Riding the Mopar Express Lane / BMW Motorrad BMW S1000RR the Lynden, Ont.-based, Brantford, Ont.-born rider turned a lap at one minute, 7.862 seconds around the twisting 2.56km (1.6-mile) AMP road circuit for an average speed of 135.805km/h (81.483 mph).
His third straight Magneti Marelli SuperPole Award added four points to Szoke’s championship leading total, giving him 223 points heading into Sunday’s 22-lap feature race. His closest title rival, defending champion Jodi Christie of Keene, Ont., qualified second fastest with a time of 1:08.122 on his Accelerated Technologies / Honda Canada Honda CBR1000RR to earn three points and lift his season total to 145. But he trails Szoke by 78 points in the standings. A race win is worth 50 points.
Following Sunday’s event the 2015 season will conclude with a doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park August 14-16.
“I’m not that happy with the lap time but I’m happy with the result,” said the 36-year-old Szoke. “The track is slower for everybody this year, especially off the backstraight – you’re sliding all the way up the hill after that. The new pavement is really dark and holds the heat, so that leads to slower times.”
Szoke is bidding for a record-extending 50th career Canadian Superbike win on Sunday, as well as his seventh triumph at AMP.
“I need to be smart but I still aim to win this race,” added Szoke. “I don’t want it to get too aggressive behind me, if the group is tight, and Jodi will be there for sure. We know that.
“We’re getting really high track temperatures, so tires are a bit of a concern. We might try the harder option, but the softer choice soaks up the bumps better.”
Christie picked up almost two seconds from his best practice effort on Friday. The Honda rider is looking for a third straight Superbike national win at AMP after scoring his first career triumph here in 2013 and repeating his success last year.
“Overall I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with things today,” said the 22-year-old Christie. “I spent last night thinking about everything. We’re a day behind after missing Thursday [testing] and I’m glad my faith in myself allowed me to follow through on everything we had to work on. Every session we made real changes, and things got steadily better.
“The track surface is a real challenge, with all the pavement changes. It will be hard to pass tomorrow [Sunday]. Even to lap, you have to be smart.”
Kenny Riedmann of Belfountain, Ont. had the third quickest time in Magneti Marelli SuperPole qualifying, a 1:08.448 aboard the GE Capital / Sturgess Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10R. Riedmann picked up two points for his performance and now trails Christie by three points in the Pro Superbike standings.
“There is a small window with the soft tires and I didn’t put a perfect qualifying lap together before the tires had gone off,” admitted Riedmann. “I think Jodi can do quick laps until the end and I expect Jordan will charge hard. I plan to let the race come to me. I will need to race with the soft tire to have a shot to run with those guys for the whole race.”
Will Hornblower completes the front row for Sunday’s feature after turning the fourth best time, a 1:09.817 on his 402bike.com / Bob’s Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6. The Sarnia, Ont. rider credited his work with suspension tuning ace Jon Cornwell with helping him to his best career Pro Superbike qualifying effort.
“I had a riot out there in qualifying but this track is so hard, really demanding,” said Hornblower, who led last year’s Pro Sport Bike race at AMP before crashing. “On Thursday, last year’s crash was on my mind, but I’m over that now. This year, I feel like I have something to prove.”
Mississauga, Ont.’s Trevor Daley, who at one time held down the final front row spot, heads the second row of the grid after qualifying fifth fastest on Saturday with a time of 1:09.853 on his One Speed / Parts Canada / Suzuki Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000. Currently fifth in the Mopar CSBK standings, Daley is coming off a season-high third place finish in the previous event at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway and was the winner of the Pro Sport Bike feature at AMP last year.
Daley will be joined on the second row by Michael Leon and Tomas Casas. Leon set a time of 1:10.212 on the Royal Distributing / Multi-tact BMW S1000RR, the Beaconsfield, Que. rider catching up after losing track time during practice on Friday when his crew chief was delayed in arriving from Ottawa.
Peterborough, Ont.’s Casas was the top rookie qualifier with a time of 1:11.874 on his Parts Canada / Peterborough Cycle Salvage Yamaha YZF-R6.
The top 10 is rounded out by the MotoNation / Laval Moto Kawasaki ZX-10R of Mirabel, Que.’s Sebastien Tremblay, currently fourth in the Mopar Pro Superbike standings, rookie Pro points leader Stacey Nesbitt of St-Lazare, Que. with the FTR / Honda Canada Honda CBR600RR, and local ace Ron Munroe from Beaver Bank, N.S. aboard the Freedom Cycle Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Tremblay is nursing a sore knee after a practice crash during Saturday morning’s Pro Superbike practice session, while Munroe elected to sit out the Magneti Marelli SuperPole top 10 shootout and conserve his equipment for Sunday.
In other action at Atlantic Motorsport Park on Saturday, defending champion Riedmann closed to within a point of Christie for the lead of the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike standings by claiming pole position for Sunday’s race with a time of 1:08.706 on his Triumph 675R.
Christie was second quickest at 1:09.015 aboard a Honda CBR600RR and now has 188 points to Riedmann’s 187 heading into Sunday’s race.
The Yamaha YZF-R6 of Hornblower and North Vancouver’s Darren James, riding the Ruthless Racing / Trev Deeley Yamaha YZF-R6, complete the front row.
Dartmouth’s Rob Forsyth led a Nova Scotia sweep of the top three places in qualifying for the Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike division. The Yamaha YZF-R6 rider turned a lap at 1:11.224 to lead the Pro Cycle-backed Honda CBR600RR of Falmouth’s Jacob Shaw-O’Leary and Lakeview racer Lee Hammond on a Kawasaki ZX-6R.
The same three riders owned the top spots in Bell Helmets Amateur Sport Bike qualifying, with Shaw-O’Leary ahead of Forsyth and Hammond. Shaw-O’Leary’s time was a 1:11.241.
Brendan Hanrahan of Halifax won the Atlantic Roadracing League Lightweight Super Sport regional race on his Kawasaki ZX250 and Falmouth, N.S.’s Jeff O’Leary, Jacob’s Dad, set the pace in ARL Invitational qualifying with a 1:11.610 on his Honda CBR600RR.
Action at Atlantic Motorsport Park concludes Sunday with feature races in all four National Championship classes. Practice begins at 9:00 a.m.
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
STARTING LINEUP For ROUND 5 of the MOPAR CANADIAN SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., BMW S1000RR, 1:07.862 (135.805km/h)
2. Jodi Christie, Keene, Ont., Honda CBR1000RR, 1:08.122
3. Kenny Riedmann, Belfountain, Ont., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 1:08.448
4. Will Hornblower, Sarnia, Ont., Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:09.817
5. Trevor Daley, Mississauga, Ont., Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:09.853
6. Michael Leon, Beaconsfield, Que., BMW S1000RR, 1:10.575
7. Tomas Casas, Peterborough, Ont., Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:11.874
8. Sebastien Tremblay, Longueuil, Que., Kawasaki ZX-10R, 1:11.989
9. Stacey Nesbitt, St-Lazare, Que., Honda CBR600RR, 1:14.260
10. Ron Munroe, Beaver Bank, N.S., Kawasaki ZX-10R, No Time
11. Geoff Cole, Elmsdale, N.S., Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:14.289
12. Darren James, North Vancouver, B.C., Yamaha YZF-R6, No Time
13. Reiner Griese, Wellington, Ont., BMW S1000RR, No Time
14. Louie Raffa, Ste-Marthe, Que., Honda CBR600RR, No Time