benefited from a strong performance behind him, as Sebastien Tremblay was able to put himself between the points leader and Casas to score his best finish of the season.
The Mirabel, QC native continues to recover from a broken collarbone suffered in round two but showed no signs of pain on Sunday, surpassing Casas at the midway point and settling into a comfortable second-place finish aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
“I didn’t really get a good start, so I tried to hang with them in third for the first half and then plan something after that,” Tremblay said. “But then Tomas began to lose his pace a bit, and I didn’t want to let Will get away, but he didn’t make any mistakes so I was forced to settle for second. It’s not the result we wanted, but we’re happy.”
It was a tough race for Casas, who was feeling the effects of the extreme heat as he battled through his third of four races of the weekend. It even looked like the two-time defending champion would be forced to miss the podium, as he came under fire from Samuel Desmarais in the late stages before the Lasalle, QC native crashed out.
While the youngster was able to hang on to secure his fourth consecutive podium aboard his Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R6, the result see’s his deficit grow to 34 points entering the season-finale doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“The pace was fast, and it was really, really hot, and after a while I just hit a wall,” the visibly exhausted Casas said. “This weekend’s taking a lot out of me, and Will was so consistent. I hope Sam’s okay, he was all over me, so it’s good to at least get the podium out of it.”
Desmarais would wind up 13th aboard his Playground Poker Club Kawasaki as a result of having caused a red flag, promoting Meunier to the best result of his Pro career in fourth. The 17-year old moved comfortably into sixth in the season standings as a result, as he continues to enjoy perhaps the most productive rookie campaign for a teenager since Casas in 2015.
Hornblower wasn’t the only Yamaha rider to win in convincing fashion on Sunday, however, as hometown favourite Avery Hart took another commanding victory in the TSN Motorcycle Experience Lightweight Sport Bike class.
The Princeville, NS native jumped out to an early start and never looked back, winning by over five seconds aboard his WRBF Yamaha YZF-R3. As a result, Hart trims his points deficit to just 14 points behind Ben LeClair, and didn’t hold back when mentioning his recent hot streak in comparison to LeClair.
“This championship is a perfect example of not starting something you can’t finish,” he said. “It’s going to be really close at CTMP, but winning at your home track is amazing, and this helps us out a lot, so I’m looking forward to winning that championship in a couple weeks.”
The comments had an even bigger impact considering LeClair’s third-place finish, as the Blackstock, ON teenager came out on the losing side of a terrific battle with fellow youngster Matthew Simpson. The Bowmanville, ON native managed to secure his best career finish in second place, as he returned to the podium for the first time since round one aboard his Evans Racing Honda CBR500.
As for LeClair, the younger brother of last year’s champion will return home in the midst of a brutal late-season slide, as he has not won since the very first race of the season aboard his bLU cRU Yamaha machine.
Christian Allard propelled his way to a dominant victory in the Mopar Express Lane Amateur Superbike race, winning by over 13 seconds in wet conditions aboard his Turcotte Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja sport bike.
Allard was the lone front-row rider who elected to start after a second burst of rain, and the Chambly, QC native used the extra asphalt to his advantage, cruising to his first Superbike victory of the year to climb to second in the overall standings.
Allard also continued to stretch his lead in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class, as he scored his second victory in a row and second of the day in dominant fashion over Jake LeClair.
The Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider was able to grab the holeshot from third on the grid and never looked back, cruising to a comfortable win over LeClair and his bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R6 machine as he takes an even 20-point lead into the season finale doubleheader at CTMP.
Allard wasn’t the only “winner” in the race on Sunday, however, as Sarah-Michelle Cotton was named the round four recipient of the Parts Canada Hard Charger Award. The Mont-St-Gregoire, QC rider was able to improve her time by over four seconds from qualifying to the race aboard her Kawasaki, the biggest improvement of the season.
The series will return to action for the final time in 2019 at the BMW Motorrad Doubleheader Weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, August 9-11.
Full results from the weekend’s action can be found at the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.