Jordan Szoke once again, for an unbelievable fourth consecutive year, took his Kawasakis to both the Parts Canada Superbike and Sport Bike (600) titles in the final race of the 2009 national season. He did it by finishing second in both races behind rival and former team-mate Brett McCormick, who looked comfortable out front on his Blackfoot Suzukis but could do nothing except win and hope that Szoke had problems.
That gives Szoke six Parts Canada Superbike titles, tying him with the legendary Steve Crevier.
It was a superb performance from both riders; McCormick looked calm and in control all weekend, setting a new lap record on the Shannonville Pro track in qualifying and winning both races with six-second margins. He needed that gap in the Superbike race, as he was called for a jump start infraction – by the way, he didn’t "jump"; I was 20 feet away watching and while admittedly the bike twitched a hair before the lights went there was no way it actually moved forward, but the harsh and inflexible series rules allow not even that. It would have been a shame if that call had decided the title, but McCormick simply checked out and rode fast enough to overcome his five-second penalty and that was that.
McCormick was philosophical, although after the race he sat for a long time on his bike, his head down, in an uncharacteristic display of emotion. "It sucks to come up a little bit short," he shrugged.
Behind those two, Kevin Lacombe on the factory Yamaha narrowly held third from Calgary’s Clint McBain on his Suzuki Dealers/Acceleration Racing Suzuki; Lacombe had destroyed his tires ("it was honestly like riding on ice the last few laps," he said) and only a waved yellow flag for an incident on the last lap prevented McBain from gobbling up the last podium spot.
Andrew Nelson on the Nelson Racing Yamaha R-1 took fifth.
This was the first time I can recall when every series champion was to be settled at the last race of the year, and in every case the winner of the season-long war didn’t win the day’s battle.
The Sport Bike race was basically a copy of the Superbike situation; McCormick had to win to have a chance, and he did, while Szoke had to finish second, and he did. Szoke’s team-mate Alex Welsh threw a wrench into things by getting a great start and leading the first couple of laps but settled in for a strong third after the other two squeezed by.
Superbike ace Clint McBain’s stepson Cody Matechuk locked up the Armour Bodies Amateur Sport Bike Championship with a second place finish at Shannonville on his Suzuki Dealers / Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R600, while the race win went to his nearest title challenger, Sebastien Tremblay on the A. Perusse Kawasaki / Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Tiny 15-year-old Raphael Archambault of St-Colomban, Quebec, clinched the Suzuki SV650 Cup title by just a single point in what turned out to be the most nail-biting finish of the day. Archambault needed only to finish 12th to secure the title from Rob Busby, but had a crash in practice that detuned him and the bike and set him well back in the grid. To compound his misery, he got a five-second jump start penalty, and while he was running in 12th, his five-second penalty would have dropped him to 13th, ending his challenge. Fortunately for him, another rider fell two laps from the end, elevating him to 11th on track, 12th on the board and giving him the title.
In Honda CBR125 Challenge action, Steven Nickerson of Hamilton, Ontario, took home the title thanks to a runner-up finish behind his main rival, Bodhi Edie of Warman, Saskatchewan. This series has finally found its feet in its third year, and with 16 riders on track it was unquestionably the most entertaining race of the weekend.
Action from Shannonville can be seen in two one-hour programs on TSN HD and TSN. The first episode premiers on Tuesday, September 29 at 1:00 p.m. and will be repeated on Saturday, October 3 at 3:30 a.m. The second show premiers Tuesday, October 6 at 1:00 pm. and repeats Saturday, October 10 at 4:00 a.m. All times are EDT.
The races will be also be shown in Quebec on RDS; dates and times yet to be determined.
Final Superbike standings are:
1. Jordan Szoke, Brantford, Ont., Canadian Kawasaki, 341 points; 2. Brett McCormick, Saskatoon, Sask., Blackfoot Suzuki, 336; 3. Clint McBain, Cochrane, Alta., Suzuki Dealers/Acceleration Racing Suzuki, 236; 4. Andrew Nelson, Kars, Ont., Nelson Racing Yamaha, 200; 5. Steve Crevier, Maple RIdge, B.C., Deeley Racing Powered By Buell Buell 1125R, 188; 6. Kevin Lacombe, Granby, Que., Team Toyota Yamaha/OTSFF Yamaha, 158; 7. Alex Welsh, Uxbridge, Ont., Canadian Kawasaki, 145; 8. Matt McBride, Mississauga, Ont., Riders Choice Suzuki, 105; 9. TIE, Eric Beausejour, Val d’Or, Que., Suzuki, 99 / Karl Daigle, Roxton Pond, Que., Perusse Kawasaki.