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Despite U.K. crash, Troy Bayliss on track for third Superbike title

Bayliss scored a win in the first wet race, but the torrential conditions got even worse in the second race and he went down.

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Australian racer Troy Bayliss continued his run to yet another World Superbike title for Xerox Ducati, despite crashing out of a wet race at the U.K.’s Donington Park last weekend.

Bayliss scored a win in the first wet race, but the torrential conditions got even worse in the second race and he went down.

His main rivals had similar problems, however, so he’s looking good in what is strongly rumoured to be the Aussie champion’s last year of racing. With two WSB titles, a British superbike title, and a one-off appearance and win in Moto GP, Bayliss clearly has nothing much left to prove to anybody.

Bayliss was helped by a high attrition rate in the shortened 20-lap opening race, as his four main championship foes – countryman Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia), German Max Neukirchner (Team Alstare Suzuki), Spain’s Carlos Checa (Hannspree Honda) and Japan’s Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) – were among 19 riders to watch the finish from the pits.

Bayliss now really only has to score solid points in the remaining three rounds to clinch a third and final world title.

SUPERBIKE SERIES FINALE

Jordan Szoke took his fifth Parts Canada Superbike national title Aug. 31 at Shannonville Motorsports Park, tying the record of the remarkable Steve Crevier.

It was also Szoke’s third straight title. More than that, he’d already nailed down the Yoshimura Pro 600 Sport Bike title at Shubenacadie, N.S., earlier in August, making it three years in a row he’s done the double.

Szoke cruised a bit at Shannonville, taking a canny sixth to nail down the title without taking the chances of racing for the lead.

“It was a boring race for me and not the way I want to do it,” said the Brantford native. “But we got the championship and that was the most important thing.”

Second in the series went to Cochrane, Alta. resident Clint McBain, who carded a fourth in this final event on his Acceleration Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 after a spectacular crash in qualifying meant his crew had to build him a new motorcycle overnight.

Meanwhile, Szoke’s teenage teammate Brett McCormick overcame a season of bad luck, injury and Internet distance-learning high school homework to claim his first career Pro win in a superb contest with Fast Company Yamaha rider Kevin Lacombe.

Lacombe, riding with a wrist broken at the Shubenacadie round only three weeks earlier, put in a gritty performance. He and McCormick each led half of the 20-lap race, both passes occurring in late-braking moves at the tight hairpin. McCormick’s margin of victory was a mere 0.113 of a second.

“It was an unbelievable race,” said McCormick, who started from pole position and led off the start. “To get my first win in a battle like that is really something. Hopefully I can do more of this next year.”

Lacombe finishes the season third in the Superbike standings with 250 points.

Alex Welsh of Uxbridge, Ont., finished seventh in the Pro 600 Sport Bike race on his Z1 Cycletech Triumph 675 and captured the HJC Pro Rookie of the Year Award.

Valter Bartolini, all the way from Bologna, Italy, clinched the Canadian Thunder title with a win aboard his NCR-Ducati 848. His teammate Andrew Nelson of Kars, Ont., the only rider who could beat him to the title, finished second just 0.120 of a second behind, with Dave Estok of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., third on a Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada/Ruthless Racing Buell 1125R.

Cody Matechuk of Cochrane, Alta. (stepson of superbike racer Clint McBain!), survived a jumped-start penalty to win the Suzuki SV650 National Cup race and clinch the series title over Burlington’s John Jarvie, who finished third in the race behind Rob Busby of Brantford.

Larry Tate covers motorcycle racing for Wheels. He can be reached at larryt@primus.ca

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