If you’re into motorcycles, there’s a lot going on across the country this weekend, but the opening round of the Canadian Superbike series in Shannonville, Ont., is like likely the biggest event.
The Shannonville round opens with registration and technical inspection on Thursday and Friday; practice starts Friday at 9 a.m. and will run all day. There’s more practice on Saturday, as well as qualifying for the CBR250R Challenge in the morning; the quarter-litre series sees its first race that afternoon at 2:30 p.m.; the series continues on Sunday, with the second race running at noon.
The series’ other races all run Sunday afternoon, starting with pro Sport Bike, then amateur Sport Bike, then the XR1200 Cup, then the RACE Regional Middleweight Sportsman class; the national Superbike feature race will run around 3:20 p.m., and the Bazzazz amateur Superbike race closes the day.
There are a few interesting subplots running this weekend, but Stacey Nesbitt and Jordan Szoke are definitely two racers to watch.
Szoke had a fantastic season last year – the only trouble was, Brett McCormick’s season went even better. Szoke ended up behind McCormick on every race but the last of the season. Now McCormick’s racing in World Superbike (he’s currently injured), and Szoke’s racing for BMW, the team McCormick left.
Szoke says he’s already very impressed with BMW’s S1000RR – he echoes the comments of insiders everywhere, saying the bike is simply better set-up for racing right out of the box, not needing as much motor work and other prep as its competitors.
“It’s a great motorcycle, I love it. You can see why everyone does well on it,” says Szoke. “Our goal is to get back the Number 1 plate that we lost.” To do that, he plans to focus on the tracks he’s strong at – Mosport, St-Eustache and Mont-Tremblant.
The other big story this weekend will likely be Stacey Nesbitt. Nesbitt made Canadian history last summer by becoming the first female in this country to win a national series, Honda’s CBR125 spec series. That series has been replaced by the new CBR250 spec series, and Nesbitt has been working hard in the off-season to prepare for it, through track days and race school, including Kevin Schwantz’s school.
“Winter was so long, and there wasn’t really anything we could do to get out there, so just to be able to get out on the track and race again is what I’m most excited about,” she says.
Obviously, like any racer, Nesbitt’s goal is to win this year, but she says to accomplish that, she’s focusing on finishing in the top three every round – she can’t afford any DNFs, she says.
The rest of the country
So what’s going on in the rest of Canada? Well, if you’re not into racing, there’s still lots to do this weekend.
In Newfoundland, the 30th anniversary edition of the Ride for Sight runs Friday-Sunday. You can find all the details here, but some highlights will include a stunt show, silent auction poker run, a kitchen party, and Honda’s Come Ride With Us demo ride event (running Saturday).
Crossing the country to Alberta, the Hillbilly Hammerdown Motorcycle Rally takes place in Ashmont on Friday-Sunday. Check out their Facebook page here. There’ll be a poker run, camping, live music, and a pig roast, with the proceeds going to help a needy family.
The Ride for Sight also celebrates their 30th anniversary in Alberta this weekend, at the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino, in Morley, Friday-Sunday. Event details are all here. There’ll be stunt riders, live music, vendors, a BBQ, show ‘n shine, bike games and lots of other stuff. The event will include parades in several different towns as well.
The Ride for Dad isn’t quite over yet – the rural Alberta chapter has their event this weekend, with rides departing from Red Deer, Olds and High River. There are lots more details available at their site here. Registration is between 8 and 9 a.m. Saturday, and the ride leaves 9:30 sharp.