2019 British Superbike Championship
Snetterton Race of Aces
The battle in the war to become the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Champion continues this weekend (July 19/20/21) at Snetterton as the battle to seal a top six position in the standings intensifies with just four rounds now remaining ahead of the all-important Showdown.
In addition this weekend, the Monster Energy round of the season will see the revival of one of British motorcycle racing’s most prestigious race titles synonymous with the Norfolk circuit – the Race of Aces trophy.
The Monster Energy Race of Aces trophy will be awarded to the Bennetts BSB rider who scores the best cumulative result from the two races at Snetterton. The illustrious title has previously been awarded to such racing legends as Mike Hailwood, who claimed the first win in 1965, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, Paul Smart, Mick Grant and Barry Sheene.
Scott Redding arrives in Norfolk heading the standings by just four-points from Tommy Bridewell, with the pair again swapping positions in the championship table last time out at Knockhill in Scotland. Redding was victorious at the previous round, but the Be Wiser Ducati rider knows he faces tough opposition in the two races on Sunday.
“Leading the Championship right now is not the biggest thing for me. I understand I need to work the most at scoring the Podium Points before the Showdown. To come away from Knockhill with a win and a second place from sixteenth on the grid in mixed conditions, I was over the moon with that.
“I am settling in with the bike and the Championship; a lot of people didn’t believe that I could be competitive at Knockhill so it fuelled me up a bit more to do something special and to come away with all those results in the weekend was good, and to be leading the Championship is a nice bonus.
“I still love going to a new track. I can’t wait again, it is hard because you never know how you will adapt to the circuit, but I feel like I have got the harder ones out the way, more riders have said to me ‘you will like this track’. Snetterton should suit my style and I just have that drive in my stomach to do it the first time I go to a circuit and that is what really motivates me.
“I am surprising myself a little bit but I believe that has come from confidence and believing in myself again which is something that I had lost and it has kind of given me a second gear. That is an amazing feeling; the problem is when you have a couple of bad years in racing you can get down. Then you show that you can do it and then you believe that you can do it and that is the strongest thing that a rider can have in his pocket so to have that back now when I go to races now makes me more relaxed and confident.
“It always depends on the conditions, the circuit, the circumstances, but my goal is always to go for a podium regardless of a new track. When you are in a position for a podium most of the time in BSB you can fight for a win so I just don’t need to put pressure on myself. I have been enjoying the racing in BSB, it is action packed and I feel the vibe the riders are giving for the fans to watch so to be stuck in with that is something good to be part of.”
Bridewell has yet to score a victory this season, but if he can accomplish it on Sunday it will be the first race win for the Oxford Racing Ducati team. After an impressive seven podium finishes, he has been edging tantalisingly close to the achievement for the Winchester-based dealership team.
The stakes are high for Josh Brookes; he remains the only rider with a chance of claiming a £30,000 bonus in the Integro Triple Crown if he can secure the double win in Sunday’s two races.
The competition spans three rounds and, after securing the double victory at Brands Hatch but missing out at Knockhill, the 2015 champion could leave Norfolk with a big bonus if he can return to the top of the podium.
Tarran Mackenzie leads the McAMS Yamaha charge with fourth place in the overall standings and Snetterton marks a big weekend for the Japanese manufacturer as the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M will make their European debut on display. It will be the first time the 2020 models will be on show anywhere in Europe less than a week after the global unveiling in America.
Mackenzie was back on the podium at Knockhill, but he only has a slender nine-point advantage over Danny Buchan, who became the fifth different race winner of the season at Knockhill. The FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider is bidding to secure a debut appearance in the Showdown for both himself and the team.
Honda Racing’s Xavi Forés has proven he has adapted rapidly to the Bennetts BSB Championship, with the Spaniard holding the final place in the top six ahead of the two races this weekend. Forés has claimed four podium finishes so far this season and visits the Norfolk track for the first time. He has a 20-point margin over Christian Iddon and Peter Hickman ahead of the weekend.
Iddon has been facing a race against time to be fit after his Knockhill crash as he bids for a Showdown place for the first time for Tyco BMW; Michael Laverty joins him this weekend as Keith Farmer continues his recovery from injury.
Hickman and Iddon are equal on points in seventh place but the Smiths Racing BMW rider has high hopes as he heads to Norfolk, with Andrew Irwin and Dan Linfoot also looking to close the gap this weekend.
“I’m excited ahead of the weekend, last round I felt we under-performed slightly in terms of what happened in the races but our strength in practice is certainly something that I’m taking confidence from. The bike is quickly becoming a joy to ride again, we’ve overcome the front end issues and I feel this weekend we’ll be able to show our true pace. Snetterton is a circuit I really enjoy, I’ve had some really strong results there in the past and I’m fairly certain it will suit the Yamaha. Our aim is to gain strong points, two top five’s and pushing for the podium, which I feel we will be more than capable of doing.”
Hector Barbera will also be back on the grid at Snetterton, lining up for the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team, replacing Glenn Irwin who is suffering from a virus that’s causing partial vision. The Spanish rider debuted for the title-winning team at Donington Park earlier in the season, securing a sixth and eighth-place finish, plus scoring a pole position for the final race in the triple-header.
Jason O’Halloran hasn’t had the best of luck so far this season with McCAMS Yamaha and is down in joint 12th place in the rider standings at the half way stage of the championship. But the Norfolk venue is the scene of some top results for O’Halloran who has won races in the past here so he will be hoping for more of the same this time this weekend to try and build towards the top six before the showdown commences.
The weekend also marks the return of the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team, based at nearby RAF Marham, with rookie Ryan Vickers. The Thetford rider has scored top 10 finishes in his debut season after lifting the Superstock 600 title last year and is eager for a strong performance at his local circuit.
BSB Superbike Standings
|1||Scott REDDING (Ducati)||176|
|2||Tommy BRIDEWELL (Ducati)||172|
|3||Josh BROOKES (Ducati)||145|
|4||Tarran MACKENZIE (Yamaha)||128|
|5||Danny BUCHAN (Kawasaki)||119|
|6||Xavi FORÉS (Honda)||96|
|7||Christian IDDON (BMW)||76|
|8||Peter HICKMAN (BMW)||76|
|9||Andrew IRWIN (Honda)||70|
|10||Dan LINFOOT (Yamaha)||59|
|11||Luke MOSSEY (Suzuki)||58|
|12||Josh ELLIOTT (Suzuki)||57|
|13||Jason O’HALLORAN (Yamaha)||57|
|14||Keith FARMER (BMW)||54|
|15||Luke STAPLEFORD (Suzuki)||41|
|16||Glenn IRWIN (Kawasaki)||39|
|17||Bradley RAY (Suzuki)||32|
|18||Héctor BARBERÁ (Kawasaki)||18|
|19||Ryan VICKERS (Kawasaki)||18|
|20||James ELLISON (BMW)||18|
|21||Claudio CORTI (Kawasaki)||17|
|22||David ALLINGHAM (Yamaha)||6|
|23||Dean HARRISON (Kawasaki)||4|
|24||Ben CURRIE (Kawasaki)||3|
|25||Sam COVENTRY (Kawasaki)||1|