F Features

Christie edges Szoke in Superbike thriller at AMP

 DSC6482Jodi Christie scored his first career Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship win in dramatic fashion on Sunday as he beat Jordan Szoke by just 0.036 secs. to claim the Honda and Pro Cycle-sponsored third round of the series at Atlantic Motorsport Park.

           

Riding the Jodi Christie Racing / Honda Canada / Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR, the Keene, Ont. rider took the lead from Szoke’s Waznie Racing / BMW Motorrad Canada / Parts Canada BMW S1000RR two laps from the end of the 22-lap race around the 2.56 km (1.6-mile) AMP track and held off a late challenge from Szoke at the line.

           

Alex Welsh completed the podium aboard the AW7R / Kenwood Electronics Canada / Parts Canada Suzuki GSX-R1000.

           

“Words can’t explain how I feel right now,” said the 20-year-old Christie, who had finished second to Szoke in the first two races of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship season. “I’ve been coming here since 2008 and it’s very rewarding to score my first win at such a technical track. I needed to get the monkey off my back and I knew I could do it. I was just never quite aggressive enough before.”

           

The win also allowed Christie to close to within 16 points of Szoke in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings as the season reaches its halfway point. Christie earned 50 points for the win and now has 143 points to the 159 of Szoke, who earned 42 points for second place and the two-point bonus for leading the most laps.

           

As has been the pattern this season, Welsh, Christie and Szoke pulled away from the rest of the field at the start of the race, with Welsh holding the lead. Despite claiming the Magneti Marelli SuperPole win in qualifying on Saturday, Szoke was only third off the line but passed Christie for second on lap eight and then took the lead from Welsh as the leaders completed their 10th lap.

           

Christie got ahead of Welsh at the same time and hounded Szoke as the laps wound down. He made his move entering the turn nine Carousel on lap 21. Szoke stayed close and got an excellent drive out of the final corner on the last lap. He drew alongside the Honda but couldn’t quite get ahead at the line.

           

“I figured he’d be expecting a pass on the last lap, so making my move two laps from the end seemed like a good idea,” Christie explained. “I was setting him up for that move into turn nine, but I was trying not to show my hand. The bike handled flawlessly. I just had to work on being smooth the whole race.”

Szoke said he was struggling with a traction issue from the start of the race and was not able to match the lap times he had put down in practice or qualifying.

           

“This bike is hard to get off the line and I knew that would be an issue,” said Szoke, who was bidding for a record-tying seventh career Superbike win at AMP. “I thought if I could get by Jodi and Alex quick I could get away, but from the word go I had no traction. It was a bit frustrating.”

           

Welsh dropped off the pace once he was relegated to third and eventually finished 21.825 secs. behind Christie. The Uxbridge, Ont. racer did have the consolation of turning the race’s fastest lap, a 1:07.861 on lap two.

           

“About midway the bike started sputtering,” said Welsh, who retains third in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings with 118 points. “It’s heartbreaking to have bike problems like this. It’s a long trip out here and it’s going to be longer going home.”

           

Local hero Austin Shaw-O’Leary of Falmouth, N.S. followed up a front row qualifying performance on Saturday by scoring a fourth place finish on Sunday aboard the O’Leary Brothers / Pro Cycle / GoLo Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. The 17-year-old Sunoco Pro Rookie of the Year Award contender was only sixth off the start but moved up to fourth by lap seven, surviving a close call when he made slight contact with Trevor Daley on the backstraight a lap earlier.

           

Fellow rookie Pro Daley lost fifth spot only two laps from home when he crashed his One Speed Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Mississauga, Ont. racer was uninjured.

           

Daley’s fall promoted another rookie, Kristopher Garvie of Caledon, Ont. to a fifth place finish on his Honda Canada / Genics Inc. Honda CBR600RR.

           

Franklyn Dominguez finished sixth aboard the Excel Moto / Holt / Seamont Brokerage Honda CBR1000RR after holding fourth through the early laps. The St-Lazare, Que. racer moved up to fourth in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship standings with 73 points, two ahead of Garvie.

           

Beaver Bank, N.S.’s Ron Munroe battled for sixth most of the way but faded to a seventh place finish at the end with brake trouble on his Canadian Kawasaki / Freedom Cycle / Steele Subaru Kawasaki ZX-10R.

           

In other action at AMP, Christie also won the Hindle Exhaust Pro Sport Bike feature on his Honda CBR600RR to extend his lead in the series. The win was Christie’s third in a row in the class but only came after a fierce battle with Shaw-O’Leary, who led the first nine laps of the 18-lap race before Christie finally got ahead.

Shaw-O’Leary nevertheless finished second, just 0.090 secs. behind on his Yamaha YZF-R6, while John Ross MacRae of Calgary took third aboard the Riedmann Racing / Castrol / Blackfoot Triumph 675.

           

Christie now leads the Pro Sport Bike standings with 165 points to the 123 of MacRae, while Shaw-O’Leary has moved up to third with 99 points.

The Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship continues with a doubleheader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont. August 9-11.

Photo by Ramesh Bayney

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