Szoke begins title defense as group of contenders roll into round one at Calabogie
Toronto, ON – After another long and chaotic offseason, the Canadian Superbike Championship can finally return to racing, as the series opens their 2021 campaign in front of limited spectators this weekend with round one at Calabogie Motorsports Park, July 10-11.
The Pro Superbike feature class will once again see 14-time National champion Jordan Szoke defending his title, after sweeping the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to reclaim the Canada Cup and his signature number-one plate.
The Lynden, ON veteran will be back aboard brand-new Canada General Warranty Kawasaki machines as he chases a historic 15th crown, and his dominant 2020 stretch makes him the odds-on favourite heading to Calabogie, a track where he has won every Pro Superbike race at since its inception in 2008.
However, Szoke will have his work cut out for him this season with perhaps his toughest group of challengers yet, made up of both new foes and familiar rivals.
Leading that charge will likely be the last man to beat Szoke, as 2019 champion Ben Young returns to the feature class aboard his Van Dolder’s Home Team BMW. The Collingwood, ON native won three races and scored five podiums during his last breakout campaign, though he hasn’t suited up since and will have to shake off the rust quickly after nearly two full years away from the sport.
Young won’t be the only front-running BMW on the grid, as EFC Group rider Samuel Guerin will look to build upon his sensational debut season where he finished as the runner-up to Szoke a year ago. Guerin will maintain his rookie status due to the pandemic, but the Quebec City-born rider will be returning with a year of Pro Superbike experience and a lot of offseason training under his belt.
Another rookie sure to crack the lead group is teenager Alex Dumas, who returns to Canada after a successful stint in MotoAmerica. The former Junior Cup and Twins champion will be joining CSBK for the first time, racing for Liqui Moly Suzuki in 2021, but has flashed early pace at Calabogie and figures to be right in the mix of things in his debut Pro Superbike campaign.
Other names to watch in a loaded feature grid include OneSpeed Suzuki rider and consistent frontrunner Trevor Daley, long-time podium contender Michael Leon aboard a Royal Distributing BMW, Parts Canada Yamaha contender Tomas Casas, and fan-favourite Sebastian Tremblay, though Tremblay will be focusing primarily on the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike category.
Tremblay won both races in the Sport Bike class last season and figures to be the overwhelming title favourite in 2021, as he headlines a stacked Turcotte Performance Kawasaki lineup. The Mirabel, QC rider will have a trio of talented teammates to deal with in Christian Allard, teenager Nicolas Meunier, and Vincent Levillian, all of which will play a huge role in the battle behind Tremblay.
Defending class champion Will Hornblower will be sidelined for most of – if not all of – the 2021 season after injuring himself in a pre-season crash at Grand Bend, but would be the biggest challenger to Tremblay should he make an appearance aboard his 402Bike Yamaha.
Yamaha Canada won’t be without a challenger in Hornblower’s absence, however, as rookie Jake LeClair will make his long-awaited Pro debut after sitting out the 2020 season. The former Lightweight champion needed only one year in the Amateur ranks before progressing to the feature grid and should be a threat for podiums in his first year with black numbers.
Another contender in the Sport Bike category will likely be former Guyanese racing champion Elliott Vieira, who has shown steady improvement over each of his four seasons in Canada and will be back aboard a Snow City Yamaha machine in 2021.
The Amateur ranks will again be the toughest to predict with a huge number of competitive riders expected this year, though Racine, QC’s Anthony Bergeron will likely enter as the pre-season favourite in the MotorcycleCourse.com Amateur Superbike category after a pair of podiums in 2020 aboard his BMW Motorrad machine.
Former Lightweight frontrunner Matthew Simpson also figures to be in the mix in the Brooklin Cycle Racing Amateur Sport Bike class after a strong regional racing debut, while fellow regional star Brad MacRea will also be gunning to move into the Pro ranks after a strong finish to the 2020 campaign.
The Super Sonic Road Race School Lightweight Sport Bike class will be wide open this season as well, with youngster Mackenzie Weil aiming to capture his first Lightweight championship as the odds-on favourite aboard his Kawasaki machine.
The National tour will not be alone at Calabogie Motorsports Park, as CSBK welcomes the inaugural Pro6 GP regional racing series as well as the Vintage Roadracing Association this weekend. The weekend will feature a Pro 6 Cycle trackday on Friday, July 9 before racing in all three series’ kicks off on Saturday and Sunday.
The 2021 campaign will also see the introduction of two new side championships in the Pro Superbike feature class, the Constructors Championship and Pole Position Championship, which were announced earlier this week and will make their debut at round one in Calabogie.
More information and the full schedule for the season opener can be found on the series’ official website.