Piloting his Express Lane Lube and BMW Motorrad-backed 2015 BMW S1000RR, nine-time overall National Superbike Champ Szoke of Lynden, Ont. turned a best lap of one minute, 8.809 seconds (133.936km/h) late in the 40-minute afternoon session around the undulating 11-turn, 2.56km long “Shubie” venue. Szoke will seek his 50th career victory, an ongoing series record, in Sunday’s 22-lap Feature event.
“The track was really green for our session, and a little slippery,” explained Szoke of conditions following heavy morning rain that kept most racers in the paddock. “We were pushing, but we were doing it in safe mode – we’re here to get the job done. The bigger outcome for the year is all-important.”
Depending on Sunday’s results, Szoke could possibly clinch his 10th career Superbike title this weekend, prior to the big, traditional season-ending doubleheader weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Aug. 15-16. Szoke is unbeaten so far in 2015.
“There are less chances to pass, and some of the good lines are gone,” commented Szoke regarding recent repaving efforts over portions of the 41-year-old road course. “The track now feels so different, and I appreciate they put a lot of time and money into it, but it didn’t work out as well as it could have.”
The second best lap belonged to Kenny Riedmann of Belfountain, Ont. aboard his GE Capital-Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja, with a lap at 1:09.467. In his first career outing at AMP on a 1000cc Superbike, Riedmann was briefly fastest overall, and showed he is somewhat recovered from a shoulder injury that will require off-season surgery.
“I was happy with my time, but the leaders did 1:07s last year, so that has to be the target,” confirmed Riedmann. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be on the Superbike, and my bike has so much power that I barely have to shift gears!
“My shoulder is good, but my fitness level isn’t all it could be, since I can’t train the way I want to. “I’ll be OK for the race distance, but I’m glad this one isn’t a doubleheader. We’re actually using less Traction Control than we had at the start of the season, and I’m getting more comfortable on the bike all the time.”
Third fastest overall was reigning series champ Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont. aboard the Accelerated Technologies / Motovan Honda CBR1000RR SP, lapping at a best of 1:10.212 right at the end of the second Friday session. At the most recent round in Edmonton, Christie had an off-weekend, crashing out of the lead in Sunday’s Pro Superbike round.
“It is always tough getting through the first session here on the Superbike, it really busts your head,” admitted Christie, winner the last two years at AMP. “I’m not satisfied with how the bike is working yet, we have lots to do, and we will work through this. The track doesn’t feel very grippy, but I want to wait and see what the data shows us before I reach any conclusions.”
“I have no issue with my hand, the finger is just dandy,” continued Christie regarding his left hand, injured in an Edmonton spill. “There are some changes to the track that I don’t fully understand, some weird transitions have been created, so there will be some work to do in those areas too.”
Sarnia, Ont.’s Will Hornblower opted to miss the most recent western round to regroup with his Blue Streak Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, but returned to the tour at AMP to set an impressive fourth best time in Superbike at 1:11.028, a solid effort for a production-class machine. Last year, Hornblower looked set to take his first, rookie Pro career victory at AMP before he crashed late in the Hindle Pro Sport Bike event.
Fifth in Superbike was Trevor Daley with a lap at 1:11.449 aboard his Parts Canada / Rock Star Energy Suzuki GSX-R1000. Second in the National Series last year, Mississauga, Ont. Pro Daley steadily lowered his times throughout the session. He was hindered by the fact that his tuner was stuck in the airport in Ottawa following a flight delay, carrying some key parts, including his gearing!
In practice for the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike class, reigning champ Riedmann set the pace aboard his Castrol Triumph 675R Daytona with a best lap of 1:10.313. Second quickest was Hornblower with his Yamaha, lapping at 1:11.205. Third belonged to impressive rookie Pro teenager Stacey Nesbitt of St-Lazare, Que. aboard her FTR / Honda Canada CBR600RR at a lap of 1:12838.
Later in the day, Nesbitt crashed the same, support class Honda in Superbike, falling in turn 9 early in the session while holding down sixth spot. Even though she was unable to continue, she was still credited with 10th best time, and is expected back on track for Saturday afternoon’s qualifying sessions.
In Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike, local ace Rob Forsyth of Dartmouth, N.S. was fastest with a lap at 1:13.418 aboard his Yamaha YZF-R6, while top competitor in rain-shortened Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike was expected contender Jacob Shaw-O’Leary at 1:15.447 aboard a Pro Cycle Honda CBR600RR.
Action at Atlantic Motorsport Park continues Saturday with Qualifying for all four National Championship classes. The main focus of Saturday afternoon will be the Magneti Marelli-backed SuperPole competition, establishing the grid for Sunday’s 22-lap Mopar Superbike final.
Ticket information is available at www.procycleonline.com or by calling (902) 758-2237.
The official Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship website, www.csbk.ca, will have full race video coverage of Sunday’s Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike and Mopar Pro Superbike feature National events.
For additional information please contact:
John Hopkins/ Inside Track Communications
Tel. (613) 968-0166