SZOKE BACK ON FAMILIAR GROUND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MIRABEL, Que. (May 27) – In some respects Jordan Szoke feels like he was never away.
After spending the 2010 season racing Hondas the Brantford, Ont. native has been reunited with the Competition Systems Kawasaki Race Team for this year’s Canadian Superbike Championship by Parts Canada, which gets underway this weekend at Circuit ICAR, just north of Montreal.
Szoke has won five of his seven national Superbike titles in Kawasaki colours, including four in a row between 2006 and 2009. But there was a parting of ways before the 2010 season and the 31-year-old ran his own Honda effort to capture a fifth straight Canadian title and record seventh championship overall.
Now he is back with Kawasaki, Szoke has a sense of returning home.
“We’re all good friends so, yeah, it’s been pretty easy settling back in,” Szoke said at the track on Friday. “They know what I like and the direction I want to go with the bikes. We’re all in the same boat, we want to go racing and have fun.”
Szoke wasn’t getting much racing done on Friday, however as cold weather and rain limited practice for this weekend’s event. That was particularly bad news for Szoke, who has a brand new Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja at his disposal.
“I’m sure the weather’s screwing everybody up but with the new bike we’d like to put some track time on it,” said Szoke, who won the Superbike feature at Circuit ICAR last year, the start of a perfect seven-for-seven season. “I’m a racer and I want to get out and ride the motorcycle. Having the day rained out kind of sucks.”
Szoke’s testing with the new Kawasaki has been limited to a couple of days in Jennings, Fla. earlier this Spring.
“We know it’s a capable machine based on our times down there,” he admitted. “We’ve got a good base set up and good direction on where to go from here.
“But at this track it’s less about the set up and more about turning a lot of laps. That gets you more comfortable and gives you more confidence.”
Szoke will be looking for every advantage he can find as he gets set to renew his rivalry with Brett McCormick. The two fought an intense battle for the 2009 Canadian Superbike Championship by Parts Canada and the 19-year-old Saskatoon rider is back in Canada after spending 2010 in the United States.
McCormick is riding for the radX / BMW Motorrad Canada team this year on a BMW S1000RR. He scored a victory at Circuit ICAR in 2009 while racing a Suzuki, one of four wins he picked up that season on his way to the runner-up spot in the championship.
“I think Brett has stepped up his pace after getting that experience in the U.S.,” Szoke explained. “But I’ll be able to step up my pace too.
“Two years ago, when Brett was riding the Suzuki, I thought he had the better bike although I thought we had the better team. But now I think we have a better motorcycle and I think I will still have the advantage when it comes to the race.”
For the first time in five years Szoke only has one race to worry about this weekend. After winning five straight Pro Sport Bike titles between 2006 and 2010 he is focusing strictly on the Superbike crown this year.
“The one advantage with running two classes was getting more track time,” Szoke admitted. “But at least now I can focus on one class and that will be less stressful. For the last five or six years I think my physical conditioning has been wicked. Since I’m now racing in only one class I think I’ll be able to do more fast laps in the races, and I think overall it will be an advantage for me.”
Qualifying at Circuit ICAR will take place Saturday with racers chasing the Kawasaki S4-R Competition Lubricants Pole Award in the Pro Superbike and Sport Bike, and Amateur Superbike and Sport Bike classes, along with the Tactical Products Canada Pole Award in the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup.
Saturday’s action also includes the opening race of the weekend, the Honda CBR125R Challenge 10-lapper.
Races in the remaining national classes will go Sunday.
For ticket information call (514) 955-ICAR (4227) or go to http://www.circuiticar.com.
For more series information, visit http://www.csbk.ca