SHANNONVILLE, ON (May 27, 2017) – The grid for Sunday's Pro Superbike feature at the Mopar CSBK Superbike Challenge presented by the Trenton MFRC has been set after a blazing Saturday qualifying session at Shannonville Motorsport Park that concluded with six riders less than half a second apart on the timing sheets.
Defending class champion Jordan Szoke came out on top after an ultra-competitive Dalton Timmis Insurance Pro Superbike Top Ten SuperPole session, setting the top time with a 1:04.121 on his Mopar Express Lane/Motovan BMW S1000RR.
Fellow BMW racer Matt McBride came back from a disastrous engine failure in Friday practice to take the second spot just 0.129 seconds behind Szoke, with Kawasaki rider Kenny Riedmann finishing third thanks to a 1:04.333. Ben Young (BMW) will take the fourth and final spot on the front row for tomorrow's 22-lap Pro Superbike feature, while Andrew Nelson (Suzuki) and Bodhi Edie (Yamaha) rounded out the six riders in the 1:04-second range during a furious SuperPole session.
For Szoke, it was a good way to start his quest for a 12th Canadian Superbike championship after limited track time leading up to Saturday's qualifying session.
"We weren't worried, but we were a little curious about how things would go," Szoke admitted after securing yet another pole position, the accompanying top-qualifier cheque and a Rockwell watch. "The track's a little bit sketchy - there's a little bit of water going into Allen's Corner - but it was a good day for us. Under the circumstances and given the track conditions, that was a really good lap time and it was really competitive all through the top ten."
Although some ways off the 1:03.795 track Superbike record set by Brett McCormick on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2009, Szoke's pole-earning lap was nearly three-tenths quicker than his top qualifying lap from last year's Shannonville round.
"It's a great way to start our defense," admitted Szoke. "We're going into this year with a lot of confidence, but it's going to be a tough race tomorrow, that's for sure."
McBride, who put a new bullet in his Riders Choice BMW S1000RR last night, seemed ecstatic with his second-place finish after a frustrating Friday. "Yesterday wasn't the day we planned for," admitted the Mississauga, ON native. "We got half a lap in, and then we had a lot of work ahead of us. Luckily I've got really good friends and family here, and everyone worked so hard. We're just happy to be out here.
"We always want to be ahead of Jordan, but that's a tough task. We're happy to be up here, and tomorrow's what counts, so we're going to put our heads down and try to last this year."
Riedmann made significant progress during Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions to establish himself in third at the conclusion of the SuperPole session on his new 2017 ZX-10RR.
"I've got an awesome Kawasaki motorcycle underneath me, and the times are super close at the front," said Riedmann, who finished runner-up to Szoke at last year's Shannonville opener. "It's going to be a really exciting race."
The surprise of the weekend in Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike has been the quick performance of Kris Garvie, who earned his first-ever CSBK Pro pole position with a 1:06.967 on his Kawasaki ZX-6R.
"It feels amazing," admitted Garvie, who was returning to the national tour after more than a year away. "The bike does what I need it to, and I do what she needs me to, and we're able to work as one.
"Everything feels good, I'm just having fun. I'm shocked that things are coming along as well as they are."
Almost as surprising as Garvie's hot pace was that of rookie Pro Chris Brent, who will start in the second spot on the first row thanks to a 1:07.168 on his Honda CBR600RR. The front row for tomorrow's Pro Sport Bike race will also include Tomas Casas (1:07.195) and Louie Raffa (1:07.730).
In Magneti Marelli Amateur Superbike, Ernest Bernhard of Ste-Brigide, QC will start his Yamaha R1 on tomorrow's pole after a 1:08.284 top qualifying effort. In Shoei Helmets Amateur Sport Bike, fellow Quebec racer Jean-Francois Aubin earned top position on his Suzuki GSX-R600 with a 1:09.537.
The first Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series round of the year went to Jared Walker (Oakville, ON), who claimed the top spot on the podium by finishing nearly 15 seconds ahead of second-place Johann Plancque (St-Jerome, QC), who narrowly edged out third-place teenager Xavier Paradis of Shannon, QC.
Sunday's action at Shannonville starts with morning practice for all classes, followed by national rounds starting at 1:00 pm. For full qualifying results and a schedule of Sunday's events, visit www.csbk.ca.