Veteran Canadian National motorcycle racing star Jordan Szoke of Brantford, ON, is frequently referred to by media as “the people’s Champion.” This might be the shortest route to describe the unparalleled career of Szoke, undoubtedly one of the most successful racers in the history of National roadracing competition in any country.
Szoke is a multi-discipline success story, a throwback to racers of early eras – he rides all kinds of off-road, ice races, competes at the top level on bicycles, and has taken the Canadian Observed Trails Championship four times. A summary of his top-level success: Szoke has 14 Pro Superbike (Overall Canadian) titles, and five National crowns in the middleweight Pro Sport Bike Middleweight National division. In total, Szoke has 78 Feature class wins over three decades with 119 Pro Superbike Podiums – a remarkable hit ratio from 150 total career starts.
Twenty years ago, no one expected any of Steve Crevier’s records to be beaten: he is second in wins at 26 and earned the overall number one plate six times.
Szoke’s father, Bob was a road racer, and with the solid support of Mother Sandy, Jordan started out in Vintage Road Racing Association (VRRA) at Mosport in 1994, age 15. Soon the family were budget racing with a Honda CBX250 singe street machine, Szoke winning his first crown with RACE in 1995. He then moved to a unique, 250 Grand Prix class MuZ Yamaha based single, earning another regional crown.
In 1997 Szoke moved to the mainstream in the CSBK Nationals as a rookie Pro on his famous flexi yellow Pennzoil Honda CBR600F3 and late in the season took a Kawasaki out of head office display to make his Superbike debut at Shubenacadie, placing fourth. In the next and final National of the year at Shannonville, Szoke fought for the lead in the rain and made it to the podium in third, earning his nick name, “Jordan of the Jungle.”
Szoke also raced in the US with the famed Fast by Ferracci Ducati team during his breakout 1998 program, after boss Eraldo saw the teen-ager win in the rain at Race City in Calgary during a Speedvision broadcast. Szoke had a new Kawasaki Superbike in 1998, and after a dramatic season, Szoke defeated his more experienced team-mates Don Munroe and Michael Taylor, both two-time number ones, to earn the Canada Cup in his first attempt.
Unfortunately, tire and sponsor woes meant Szoke was in the cold heading into 1999 until Honda Canada moved in to activate a long-term plan. Szoke has success running his own effort with Honda’s CBR900RR in 1999, but in 2020 Honda provided the legendary RC51 twin and full in-house support to partner a back-from-the-USA, Steve Crevier. Szoke won four of six races and earned a job in the US with the Austin Harley-Davidson VR1000 superbike program, scoring top privateer honors. In 2022 Szoke started in the US with Ebsco Suzuki and a podium at Daytona. A last-minute deal with Coors Light Blackfoot Suzuki brought another overall Canadian road race number one.
After frustrating results in a return to Honda Canada that still yielded second in the Superbike Nationals with long-time supporter Scott Miller of Fast Company, Szoke joined Kawasaki in 2006 for the switch to spec Pirelli rubber in CSBK. Szoke established an unprecedented dynasty for this new era of Canada racing, taking the title in both televised Pro classes for the next four years in a row.
When the economy suffered a downturn, Szoke ran his own Honda program and had a perfect season in Superbike in 2010 – the first rider ever to do so in Canada. Since then, Szoke has also earned perfect seasons for the BMW Motorrad Canada program in 2015 and 2016 – he also set the consecutive win record at an incredible 15 in a row.
During the 2010s, Szoke enjoyed a strong period with Mopar support on Kawasaki and BMW Superbikes, and a recent return for a third stint with Canadian Kawasaki included the 2020 title – his unprecedented 14th overall.
Szoke missed the 2022 season due to injuries suffered in motocross training and was forced to work through further health issues in 2023 with his enlarged, home-based Kawasaki effort that included rising star, Trevor Dion. Still, Szoke was back at the front and on the Podium at the final race of the season at Shannonville.
Add in National success in the Trails discipline and mountain bike racing, as well as his own stunt show company, and you get a rough idea of Szoke’s influence in the last three decades of Canadian bike sport.