Smiths Triumph To Race At Australian World Supersport Round
The Smiths Triumph Racing Team will kick off their 2014 season by contesting the opening round of the World Supersport Championship which takes place at Phillip Island in Australia next month.
The Gloucester-based team will be running both Billy McConnell and Graeme Gowland on factory-supported Triumph Daytona 675Rs at the Victoria racetrack which takes place over the weekend of February 21/23 and is part of their preparation to win back the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship they relinquished last year.
Adelaide rider McConnell, who turned 27 on Christmas Eve, returns for a third year with the Smiths Triumph team having finished third in the BSS title race for the past three successive seasons. Meanwhile Gowland, from Allendale in Northumberland, finished fifth in last year’s BSS standings and is a former Spanish Supersport champion. The 28-year-old has taken over the seat from the retired Aussie Glen Richards who won the British title for Smiths in 2012 and both McConnell and Gowland are hoping to get their season off to a flying start on the world stage.
Smiths Triumph Racing Team has previously used World Supersport Championship wild card outings to gain an advantage in BSS, contesting world rounds at both Donington Park and Silverstone. In 2012, Richards qualified his Smiths Triumph in fifth at Donington Park and in the race he looked like a potential race winner until suffering tyre problems late in the race. However, he still claimed fifth at the flag whilst McConnell took a superb ninth in that race and the third member of the team, Luke Mossey, also scored a point in 15th place to make it a great day for the Smiths Triumph Racing Team.
At the same Donington Park race in 2013, Richards claimed an amazing third slot on the grid and came home ninth in the race as again, the lack of traction control on the factory bike prepared to BSS regulations made it hard to compete in the longer races of WSS.
Smiths Triumph Racing Team’s outing at Phillip Island is sure to present the same challenges in regard to overall race results, particularly with the tyre wear issues associated with the new surface at the Phillip Island circuit. Motorpoint British Supersport Championship rules mirror the WSS regulations in most areas, except for the compulsory use of the BSS control ECU supplied by Motec.
The control ECUs have bespoke firmware for BSS with the traction control function locked off, though the British rules do allow for an air bleed system to control rear wheel lock under braking on certain bikes, including the Triumph. Engine and chassis specifications are on parity between the two series, and the Smiths Triumph 675Rs have proven to be very quick machines.
Team Manager Rebecca Smith: “The team enjoyed its World Championship race experiences last year and it will be great to get our season underway at Phillip Island. It’ll be a fantastic experience for the whole team and it’s also very exciting for Billy to be able to wild card at his home race. It will also be an ideal opportunity for Graeme to get some quality track time and experience of the Smiths Triumph Daytona 675R too.”
Billy McConnell: “We’ve been thinking about doing the Phillip Island race for a while and now it’s all come together really quickly. I’m pumped to be racing at home but it’ll be tough without the traction control. I’ve ridden in WSS on the Triumph so I know what to expect so I’ll just have to hang it out a bit when the tyre goes and hope for the best. I’m deadly serious about winning the British Championship this year and this is an ideal way to start our preparations.”
Graeme Gowland: “This is a brilliant opportunity to get an early race under our belts and for me to familiarise myself with the Triumph 675R and the Smiths Racing Team. It will also give us a head start on our rivals so that means we will hopefully have an advantage come Brands Hatch. We have a test at Phillip Island the week before which will help and I’ve raced there before too. I love the track and whilst it will be tough, I’m really looking forward to it and hope we can score some good points.”
The opening round of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship gets under way at Brands Hatch over Easter (April 18/21st).
Picture attached: Billy McConnell in action last year on the Smiths Triumph Racing Team Daytona 675R and Graeme Gowland testing prior to their trip to Philip Island.
2014 Motorpoint British Supersport Championship
- 18/19/20/21 April – Brands Hatch Indy, Kent
- 3/4/5 May – Oulton Park, Cheshire
- 13/14/15 June – Snetterton 300, Norfolk
- 27/28/29 June – Knockhill, Fife
- 18/19/20 July – Brands Hatch GP, Kent
- 1/2/3 August – Thruxton, Hampshire
- 8/9/10 August – Oulton Park, Cheshire
- 23/24/25 August – Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire
- 5/6/7 September – Donington Park GP, Leicestershire
- 19/20/21 September – Assen, Netherlands
- 3/4/5 October – Silverstone GP, Northamptonshire
- 17/18/19 October – Brands Hatch GP, Kent