Underdog racer guns for top spot
Superbike rider Jodi Christie hopes to end bridesmaid role in SSBC doubleheader finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport park
The beginning of morning rush hour, cars on the highway traveling to and from downtown
Jodi Christie has had enough of finishing second.
In the five years that the 22-year-old from Keene, Ont., has competed in the Canadian Superbike Championship against Jordan Szoke ? initially in the sport bike class, and now in the top-tier superbike class for the last two years ? Christie has remained at best a bridesmaid against Canadian motorcycle racing?s most dominant rider.
This year he hopes to change that.
After winning the most recent race at Atlantic Motorsport Park for the second year in a row, Christie and his Honda Canada/Accelerated Technologies Superbike team go into next weekend?s doubleheader finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 13 points behind.
He?s not kidding himself about what has brought him here and what it?s going to take for him to come out on top.
?It?s been a long rivalry and I?ve often been the underdog,? Christie says. ?Now I?m more experienced and starting to get a lot more races and knowledge under my belt, so I?m starting to become more of a threat to Jordan, and I think he realizes that.
?On the racetrack my race craft is pretty conservative, and that?s probably why I?ve finished second more than I should have. I?m all about safety and clean, fun racing. Overall, I think it?s not a bad thing. I just need to work on some of my race craft to be more aggressive when I can.
?There?s a lot on the line. I pretty much have to win both races in order to win the championship.?
A factor that?s working in his favour is that Christie is taking his Honda CBR1000RR to his favourite track for the final two rounds of the year.
?You?re rarely below third gear, screaming the thing,? Christie says of the legendary Grand Prix track at Mosport. ?It?s where the men become men because it?s a really risky track.
?It?s really high-speed with flowing corners and lots of elevation changes, so you need to know the track well in order to do well.
?You have to be really confident to just hold it pinned over a hill and be confident that your bike is going to stick to the pavement on the other side. It?s a big adrenalin rush.?
Christie comes from a family rich in motorcycling passion and cut his teeth in motocross racing at the age of 3. His love of the sport was fostered at Shannonville Motorsport Park watching his father race in regional events.
He transitioned into road racing at 15, which led him to participate in those same races today in addition to his CSBK schedule.
He also spent a year racing in the American Motorcycle Association in the United States, but practicality brought him home.
?I have to fulfil my contracts in Canada before I can go to the States in case I was injured or something and it affected one of my Canadian races,? he explains. ?But it is my goal to get back out there.?
That said, Christie believes that the Canadian motorcycle racing scene is a great place to be at the moment.
?I?m a big supporter of the Canadian bike scene because it?s where I was raised,? he says. ?I think it?s back on its upswing. It?s hard facility-wise because we are limited with tracks, so the organizers are doing the best they can to get us out there racing, but without it costing too much and without there being too much of a risk. I?m really looking forward to the future with CSBK because it?s got some great people behind it.?
Christie also continues to compete in the CSBK sport bike class, where he rides a Honda CBR600RR. He?s defending champion in that class after winning every race last year, and he?s claimed the title for the last three years in a row. This season, however, has seen the arrival of new competition in friend and rival Kenny Riedmann, another veteran road rider who currently leads the sport bike class by three points going into Mosport.
?Last year I kind of dominated the field, so it probably got a little bit boring for some people to watch,? Christie says. ?This year it?s . . . way more exciting for the fans.?
However, in the grand scheme of his racing career, Christie admits that although he enjoys the sport bike class, the superbike class has come to dominate his attention with a singular goal.
?That?s where Jordan is, and I want to beat Jordan,? Christie says. ?I?ve finished second to him for so long.?
For more information on the Canadian Superbike Championship doubleheader finale Aug. 15-17 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, or to purchase tickets for the event, visit ctmpark.com