Szoke Battles Back from Injury
The bike hit the pit wall with a sickening thud and shot through the air. Propelling upward, Szoke’s ZX10R hit the base of the grandstands and fell straight into the hot pit, narrowly missing a plethora of close friends that were working during Saturday’s Pro Superbike Warmup session.
The weekend was going as expected. Szoke was on his new Kawasaki ZX10 livery supported by Blackfoot Motosports and backed by his long-time partner Mopar® Express Lane. Learning the new equipment hasn’t been easy, mostly due to Mother Nature’s disagreeable temperament on the east side of the country, leaving the paddock scrambling for some suitable seat time for the Mopar Canadian Superbike National series early season-opener at Shannonville Motorsports Park.
Progressing steadily forward, Szoke was getting comfortable with the set-up and learning the new electronic system heading into Saturday’s qualifying sessions when disaster struck. Heading into Allen’s corner, Szoke’s motorcycle unsettled over the uneven pavement, sending him tumbling at over 180km/h. The incident pulled out the red flag as the medical team attended to Szoke, who received a nasty tear in his forearm that was bleeding heavily and a suspected costochondral separation.
The emergency department at Lennox & Addington County General Hospital had him in, out and cleared to ride within minutes of the afternoon qualifying session in which Szoke finished fourth, just two-tenths of a second shy of pole position.
Lining up on the front row for Sunday’s race, Szoke settled in the lead pack for the long 22-lap race around SMP’s 2.45 km “Pro Circuit”. Szoke took a few stabs for second and sniffed the lead, eventually settling to round out the podium in third.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurting,” says Szoke. “Although the outpouring of support not only from our sponsors, fans and fellow competitors has been humbling. Jon Camilleri from Mopar attended to support us, Brad Goodbody brought the president and his entire family to come see us moments after hopping off a plane from Japan. The fans have all stopped by to check in if we’re OK. And our crew went the extra mile to make this happen today. The bike is amazing, we built a good one, and the engine from Fast Company made it a rocket ship. I hope to heal up and have the A bike back together for Grand Bend.”
Szoke trails the championship lead by 18 points headed into Round 2.
Amy Szoke tested her new Kawasaki equipment this weekend. Hopping off a 1000cc superbike back to the lightweight division on a Kawasaki Ninja 400. Arguably one of the best platforms for the series. The lightweight sport bike class has double- header action on both Saturday and Sunday leaving lots of points up for grabs at every event.
Amy struggled during Saturday’s event, racing just a few hours after bringing Jordan home from emergency. Eventually finishing in seventh position. “I truly wasn’t sure if I was cut out for this after watching Jordan’s wreck on Saturday. I had a really hard time putting a lap together. But I figured if he can go out and qualify moments after, then I’d better suck it up, too, and earn some points,” says Amy.
A good night’s sleep brought better results on Sunday for Amy as she tried to reel in the lead pack to fight for a podium position. She eventually finished in fifth spot. “I had a good talk with Jon Cornwell before morning warmup that brought me more confidence with the rubber (and myself) that moved the momentum forward. I was in sniffing distance of the leaders, but it’s really hard to make up time without the draft. I fought as hard as I could by myself. I might have gotten my mojo back today and hope to bring the fight back to Grand Bend. It’s a track I’ve put a lot of laps on a mini with. Those boys had better be ready!” laughs Szoke (Amy, that is). “I have both boys home with me safe and sound, so, for me, after the weekend we’ve had, that’s a win.”
Catch the Szokes in Mopar Canadian Superbike action when they meet up with their rivals for the “Battle at the Beach”. Round 2 will be held at Grand Bend Motorplex on June 7-9.
The first race of the premier Mopar Pro Superbike class will be televised on TSN. Keep your eyes peeled (or keep up to date on social media) for listings.