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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Szoke on St-Eustache Superbike pole

By John Hopkins / Photo courtesy Frontline CSBK

ST-EUSTACHE, QC – Brantford, Ont.’s Jordan Szoke ended Brett McCormick’s run of pole positions in Canadian Superbike Championship by Parts Canada action at Autodrome St-Eustache on Saturday.

The rider of the Competition Systems Kawasaki Race Team Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R turned a fastest lap of 45.085 seconds in Pirelli SuperPole qualifying to claim the $500 Kawasaki S4-R Competition Lubricants Pole Award and the top starting spot for Sunday’s fourth round of the series.

McCormick had to settle for second best on the radX / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR with a lap at 45.186 secs. and Alex Welsh of Uxbridge, Ont. made it three different motorcycle brands in the top three positions with a time of 45.224 riding the Z1 CycleTech / Kenwood Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Szoke’s average speed was 141.333km/h (84.800 mph) around the 1.77km (1.09-mile) St-Eustache circuit and shattered the old lap record of 46.463 secs. set by Jean-Francois Cyr in 2003, the last time the national series visited St-Eustache.

“I felt really comfortable the whole time,” said the 31-year-old Szoke, who is bidding for a sixth straight Canadian Superbike Championship by Parts Canada title. “I was going to do two fast laps and then come into the pits and go over things with the crew, then I looked at my timer and saw a 45-flat and thought, ‘That’s not too bad.’”

With the pole position Szoke gained a point on series leader McCormick in the Canadian Superbike Championship standings. McCormick’s lead is 36 points, 167-131 heading into Sunday’s fourth round of the seven-race series.

“I felt like I had a little more if I needed it,” added Szoke, who was also fastest in practice on Friday but was second to McCormick in Saturday morning’s prequalifying session. “I felt like I left a little speed on the table. Yesterday we made a bunch of little changes, but nothing major.”

McCormick will be going for a fourth straight Canadian Superbike Championship win on Sunday as he tries to claim his first national title. The 19-year-old from Saskatoon claimed the season opener at Circuit ICAR and swept both ends of a doubleheader at Shannonville Motorsport Park last weekend. He started from pole position in all three of those events.

“We’ve got some stuff to try on the bike before the race tomorrow, like a little bit of a geometry change,” McCormick said. “Little things are holding me back and it’s frustrating."

McCormick had some issues with traffic on his last push for the pole position in the waning moments of the 20-minute qualifying session.

"On my second flier I caught Alex cruising around on the backstraight," he explained. "That was a little annoying; it was too bad. It wasn't the perfect lap but it would have been nice to see what the time was."

Series officials put all 10 SuperPole qualifiers on the track together for the shortened 20-minute session rather than individual laps due to scheduling concerns on Saturday. The St-Eustache circuit is held to a strict 5:00pm curfew.

Welsh was on top of the times halfway through the 20-minute session after turning his best lap early but was unable to improve on that effort.

“I think there was a little more there; I did my time on an old tire,” said Welsh, who has a top finish of third so far this season. “I didn’t feel the need to push things and I’m happy with a front row start.”

Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. completes the front row for Sunday’s race after turning a lap at 45.493 secs. on the Nelson Racing / GymMax / Monette Sports BMW S1000RR.

“We’ve been faster and faster every session and we have a good set-up for the race,” said Nelson, who is third in the Canadian Superbike Championship by Parts Canada standings. “We were struggling when we tested on Thursday but we’re happy with the bike now.”

Michael Ferreira of Mississauga, Ont. set the fifth fastest time of 46.118 on the second radX / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR. He will be joined on the second row on Sunday by Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont., who recorded a 46.208-sec. lap on the Jodi Christie Racing / Cameron Cycle / Blue Streak Racing Honda CBR600RR and Sherbrooke, Que.’s Francis Martin, who turned a time of 46.425 on the Couturier Racing / ProPulsion BMW S1000RR.

Christie said he might have been able to find another tenth of a second but felt the middle of the second row was a good place to be for the surge into turn one on Sunday.

Martin is a two-time winner at St-Eustache, having taken the Superbike victory in 1999 and 2000.

The top 10 is completed by another former St-Eustache Superbike race winner Cyr of Mascouche, Que. (CyRacing Suzuki GSX-R1000), St-Raymond, Que.’s Francois Dumas (BMW S1000RR) and Granby, Que. racer Jeremie Hade Precourt (JHP Racing / Picotte Motorsport Suzuki GSX-R600).

Qualifying Results
1. Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont. (Kawasaki ZX-10R) 45.085 (141.333km/h)
2. Brett McCormick, Saskatoon, Sask. (BMW S1000RR) 45.186
3. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont. (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 45.224
4. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont. (BMW S1000RR) 45.493
5. Michael Ferreira, Mississauga, Ont. (BMW S1000RR) 46.118
6. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont. (Honda CBR600RR) 46.208
7. Francis Martin, Sherbrooke, Que. (BMW S1000RR) 46.425
8. Jean Francois Cyr, Mascouche, Que. (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 46.711
9. Francois Dumas, St-Raymond, Que. (BMW S1000RR) 46.774
10. Jeremie Hade Precourt, Granby, Que. (Suzuki GSX-R600) 47.060
11. Raphael Archambault, Terrebonne, Que. (Suzuki GSX-R600) 47.634
12. Sylvain Dery, St-Colomban, Que. (Yamaha YZF-R6) 47.807
13. Franklyn Dominguez, Hudson, Que. (Kawasaki ZX-10R) 47.814
14. Bodhi Edie, Warman, Sask. (Honda CBR600RR) 47.861
15. Steve Walker, Carleton Place, Ont. (BMW S1000RR) 47.944
16. Sebastien Tremblay, Sherbrooke, Que. (Honda CBR1000RR) 48.020
17. Marie-Josee Boucher, Montreal, Que. (Honda CBR600RR) 48.027
18. Rob Busby, Brantford, Ont. (BMW S1000RR) 48.431
19. Martin Ricard, Montreal, Que. (Kawasaki ZX-10R) 48.879
20. Frank Trombino, Woodbridge, Ont. (Suzuki GSX-R600) No Time


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