The 31-year-old road racer from Brantford, Ont. is trying to notch his seventh national Superbike crown and his fifth in a row. He is currently tied with Maple Ridge, B.C. legend Steve Crevier for the most Superbike titles at six. Szoke became the first racer to win four consecutive Canadian Superbike championships in 2009.
Round 1 of the 2010 Canadian Superbike Championship begins on May 28th in Montreal.
But despite his run of success Szoke has had a hectic off-season. After winning his four straight titles for the Canadian Kawasaki Motors factory team, Szoke will not be back on the green bikes this summer.
Instead, he has set up his own racing program using Honda motorcycles. He will be competing on board a Waznie Racing / Ciclo Werks BMC / DeWildt Honda CBR1000RR at Circuit ICAR.
Szoke’s closest challenge will likely come from his old team and his former teammate, as Alex Welsh leads the Kawasaki assault for 2010. The 21-year-old Welsh joined the factory Kawasaki team as Szoke’s understudy last season and enjoyed a promising campaign, finishing seventh in the Superbike point standings.
This year the Kawasaki squad has been heavily reorganized, with Competition Systems taking over the handling of the Kawasaki ZX-10Rs to be ridden by Welsh.
The third of the major teams gunning for glory at Circuit ICAR will be the Rush HD / BMW Motorrad Canada factory effort, which makes its debut in the Superbike class. Two-time Canadian Superbike champion Francis Martin of Sherbrooke, Que. and Mississauga, Ont.’s Michael Ferreira will ride the new BMW S1000RRs.
The 35-year-old Martin is fully recovered from a nasty accident he suffered late in the 2009 season and is anxious to re-establish himself in the feature class. The 25-year-old Ferreira, conversely, gets the chance to make his Superbike debut this summer.
A third BMW pilot who could make an impression this weekend is Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont. The 24-year-old will race a bike with backing from Orion Motorsports and BMW Motorrad Canada. Nelson finished third in the ICAR Superbike event last year, so he clearly has a soft spot for the circuit.
Jordan Szoke has won five Canadian Superbike Championships in a row and is looking for his seventh title win during the 2010 season.
The Honda ranks will be swelled by the ProStar Motorsports / Sturgess Cycle entries for Frank Trombino and Sebastien Tremblay. The 35- year-old Trombino, from Kleinburg, Ont., has enjoyed some of his best performances recently with ProStar.
Longueuil, Que.’s Tremblay finished second in last year’s Amateur Sport Bike Championship with a win at ICAR to his credit, although he is coming back from an injury suffered at Shannonville Motorsport Park earlier this spring.
Another potentially potent Honda effort will be the Jodi Christie Racing team with Jodi Christie on a Honda CBR600RR. The Keene, Ont. rider won last year’s HJC Pro Rookie of the Year Award and was the Amateur National Sport Bike champion in 2008.
Perennial Superbike frontrunner Kevin Lacombe of Granby, Que. has entered a GSX-R1000 and last year’s Amateur National champion, Cody Matechuk of Cochrane, Alta., is on an Acceleration Racing GSX-R.
Szoke’s 2010 campaign will also include a bid for a fifth straight title in the Pro Sport Bike category as he debuts on Honda’s CBR600RR.
Should he pull off the feat, he would equal the record established by Don Munroe, who won the class five years in succession between 1994 and 1998.
Szoke will face challenges from within the Honda ranks. Christie was seventh in last year’s Pro Sport Bike series as a rookie and got stronger as the season wore on. ProStar’s Tremblay should also be at home on the Honda CBR600RR after his strong Amateur campaign.
Welsh will also be out to end Szoke’s reign on his Kawasaki ZX-6R after finishing fourth in last year’s series and challenging for victory on numerous occasions.
The Ruthless Racing / Deeley Harley-Davidson Buell 1125Rs are back in the hands of North Vancouver’s Darren James and Dave Estok of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
This weekend’s action also sees the season openers for the Amateur Sport Bike, Sport Twins and Honda CBR125R Challenge classes.
Raphael Archambault of St-Colomban, Que. leads the charge in the Amateur Sport Bike series on his Archambault Racing Team Honda CBR600RR after winning the Suzuki SV650 National Cup last season.
The Sport Twins category makes its national debut at Circuit ICAR.
Among the riders expected to contend are Brantford, Ont.’s Rob Busby and Olivier Spilborghs of White Rock, BC, both on Buells.
The Honda CBR125R Challenge will enjoy a doubleheader this weekend, with feature races on Saturday and Sunday. Loic Viscasillas of nearby Laval, Que. enters the weekend as one of the home favorites.
This weekend’s action will also include the second round of the Pro Honda Oils Women’s Cup Challenge. Honda CBR600RR rider Natalie Catherine Provost of Laval won at Circuit ICAR last year.
Practice for this weekend’s event begins on Friday with qualifying, including the Pirelli SuperPole for the Inside Motorcycles Pole Position Award in the Parts Canada Superbike class set for Saturday. Races in all national classes will go Sunday.
For ticket information call (514) 955-4227 or go to www.circuiticar.com.