BSB goes Forth to Knockhill
The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship arrived in Scotland yesterday and some of the leading protagonists and the home-grown contenders rode over the famous Forth Road Bridge to signal the arrival of the series this weekend at Knockhill circuit (3/4/5 July).
The annual Superbike event is one of the biggest sporting events in Scotland and the traffic was halted at the Forth Road Bridge as the show rolled into town with riders including Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Ellison, Tyco BMW’s Tommy Bridewell, Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran and Bennetts Suzuki’s Christian Iddon.
Stuart Easton led the home heroes with Taylor and Tarran Mackenzie plus Ducati TriOptions Cup champion Dennis Hobbs.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne arrives in Scotland as the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship leader, but with four different winners from the opening four rounds the defending champion faces tough opposition at Knockhill.
Oulton Park race winner Stuart Easton is keen to give his PBM Kawasaki team-mate a hard time at his home round this weekend; the leading Scottish rider in the championship currently lies fourth in the standings and is keen to carry the momentum to his local circuit.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes has been denied victory so far this season, but is stacking up an impressive run of podium finishes and is targeting the win that eluded him so far in his campaign to maintain his position ahead of James Ellison in the standings. Ellison was battered and bruised last time out at Snetterton but is determined to return to the podium this weekend in his bid to regain the lead in the standings.
Tommy Bridewell was victorious at Oulton Park and the Tyco BMW rider narrowly sits ahead of Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran in the standings after the Australian’s first podium finish in the championship at the previous rounds.
With five rounds before the Showdown, the battle to be in the top six is set to get even more fraught as Michael Laverty, Dan Linfoot, Howie Mainwaring and Chris Walker bid to close in this weekend. Last year’s victor Ryuichi Kiyonari is in need of a repeat performance here to catapult him back into title contention as he aims to equal Byrne’s record-breaking fourth title.
Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) – Championship position: 1st (151 points) – “We had a great weekend at Snetterton, but in BSB you should never count your chickens – although the boss [Paul Bird] generally does! Anything can happen and we need to keep our heads down and keep working hard. Snetterton was exactly what we needed; we have been catching up and the double win was a bit of a relief after not getting one since the first round. Knockhill is a completely different ball game compared to Snetterton – it is a lot more intense and you have to perfect over the whole lap to get it right. The PBM Kawasaki team haven’t stood still to be ready for this weekend so we are all set for what I expect to be another two tough races. All I can say is bring on Knockhill because I can’t wait to go racing again!”
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes was back on the podium at the previous round of Snetterton with a pair of second place finishes and is edging ever closer to the first victory in the championship for the next generation YZF-R1. The Fife circuit requires tenacity and determination and Brookes is eager to box off his first victory of his 2015 campaign this weekend.
Josh Brookes – “I have had mixed results at Knockhill in the past, I have had wins there but last year we just couldn’t perform like we would have wanted to and so this year we are definitely hoping for more. I am hoping to recover the pace that we had when I claimed victories there and I think the new Milwaukee Yamaha will react differently to the previous model like we have seen at other tracks. I want to get out there and do the job, which ultimately is to screw the life out of it until we get the results that we know we are capable of and I have the desire as always to win.”
Broc Parkes makes his debut at Knockhill and after making further improvements at Snetterton, the Australian is hungry to fire himself back into the top ten and elevate himself up the overall standings in his quest for a position in the Showdown at the end of the season.
Broc Parkes – “I really want to have a good weekend at Knockhill – I haven’t been there before but I have heard a lot about it and I feel ready for the races. The next three rounds are obviously really important for me if we want to be in the top six for the Showdown so I need to get on with it and really push on this weekend. I was disappointed with Snetterton because we showed we had the pace and it just didn’t translate into race results. I am approaching this weekend the same way as I did the last, which is to get in as many laps as possible to learn the track and then do the best job I can.”
Jason O’Halloran enjoyed an excellent weekend at Snetterton, two podium finishes promoting him into sixth place in the championship as the leading Honda rider.
Josh Waters, Billy McConnell and Jed Metcher will be hoping to break into the top ten at Knockhill.
BSB 2015 Snetterton Race One
1: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)
2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +2.685s
3: Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.013s
4: Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) +8.134s
5: Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +14.134s
6: Chris Walker (Be Wiser Kawasaki) +14.592s
BSB 2015 Snetterton Race Two
1: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)
2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +4.676s
3: Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.404s
4: Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +5.471s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) +6.323s
6: Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) +9.146s
BSB 2015 Championship standings
1: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) 151
2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 134
3: James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 118
4: Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) 99
5: Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) 77
6: Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 74