Szoke, Daley to begin battle for 2020 crown at season opener in Calabogie
Toronto, ON – July 22, 2020 – The Canadian Superbike Championship will return to racing for the first time in over eleven months this weekend, as the 2020 season is set to get underway with a one-day invitational at Calabogie Motorsports Park, sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and organized in conjunction with Pro6 Cycle Track Days.
Thirteen-time National champion Jordan Szoke will roll into action on Saturday, July 25 as the odds-on favourite to add another Pro Superbike feature title to his resumé, as the Lynden, ON veteran attempts to reclaim his Canada Cup from 2018 aboard his General Warranty Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
Widely considered one of the greatest Canadian racers ever, Szoke tallied two victories and six podiums across seven races in 2019, with a round four crash proving to be the difference in his return to Kawasaki. Now in his second year with the green and black, “The People’s Champ” will look to add one more piece of hardware to his trophy case as his career winds down.
Szoke also enters as the defending race winner at Calabogie in the feature class, winning the 2015 season opener by just 0.255 seconds ahead of then-reigning champion Jodi Christie. It was Christie who set the fastest time of that weekend at a 2:00.584, though that mark will be put to the test after five years of development for spec tire distributor Dunlop, with temperatures set to rise into the low-30’s on race day.
The full CSBK slate has not raced at the venue since 2015, giving Szoke the familiarity advantage entering the two-race season opener – the first time ever that a pair of feature races have been planned for the same day. The event will also be the first to ever run without spectators, as face masks and social distancing practices will be mandatory for all crew and staff. There will be no qualifying points scored at the season opener due to the compressed schedule, with a maximum of 104-points up for grabs at CMP.
Despite Szoke’s expertise, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t robbed him of any potential challengers, with Trevor Daley leading an exciting crop of talent that will be aiming to score their first ever Pro Superbike championships this summer. Daley is expected to be the biggest contender to Szoke, finding the podium three times in 2019 before expanding his partnership with Suzuki Canada aboard a factory M4-backed GSX-R1000R.
The lone other race-winner set to contest the 2020 season is former factory star Jeff Williams, who has enjoyed a late-career resurgence aboard his BMW S1000RR. It has been over two decades since the veteran took the top step of the podium at Calgary in 1999, but Williams was among the most consistent riders in 2019, finishing eighth or higher in all but one race as he ended the year sixth in the overall standings.
Fans from Quebec will also have plenty to cheer for back at home, with a trio of riders from La Belle Province set to challenge at the front in 2020. At the top of that list will be Royal Distributing BMW veteran Michael Leon, who had a down year in 2019 but still managed to finish eighth overall, highlighted by a fifth-place finish in round two. Leon is perhaps the most experienced rider at CMP other than Szoke, having finished fourth in the last feature race there in 2015 and serving as an instructor at the venue for Pro6 Cycle in the years since.
The other two headliners from Quebec will likely make their mark in both Pro classes, with race winner Sebastian Tremblay and reigning Pro Rookie of the Year Nicolas Meunier set to battle in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class as well.
Tremblay will enter as the favourite to score his first career championship after a pair of wins and five podiums total in 2019, when he finished third in the overall standings aboard a DB Moto Kawasaki ZX-6R. However, he could face some resistance in the form of Meunier, who finished fifth in the standings a year ago despite just turning 18 ahead of the 2020 campaign. The Turcotte Performance Kawasaki teenager finished in the top-five in all but one race as a rookie, and will look to build upon that in 2020.
The two other classes set to compete at Calabogie – the MotorcycleCourse.com Amateur Superbike class and the AIM Insurance Amateur Lightweight category – will also be thrilling to follow, featuring wide-open racing that is expected to field a high number of entries in the shortened season. The Lightweight class will be returning to CMP for the second year in a row, having competed alongside the Vintage Roadracing Association in an invitational weekend last season.
Video highlights will be released to the official CSBK website and other media outlets next week, while the schedule for the season opener along with full details of the event, supplied by Pro6 Cycle, can be found under the Competitors tab at the series’ official website at www.csbk.ca.