Canadian SBK Champ Szoke
The King of Canadian Superbike racing is headed south to MotoAmerica and he’s looking forward to the challenge. Fresh off earning his 10th Canadian Superbike Championship, Jordan Szoke will venture to New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, September 11-13, to test his mettle against the very best of the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North America Championship.
Much like his U.S. Superbike counterpart Josh Hayes, Szoke is the undeniable king of Canadian Superbike racing. In winning his 10th title, Szoke and his Mopar Express Lane BMW team dominated the series, sweeping all seven rounds for the second perfect season of his career. With those seven wins in 2015, Szoke now has amassed a record 52 Canadian Superbike victories.
At New Jersey Motorsports Park, the 36-year-old Szoke will race his BMW S 1000 RR in the MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 class (that runs with the Superbike class but is scored separately) as he tries to pad a gap of 40 points between himself and German Superbike Champion Markus Reiterberger in the 2015 BMW Motorrad Race Trophy – a BMW contingency Cup program that pays BMW racers points in their respective series all over the world in Superstock 1000 racing. Those points add up to money at the end of the season and Szoke is confident of being able to put his BMW in the top three at NJMP to gain more points on Reiterberger.
While the MotoAmerica race is by no means Szoke’s first stateside race, it will mark his debut on the 2.25-mile New Jersey Motorsports Park road course.
“It’s one of the few tracks that I haven’t been on in the U.S.,” Szoke said of NJMP. “But looking at it and seeing how some other Canadians have done there, I think we should be able to get up to speed fairly quickly. In the past racing down there was a struggle because we were on Pirelli tires (spec tires) and you were on Dunlops, but now we’re all on the same tires and fuel. It should be a fairly simple transition, I hope.”
Szoke last raced a full season in the U.S. in 2003 when he was a part of the Corona Suzuki team, but he has competed in a few one-off events in the years since.
“I haven’t been down there in a few years so I’m pretty excited about it,” the Brantford, Ontario, resident said. “I’ve wanted to come down there, but since I’ve been running my own team we haven’t had the budget and with the different tires, limited track time, etc. that was the struggle. Now that we’re all on the Dunlops, and we have a handle on them, and you guys have lots of track time, so it’s a pretty easy transition. And we’re also leading the BMW Cup points, which would be a huge accomplishment to win that for a North American rider and financially it’s a nice bonus.”
You don’t win 10 championships in your homeland then go race elsewhere with the expectations of getting beat, so it’s no surprise that Szoke has fairly lofty goals for his MotoAmerica debut.
“My goal is to be on the Superstock podium,” Szoke said. “I know how well Jody (Christie) did last year (fellow Canadian Christie qualified sixth last year in the Superbike class at NJMP, crashed out of race one and finished sixth in race two). He had some mixed results, but he was very competitive and for the most part he’s following me up here because I’m usually the fastest guy. We’re battling it out, but I’m the bar that’s set – like Josh Hayes is the bar that’s set down there. For me to have some guys to chase, which I’m not used to, I feel I can raise my game a little bit higher. I look at how Jody was doing and will try to elevate that a little bit more. My goal is top three Superstock for sure and to be as high up overall as I can.”
BMW stepped up to help Szoke win his 2015 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship and the company is also assisting with his one-off trip to compete in the MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey season finale.
“We’re getting some support from BMW to come to the event, which is amazing,” Szoke said. “We’re trying to get them more involved with it and they’re actually talking about doing more events next year in the U.S., and I’d obviously like to be back down there full time with our team. At the very least, we will be at more than one (MotoAmerica) event next year for sure.”
As for being referred to as the Canadian Josh Hayes, Szoke takes that as a huge compliment. As he should. After all, Hayes is the defending four-time Superbike Champion in the U.S.
“Us old guys are still getting it on,” Szoke said. “It’s awesome. I tweeted out a photo earlier in the year when we won, Josh (Hayes) won and (Valentino) Rossi won and we were all laughing up here that the old guys are still able to get it done sometimes.”
For ticket information for the MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey at New Jersey Motorsports Park, click here.