Szoke holds off trepanier in thrilling race two at amp
Shubenacadie, NS – July 22, 2018 – Three-time defending champion Jordan Szoke managed to keep his perfect season alive at the fourth round of the Mopar® Canadian Superbike Championship presented by Pro Cycle and Honda Canada, though it didn't come easy after a terrific full-race battle on Sunday in the Mopar Pro Superbike class.
Szoke grabbed the holeshot from pole-position aboard his Mopar Express Lane BMW Motorrad S1000RR and appeared to be in for a tough day as a group of four riders immediately broke away from the rest of the field. That group would run together for just a trio of laps before the Lynden, ON, rider began to pull away, though his comfortable lead was short-lived after a charge from St. Isidore, QC,'s Samuel Trepanier.
Trepanier, sporting a Blysk Racing BMW, had pulled within striking distance of Szoke by lap six and made a spectacular pass just one lap later. However, the defending champion would not be denied in his quest for a record 13th title, capitalizing on a mistake by Trepanier on lap nine to re-take the lead for the final time.
"Sam pulled off a great pass and I thought maybe he was going to take off, but he made a small mistake there and when you get a chance like that, you have to take it," said Szoke. "These guys pushed me 100% to my limit, I didn't slow down at all. They seem to get faster every race, and today, it was just awesome."
"This track is just so difficult, but I guess I didn't do too bad for an old man," the 39-year old laughed.
As for Trepanier, the result matched his career-high finish from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park a year ago, where he will be returning in just under three weeks.
"When Ben [Young] passed me yesterday, I left the door wide open for him, so today, I just went for it, but I lost my focus for a split-second. I thought Jordan would pass me, and sure enough, he did!" Trepanier joked. "I think I gave him a good run, but he earned the victory, so I'm happy with second place. It was well-deserved."
It was the first finish outside of the top-two for Collingwood, ON,'s Young this season, as the Scot-Build BMW rider continues to see his title chances shrink heading into the doubleheader finale at CTMP.
"It would have been nice to at least get second for the championship, but it was a great weekend overall and we're getting one step closer every time out," said an optimistic Young. "We worked really hard, as always, but it was really tiring in the heat. Hopefully, things will be a little better at [CTMP]."
It was another strong day for Beaconsfield, QC,'s Michael Leon and Mississauga, ON,'s Trevor Daley, who rounded out the top five for the second consecutive day, albeit in reverse order. Leon was able to capture fourth aboard his Royal Distributing BMW, while Daley was the lone other manufacturer up front aboard his OneSpeed Chop Shop Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
The top rookie in the field was once again Lasalle, QC,'s Samuel Desmarais, who continues to inch closer to sealing the Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year battle after finishing ninth aboard his Playground Poker Club Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
Meanwhile, there was a first-time winner in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class for the second consecutive race, as Laval, QC,'s Sebastien Tremblay captured his debut Pro victory after a thrilling three-way battle up front.
Though Tremblay essentially led from start-to-finish after grabbing the holeshot, it was hardly an easy result for the DB Moto Kawasaki ZX-6R rider, as he had to endure a full-race assault from youngsters Tomas Casas and Jacob Shaw-O'Leary.
Tremblay, a former Pro Superbike frontrunner, has now strung together consecutive podium finishes following his second-place result in round three.
"It's really awesome to finally win a National race. I've won a few regional races, but these guys here are just so fast," Tremblay said. "I tried to manage the tires, but everyone rode really hard, so they really made me work for it."
Defending champion and current points leader Casas, riding a Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R6, brought home a pair of second-place finishes this weekend, which the Peterborough, ON, native says is exactly what they needed entering the season finale.
"Sebastien was riding really well, but I was gaining on him in a few spots. It was just too late to make a move, and he really didn't leave the door open at all," said Casas. "It was a well-deserved win for him, but I'm happy we brought home second place for the championship."
Rounding out the podium was Shaw-O'Leary, who came up just short in his last-corner pass attempt as Casas narrowly edged him to the line. The Falmouth, NS, youngster played the part of Tremblay on Saturday as he won his first career Pro race, though he was unable to sweep the weekend aboard his O'Leary Brothers Racing Pro Cycle Honda CBR600RR.
It was a slight improvement in race two for Ripley, ON,'s Mitch Card, who finished fifth on Saturday before settling into a lonely fourth on Sunday. Card ran inside the battle for first for the initial few laps, but was quickly surpassed by Shaw-O'Leary and was unable to match the pace aboard his Fast Company Yamaha.
Completing the top five was Desmarais, which is a new career-best finish for the Pro Rookie points leader, while Hamilton, ON,'s David MacKay charged all the way from the last row to finish sixth aboard his Mack Attack Racing Kawasaki.
The Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike class saw just its third different race winner of the 2018 campaign, as Princeville, NS,'s Avery Hart claimed his first-ever National victory aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 250.
Blackstock, ON,'s Jake LeClair fell just short of claiming the year's first championship, as the 17 year old was forced to settle for third aboard his Yamaha YZF-R3. Had he won and had fellow Yamaha rider Alex Berthiaume (Laval, QC) finished sixth or lower, he would have clinched the inaugural trophy, but LeClair will now be forced to wait until the finale for his next chance after Berthiaume secured fourth.
Sixteen year old phenom Nicolas Meunier took his first win of the season in the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike class, as the Verdun, QC rider stormed his way to victory aboard his Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Championship leader Luc LaBranche (Mirabel, QC) was able to extend his points gap with a second-place finish aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6, while fellow title contender Danny Cayer, out of Issoudun, QC, completed the podium aboard a Yamaha.
Meunier also took over the points lead in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class as he scored his second victory of the season in that class, with the youngster leading at the time of a red flag aboard his Kawasaki.
Meunier will now take just a slight points lead in the middleweight class over LaBranche, who finished second ahead of Cayer.
The Parts Canada Hard Charger Award was given to Quebec City, QC,'s Christian Gravel, who showed the biggest improvement from qualifying to the race aboard his Kawasaki. Gravel will now enter a four-way tie atop the award standings heading into the final weekend.
Full results from all of the weekend's action, as well as information regarding round four at Atlantic Motorsport Park, can be found on the series' official website at www.csbk.ca.