Snetterton readies for British Superbikes showdown
The British Superbike Championship makes its return following a six week break, and will be touching down in Snetterton over the June 15-17 weekend, with Leon Haslam in the lead and Australian Jason O’Halloran fourth.
Haslam heads into the fourth round of the season with a 14-point lead following his double win last time out at Oulton Park, but the ‘Pocket Rocket’ has yet to celebrate victory at the Norfolk circuit and wants to change that this weekend.
“I am looking forward to Snetterton, it is one of two circuits that I have not won at and it is also the only circuit where I haven’t got on the podium with the Kawasaki. I really want to change that stat this year. As a circuit it suits some of the other manufacturers with the long straights, but I am feeling really confident this year. It is the first time we participated in the official test and going into the weekend injury free, unlike how I have the past few years, is obviously good too. I am really looking forward to it and the aim is obviously to win the races – it is always a good atmosphere with the fans there and we are ready.”
Bradley Ray though leads the opposition ready to kick off the counterattack and after celebrating podium finishes in the opening three races of the season, including an incredible double win at round one, the 21-year-old is determined to fire the Buildbase Suzuki back to the front of the pack.
Reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne currently sits third in the standings but remains side-lined through injury as he continues his recovery, leaving Glenn Irwin to head the Be Wiser Ducati team.
Irwin is one of the six podium finishers so far this season and trails Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran by just four points in the standings. The Australian holds fourth place in the title race ahead of this weekend at the circuit where he scored his first Superbike race win for the Honda team.
“Going into Snetterton is a different experience for me this year with my team-mate Shakey being injured. Of course, I wish Shakey all the best in his recovery, so the onus is now on me to get the results that the PBM team and Be Wiser Ducati deserve. I thrive on that level of expectation, so I’m sure I can bring another step to my performance this weekend. We had a great NW200 and a solid test at Knockhill, and with the Ducati working so well at Snetterton as we know, I’m ready for this challenge.”
On the opposite side of the Be Wiser Ducati garage, Glenn’s younger brother Andrew lines up in place of Byrne, making his Superbike race debut following last season when he finished runner-up in the Dickies British Supersport Championship.
“I am really looking forward to Snetterton and I really enjoyed my first day on the bike Andrew Irwinat Knockhill on Monday. It’s going to be a steep learning curve, but I’ll chip away and learn as much as I can with working with the team to help me adjust my style to suit the Superbike. I’m under no illusion how tough it’ll be, I’ll give my best like always and enjoy the opportunity. I join Glenn in wishing Shakey a speedy recovery too and acknowledge his record around Snetterton which is awesome.”
Jake Dixon scored his first podium finish of the season last time out in Cheshire and the local Marham-based RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team will be heading into the home round brimming with confidence.
Dixon completes the all-important top six, but determined to close in this weekend will be 2015 champion Josh Brookes, who will be ready to strike as he bids for McAMS Yamaha’s first podium finish of the season at the circuit he celebrated a double podium finish last season.
Danny Buchan also counts Snetterton as his local round, hailing from Basildon, and he is just two points adrift of Brookes ahead of him with Michael Laverty leading the Tyco BMW charge just two further points behind.
Cambridge’s Luke Mossey though was the rider to set the pace at the official test last month at his home circuit and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider is desperate to return to the front of the field, having yet to score an elusive podium finish so far this season.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 115
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 101
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 98
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 63
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 59
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 55