Moments of the Decade: CSBK in the 2010s
Toronto, ON – As the new year begins and the 2019 season comes to an end, so too does the decade of the 2010s. After ten Canada Cup’s and 66 Pro Superbike races, the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship featured everything from the dominance of the Jordan Szoke era to the emergence of a World Superbike talent during the past decade.
Following are just some of the many highlights of the last ten years, as CSBK looks forward to celebrating a 40th Anniversary in 2020 and another decade of exciting racing. Let us know if you disagree with the order, or if you think we missed a legendary performance.
Number 9 – Szoke switches to Honda, sweeps the Pro classes
After a thrilling battle in 2009 that saw Kawasaki’s Szoke win his sixth National title by just five points over Picotte-Suzuki’s Brett McCormick, the Lynden, ON native returned to Honda at the start of the last decade. “Jordan of the Jungle” finished runner-up for the “big H” four times overall in the early 2000’s.
There would be no such bad luck this time around, however, as Szoke piloted his Fast Company CBR1000RR to a clean seven-race sweep in the feature class, and almost adding a perfect season in the Sport Bike category with his CBR600RR as well! It was the first perfect season in Pro Superbike history, though Szoke would add two more in 2015 and 2016.
Number 8 – Szoke scores 13th National title after late challenge from Young
It might seem impossible to have a frustrating season that ends in a championship, but that was the story of Szoke’s 2018 campaign, which included a near-collapse in the season finale doubleheader. The veteran rider was forced to settle for third in race one and missed the podium altogether in race two, finishing in fourth for his worst result in ten years, and Szoke could only watch as rivals Ben Young (BMW) and Kenny Riedmann (Kawasaki) each scored their first career wins. Szoke wound up clinching the title by 30 points, earning him a historic “bakers dozen,” but it wasn’t long before Szoke left BMW to return to Kawasaki ahead of the 2019 campaign.
Number 7 – Szoke’s win streak ends, Casas wins first Sport Bike title
Fresh off two consecutive perfect seasons, Szoke rode into the 2017 campaign with a 15-race win streak after cruising to another victory in the season opener. However, that run came to a surprising end in the first ever trip to the Grand Bend Motorplex, as Z1 Yamaha pilot Bodhi Edie benefitted from a red flag finish to score his second career Superbike win, though Szoke still went on to win his 12th National championship. As for the Sport Bike category, it was the next step in the promising career with the first Pro title win for Tomas Casas, who became the youngest Pro champion since Jodi Christie before winning his second-straight in 2018 and nearly doing it again in 2019.
Number 6 – Szoke makes ten, Riedmann shines for both Triumph and Kawasaki
Fresh off his disappointing end to 2014, Szoke made no mistake the following season, scoring his second perfect campaign as he won all seven races aboard his Express lane BMW en-route to his tenth Pro Superbike title. This time, however, it wasn’t Christie representing the thorn in Szoke’s side, as Belfountain, ON youngster Kenny Riedmann piloted his Kawasaki to second in the championship, kicking off a rivalry between the two that still lasts today. Notably, Riedmann captured his second consecutive Pro Sport bike title, albeit aboard a Triumph, before joining Kawasaki full-time in both classes in 2016.
Number 5 – McCormick returns, dominates aboard new BMW program
Fresh off a one-year stint with Jordan Suzuki in the AMA, McCormick returned to Canada for 2011 aboard a new-look BMW team, and immediately took control of the Pro Superbike class. While the final standings show just a ten-point title win for the Saskatoon, SK native, McCormick cruised to wins in the first six races over Szoke, clinching the first Superbike title for BMW at just 19 years old before crashing out in the wet final race battle with Kawasaki’s Szoke. It would be the last we would see of McCormick in Canada, but hardly the end of BMW.
Number 4 – Christie claims championship after Szoke suffers season-ending injury
After overcoming a brief challenge to win his ninth Canada Cup in 2013, Szoke seemed well on his way to title number ten in 2014, winning the first two races comfortably over rival Jodi Christie before finishing second to the 22-year old on the East Coast. However, a trials-riding incident ended Szoke’s season heading into the doubleheader finale, and a pair of top-two finishes gave Honda CBR1000RR ace Christie his first – and only – National Pro Superbike championship and 2014 number one plate.
Number 3: McCormick overcomes horrific injuries to impress in WSBK
While Szoke (now on a BMW) was busy wrapping up his eighth Pro Superbike title back home in 2012, McCormick was capturing the attention of Canadian fans as he joined the Effenbert Liberty Racing satellite Ducati team in World Superbike. After a massive April crash in Assen, the 20-year old was left with a slew of injuries that nearly ended his racing career, but McCormick fought back to score points three times by seasons end – including a terrific fifth-place ride in Portimao – before Effenbert folded late in the season.
Number 2: Szoke outduels Corti for another perfect season
Any questions of Szoke’s talent – if there even were any – went out the window in 2016, as the veteran prepared for a doubleheader showdown with former MotoGP rider Claudio Corti at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The Aprilia-mounted Italian pushed Szoke to the limit, including a terrific three-way battle between the two and Riedmann that some hailed “the greatest race ever,” but it wasn’t enough as Szoke won both races to secure his third perfect season and eleventh Canada Cup, sending MotoAmerica winner Corti back to the United States empty handed.
Number 1: Young ends Szoke’s dominance, wins first Canada Cup
With Szoke leaving BMW for 2019, all eyes were on Young to step up in 2019, and the Collingwood, ON native did nothing but exceed expectations. “Braveheart” led every session through the first two race weekends to stretch out an early lead over his rival, but his defining moment came in round four when he charged back from seventh to win after Szoke had crashed out. Neither rider would win in the doubleheader finale, but Young did all he needed to clinch his first National title, as a healthy Szoke lost “his” crown for the first time since 2011.