Alex Welsh was among the Superbike title contenders to lose ground to Jordan Szoke. Alex Welsh was among the Superbike title contenders to lose ground to Jordan Szoke. By Bob Szoke

Title contenders stumble at Shubie

Written by  on Monday, 23 July 2012 12:27

By John Hopkins

SHUBENACADIE, N.S. – While Jordan Szoke extended his lead in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings the racers expected to give him a tough run at Atlantic Motorsport Park on Sunday were not a factor.

Kevin Lacombe, Andrew Nelson and Alex Welsh all showed promise during the weekend. But in the end the battle for victory came down to a fight between Szoke’s Waznie Racing / Parts Canada / BMW Motorrad Canada BMW S1000RR and the smaller, supposedly outclassed 600cc machines of Jodi Christie (Jodi Christie Racing / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR600RR) and Frank Trombino (Acme Slate / Dua Bodywork / G Suspension Suzuki GSX-R600).

Lacombe made out the best of the group of projected favourites, finishing fourth on the Team Couturier Racing BMW S1000RR, but that was a long way from what he or anyone else had expected. The St-Cesaire, Que. rider has won three Superbike nationals at AMP and was fastest of all on Friday.

On Sunday afternoon, however, Lacombe was not a factor and spent much of the race being hounded by the Edie Racing / Blue Streak Racing / Fast Company BMW S1000RR of second-year Pro Bodhi Edie.

“I couldn’t ride the bike,” said a glum Lacombe. “Maybe we overcooked the front tire on the warmer. It felt like a different bike; it was unrideable.

“There was no way I could win the race. I was close to losing the front a few times. I don’t know what happened. It’s a mystery.

“I know I was out of racing for two years but this is my third race back and there are no excuses. We need to be steady in the races.”

If there was a silver lining for Lacombe it was the fact he moved up to third in the Superbike standings. But he heads into the second half of the season 46 points behind Szoke, with the remaining races at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport International Raceway), both venues where Szoke has excelled in the past.

Nelson looked good for the win after setting the fastest time in practice Sunday morning and he led the first four laps of the original race before a crash by Marcel Irnie brought out the red flag (Irnie was not seriously hurt).

The Kars, Ont. rider was in the lead mix after the restart and set the fastest lap, but he said two starts had taken a toll on his clutch and he drifted back to a sixth place finish.

“It was good for a lap or two then it started to fade,” said Nelson, who remains second in the standings but is 35 points behind Szoke with 116.

After being the sensation of the season opener at Shannonville Motorsport Park and finishing a strong second at Autodrome St-Eustache, Welsh had a weekend to forget at AMP. The Uxbridge, Ont. rider crashed his AW7R / Kenwood Eelectronics Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000 early in Pirelli SuperPole qualifying and was forced to start 10th on the race grid.

He got up to fifth at the red flag and looked competitive for the restarted race, but crashed at the end of the backstraight on lap three. He slipped to sixth in the point standings with 75 points, half as many as Szoke.

Last modified on Friday, 27 July 2012 09:54

John Hopkins

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