British Superbike heads to Brand Hatch with 32-points covering top five
The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship arrives at Brands Hatch this weekend (July 21/22/23) for one of the biggest rounds of the year and with the Showdown on the horizon, the battle to be inside the top six in the standings is set to rage in Kent.
Nine different riders representing seven different teams and five different manufacturers have scored podium finishes from the opening six rounds. Luke Mossey tops the standings heading to Brands Hatch by just seven points and the 24-year-old is ready to bounce back from a tough weekend at Snetterton.
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider will be pushing to replicate his early season performance on the Indy circuit, when he claimed his first victory before making it a double.
Ready to reign on home turf, however, is Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. The defending champion is second in the standings ahead of the two races on the Grand Prix circuit this Sunday and the Be Wiser Ducati rider is focused on delivering a double win for his local crowd.
Shane Byrne – Be Wiser Ducati
“I said after Knockhill that the next tracks coming up are ones that I particularly enjoy and I definitely did at Snetterton! That was a great weekend – two lap records and it really was the gentlemen’s set with the pole position and the two race wins so it really doesn’t get any better than that. However, that does mean that anything less now is going to be almost a disappointment! For me the important thing is to be about winning on raceday and getting as many Podium Points as possible.
“Snetterton felt like my season has really started now and both myself and the Be Wiser Ducati team will be doing everything to be strong again at Brands Hatch. Everyone always says to me about Brands Hatch being ‘my circuit’; I guess that might be because I probably like it more than anyone else! That feeling when you turn left at Surtees and head out onto the Grand Prix circuit is like a magical rollercoaster of tarmac and I just can’t wait until Friday to get out there. My aim for Brands Hatch is to repeat what we did at Snetterton; I would love another double win and to put on a great show for the home crowd.”
Leon Haslam though will want nothing more than to be back on the top step of the podium this weekend. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider has been battling to return to full fitness after his huge Knockhill crash and with one Podium Point separating him from Byrne, the rivalry is set to intensify!
Josh Brookes and the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team delivered a double podium finish last time out in Norfolk. The 2015 champion is gunning for his first win of the season, as he pushes to strengthen his position in the top six and edge further ahead from fellow countryman Jason O’Halloran who holds fifth in the standings.
Brookes still holds the lap record around the Grand Prix track, and has picked up a hatful of podium finishes and race wins during his MCE British Superbike career at the Kent based venue, most notably picking up four wins out of five in 2015, as he went on his way to lift the crown.
“I’m feeling good, we’ve come off two good races at the last round and I want to carry on from there, when I won the title in 2015 this round was a good event so hopefully the same results can be repeated. The bike seems competitive, I’m riding well and I like the track so it’s hard to predict that it will happen again like it did in 2015. I certainly like the circuit, it’s one of the better ones we go too, but it’s a good track for a lot of the other riders, not just for me. The track has a nice layout, it’s a longer lap than some of the circuits we go too and I like the woodland section; the nature of the track is nice. I would expect to be racing with Shakey this weekend, but we have to focus on getting my own speed where it needs to be and I imagine he will be one of the main competitors, Leon will be fighting back after recovering from his injury, but there are a lot of riders that it would be disrespectful to count out. I’m hopeful that I can have a great race with Shakey but until we line up on the grid we’ll have to wait and see. I’m excited and pumped to get the track, it’s going to very difficult to predict and I’d rather do my talking on the tarmac.”
O’Halloran has already claimed three podium finishes on board the new Fireblade for Honda Racing and will want to carry the momentum from Snetterton into this weekend as he also targets his first victory of 2017.
Peter Hickman is the final rider to feature in the top six and the Smiths Racing BMW rider holds just a four point advantage over double Knockhill race winner Jake Dixon, who’ll be racing in front of his home fans on the RAF Reserves Kawasaki.
Christian Iddon and Glenn Irwin are both bidding to make their return at Brands Hatch; the pair were both injured at Knockhill and want to start their top six fightback this weekend for the Tyco BMW and Be Wiser Ducati teams respectively.
Local rookie Bradley Ray, America’s John Hopkins and the McAMS Yamaha team of James Ellison and Michael Laverty will also be bidding to leap up the order this weekend to get their Showdown campaign back on track.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 147
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 140
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 132
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 118
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 115
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 93