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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tough test for racers at St-Eustache

From Frontline CSBK

TORONTO, ON – Points leader Brett McCormick and the rest of the Canadian Superbike Championship by Parts Canada field hit the halfway point of the 2011 season with perhaps their toughest test of the summer at Autodrome St-Eustache in St-Eustache, Que. this weekend.

This is the national tour’s first visit to the tight 1.93km (1.2-mile) 10-turn circuit near Montreal since 2003, meaning the vast majority of competitors, including McCormick, are unfamiliar with the venue.

McCormick arrives at St-Eustache on the heels of a dominant performance at Shannonville Motorsport Park last weekend. The 19-year-old from Saskatoon put his BMW Motorrad Canada / rad X BMW S1000RR on pole and then won both races convincingly, giving him a commanding 37-point lead at the top of the standings after three of seven events.

As well as qualifying fastest and leading every lap of Superbike competition in Canada so far this season, McCormick is riding a five-race win streak dating back to the 2009 campaign, when he won the final two races of the year before heading to the U.S.

The man chasing him in the points, however, is five-time defending champion Jordan Szoke, one of the few riders to have experience of the St-Eustache track. The Brantford, Ont. racer won at the venue in 2002 and the Competition Systems Kawasaki Race Team rider has seen steady progress in development of the new Ninja ZX-10R.

Szoke finished second to McCormick in both Shannonville races and lowered his lap times through the weekend. St-Eustache will provide an ideal opportunity for the 31-year-old to make up ground in his bid for an unprecedented eighth Canadian title.

The third place rider in the standings, Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. is also familiar with the St-Eustache track. After a second-place finish to McCormick in the season opener at Circuit ICAR the Nelson Racing / GymMax / Monette Sports BMW S1000RR rider took fourth in both Shannonville races and has 110 points in the Superbike rankings.

Fourth in points is McCormick’s BMW Motorrad Canada / radX BMW teammate Michael Ferreira. The Mississauga, Ont. racer is coming off a season high third place finish in the opening race of the Shannonville doubleheader last weekend and with 96 points is within striking distance of Nelson and the top three.

The tight nature of the St-Eustache track could work to the favor of riders on board the smaller capacity 600cc machines and the best of them this season has been Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont, who is fifth in the standings with 77 points on his Jodi Christie Racing / Cameron Cycle / Blue Streak Racing Honda CBR600RR.

Although not in the thick of the points chase a rider worth watching at St-Eustache will be Sherbrooke, Que.’s Francis Martin. The two-time Canadian Superbike champion has displayed pace in the first three rounds of the series but has only a best finish of sixth to show for his efforts so far on the Couturier Racing / ProPulsion BMW S1000RR. Martin has won twice at St-Eustache, in his championship year of 1999 and again in 2000.

Another wildcard is Mascouche, Que.’s Jean-Francois Cyr, winner of the last Superbike national at St-Eustache. Cyr finished seventh in the season opener at ICAR on his CyRacing Suzuki GSX-R1000 but did not compete at Shannonville.

This weekend’s action will also see the fourth rounds for the Pirelli Pro Sport Bike, Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup, K&N Performance Filters Amateur Superbike and Inside Motorcycles Amateur Sport Bike classes.

In Pro Sport Bike, Christie took over the points lead with his first career Pro win at Shannonville last Sunday, and he now has 137 points to the 128 of Welsh, who won Saturday’s event on his Suzuki GSX-R600.

Rookie Bodhi Edie of Warman, Sask. is third in points after a pair of impressive fifth place finishes at Shannonville on the Edie Racing / Acceleration Racing / Honda Canada CBR600RR.

Maple Ridge, B.C.’s Steve Crevier is coming off a weekend sweep of the XR1200 Cup on the MotoSport Plus of Kingston-backed entry and now leads opening round winner Cody Matechuk by nine points in the standings, 152-143. The Cochrane, Alta. racer finished second in both Shannonville rounds for the Halifax-based Privateers Harley-Davidson team.

Amateur Samuel Proulx of Magog, Que. is an impressive third in points with 109 for the Sherbrooke Harley-Davidson team.

Jody Greening of Burlington, Ont. leads the Amateur Superbike standings thanks to consistent podium finishes on his BFE / ProStar / Sturgess Cycle Honda CBR600RR while Caledon, Ont.’s Kristopher Garvie is first in Amateur Sport Bike points after a pair of runner-up finishes last weekend on the Tracksport Technologies / Kahuna Powersports Kawasaki ZX-6R.

Action at St-Eustache will also include the fifth and sixth rounds of the Honda CBR125R Challenge, which is led by Austin Shaw-O’Leary of Falmouth, N.S.

Practice for this weekend’s event takes place on Friday.

On Saturday racers will battle for the Kawasaki S4-R Lubricants Pole Awards in four of the six national classes and, in the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup the Tactical Products Canada Pole Award. Saturday will also see the first of two races this weekend for the Honda CBR125R Challenge. Races in all six national classes will go Sunday.

For ticket information call 450-472-6222 or 514-591-4388, or go to www.autodrome.ca.

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