The Lynden, ON-based Szoke was on hand with several other top Pro racers on the CSBK tour to meet and sign autographs at the year-old Burnside-area multi-line Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki store.
While sitting at the front of the main building signing autographs, party staff delivered a custom-made cake to Szoke celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Superbike-class debut at Atlantic Motorsport Park in August of 1997. The large birthday party-style cake, designed by local biking baker Victoria Franklin, featured an image of Szoke aboard his Kawasaki Superbike 20 years ago and his current BMW S1000RR at a recent National round.
The Pro Cycle party typically takes place during the preliminaries for the CSBK National event at Atlantic Motorsport Park near Shubenacadie, NS. Competitors tested on a damp track prior to the Pro Party, and will head back to the circuit for Dalton Timmis Insurance SuperPole on Friday, July 14, before the double header National races (rounds 4 and 5) on Saturday and Sunday.
A surprised Szoke explained that “this bike didn’t really have any electronics at all,” referring to the 1993 Kawasaki ZX-7RR parts bike he used for his Feature class debut 20 years ago compared to his current, sophisticated Mopar Express Lane/Motovan BMW.
Szoke borrowed a bike from a display at Canadian Kawasaki Motors in Toronto and used it to make his first “big bike” start at AMP 20 years ago, placing fourth. The next season he won the overall Canadian championship for Kawasaki, eventually also taking the crown aboard Suzuki, Honda and, most recently, BMW machinery.
“Those were some crazy times, and it certainly takes me back, although I don’t often reminisce with a cake,” smiled Szoke. “I’ve had a lot of success here at the track in Shubenacadie, and it’s always been such a great place to race for all of us in the series. Everyone is so welcoming out here, they love the racing and the fans really are great.”
At the double header Nationals this weekend, Szoke will be aiming for his 11th and 12th career wins at Atlantic Motorsport Park; he has won the last three National Superbike Feature events at the famed east coast venue known for the “Roller Coaster” back straight.
Joining Szoke at the Pro Cycle event were a host of Pro competitors, most very young when Szoke started his Superbike career. Second in the current 2017 Pro Superbike points standings, 21-year-old Bodhi Edie of Warman, SK was visiting with the fans along with is Z1 Tuning/Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike.
Current Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike support class points leader Tomas Casas, age 18, Yamaha-mounted from Peterborough, ON, was joined by rookie Pro contender Jacob Shaw-O’Leary of nearby Falmouth, NS. 17-year-old Shaw-O’Leary is a local favourite and top Amateur from a year ago, having just recovered from a hand injury suffered in early June in round 2 of the Mopar CSBK National Championship at Grand Bend Motorplex in Ontario.