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Matt McBride was fastest at Shannonville on Friday Matt McBride was fastest at Shannonville on Friday By Bob Szoke

McBride throws up Shannonville wildcard

Written by  on Friday, 22 June 2012 17:15

By John Hopkins

SHANNONVILLE, Ont. -- While much of the preseason talk has focused on Jordan Szoke, Andrew Nelson, Kevin Lacombe and Alex Welsh, it was a different rider who topped the timesheets on the opening day of practice for round one of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Friday.

Matt McBride, who isn't even sure if he will be able to run the entire season, was fastest in both practice sessions around the 2.54km (1.53-mile) 'Pro' track on his Riders Choice BMW S1000RR. His time of 1:05.051 in the 40-minute afternoon session was his best, topping his morning effort by a couple of hundredths of a second.

"On my fast lap I plowed the front end through Allen's [the tight left-hander near the end of the lap]," said McBride. "I thought I should come into the pits but I decided it was probably going to be a good lap so I stayed out.

"There's a lot more to come. I thought we had a good set-up coming here and I was confident. We did a lot of work to the bike over the winter."

While McBride was feeling confident in his older S1000RR a pair of riders on 2012 examples of the BMW Superbike were not in such a positive frame of mind. Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. was second in practice with a time of 1:05.391 recorded in the afternoon on his Endras BMW / mcn.tv / mcnsports.tv entry, while seven-time Canadian Superbike champion Jordan Szoke was third quickest at 1:05.462 riding the Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada machine.

"There's a lot to learn," admitted Nelson, who rode BMWs in 2010 and 2011. "It feels like a brand new bike and it's taking time to adjust. The electronics are brand new and it's a steep learning curve. But we learned a lot we can apply to tomorrow."

Nelson has enlisted the help of noted BMW electronics expert Evan Steele.

Szoke is making his BMW debut this weekend and also conceded to a steep learning curve.

"We're working on getting it comfortable and consistent," he explained. "We're changing a little at a time and getting the gearing better is our next step. But I'm enjoying riding it and it's an easy bike to ride consistently.

"Shannonville is not my favourite place to be. I struggle a little around here."

Alex Welsh had been second quickest in the morning practice on his AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000 with a time of 1:05.532 and that held up for fourth best on the day. The Uxbridge, Ont. rider suffered a fall in turn three in the afternoon but was unhurt.

Kevin Lacombe of St-Cesaire, Que. was next up with a 1:05.798 on the ex-Brett McCormick Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR. This was Lacombe's first national appearance in almost two years.

Next up were the fastest of the 600cc bikes, with Frank Trombino sixth on the 725 Sports / Acme Slate Suzuki GSX-R600 and Jodi Christie seventh riding the Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR.

The top 10 is rounded out by a trio of BMWs, with Francois Dumas eighth, last year's Pro Rookie of the Year Bodhi Edie ninth and Sebastien Tremblay 10th.

Prequalifying for the Mopar Pro Superbike class is set for Saturday morning with Pirelli SuperPole in the afternoon. McBride has become a hot favourite for the pole and possibly even the win in Sunday's 22-lap feature event. How that goes could have some impact on whether he pursues the remainder of the races this season.

"We'll wait until Sunday and see how the result goes," he cautioned. "Maybe somebody will help us out then. Basically my Dad's shop [Riders Choice] is paying for this, and I have work obligations there. But we'll see how it goes."

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Last modified on Friday, 22 June 2012 22:19

John Hopkins

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