British Superbike heads to Thruxton with Shakey Byrne leading by 29-points

The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship hits the high-speed Hampshire circuit of Thruxton this weekend (August 7/8/9) with top speeds of around 280km/h). The two races at the fastest circuit of the season are set to see the battle for the top six in the standings intensify as just seven races now remain before the end of season Showdown.

Defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne moved ahead of Luke Mossey in the standings after the previous round at Brands Hatch courtesy of his double victory, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider is fully focused on his podium return, having missed out on the top three since Knockhill.

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne – Be Wiser Ducati

“We come off the back of two really strong rounds now, setting the bar so high and having two so successful weekends, it almost puts some pressure on you to do a repeat performance at Thruxton! I went to Thruxton last year with an open mind; I wasn’t sure how the bike would work, wasn’t sure what the tyre life was like and just generally unsure about how it would be, but I remember doing an out lap to bed in some new brake pads and my first flying lap on the Ducati was quicker than I had been all weekend the year before! I had never experienced that before in my career in 20 years or whatever and literally went out and it was phenomenal from the word go and we have improved the package a little bit since then. Snetterton I was really looking forward to, Brands Hatch GP I absolutely love, Thruxton is a fantastic circuit then we have Cadwell Park so we have circuits coming up that I really enjoy racing. I am enjoying the bike and it is good for me that different guys are getting on the podium as well, obviously that can aid my Podium Point tally a little bit. We took the championship lead at Brands Hatch but it doesn’t really mean as much at this point of the year. I left there, have been training as hard as I could and had a chill out, so I am fresh and relaxed and ready to try and do it all again at Thruxton.”

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne - Be Wiser Ducati - Image by Jon Jessop
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne – Be Wiser Ducati – Image by Jon Jessop

Fresh from his heroic second place in the Suzuka 8 Hour race event in Japan yesterday (Sunday), Leon Haslam will be gunning for the pair ahead of him as he bids to claim a haul of Podium Points at the JG Speedfit round of the season for the team. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ was back on the podium last time out at Brands Hatch and wants to hit the top spot again this weekend as he bids to make up the ground lost when he was sidelined from Knockhill after his free practice crash.

Leon Haslam is nearly back to full fitness and form after a major crash at Knockhill - Image by Jon Jessop
Leon Haslam is nearly back to full fitness and form after a major crash at Knockhill – Image by Jon Jessop

The Honda Racing team hold fourth place in the standings ahead of Thruxton with Jason O’Halloran moving ahead of his fellow countryman Josh Brookes after round six at Brands Hatch by just four points. The O’Show has bagged three podium finishes this season and knows that he needs another solid points score to try and keep ahead of the chasing pack who are all aiming to be in the Showdown six on his return from Japan and the Suzuka 8 Hour.

Jason O'Halloran in action at the Suzuka 8 Hour last weekend - Image by David Reygondeau
Jason O’Halloran in action at the Suzuka 8 Hour last weekend – Image by David Reygondeau

Brookes is another rider who will be jetting back in from Japan and the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha rider will want to make amends after crashing out of the second race at Brands Hatch last time out. The Australian ‘Bad Boy’ is ready to take the fight to arch rival Byrne and his Showdown opposition at one of his favourite tracks on the calendar. Brookes is currently fifth in the series points, four-points behind countryman O’Halloran, and 57-points behind series leader Byrne.

Josh Brookes leading the pack at Snetterton - Image by Jon Jessop
Josh Brookes leading the pack at Snetterton – Image by Jon Jessop

Peter Hickman arrives at Thruxton completing the top six and just ten points adrift of Brookes ahead of him. However the Smiths Racing BMW rider knows that he needs to push again for podiums after his best result at Brands Hatch with a pair of fourth place finishes. He lies just nine points ahead of seventh and a queue of riders lining up to steal the positions.

Peter Hickman battling with Josh Brookes at Oulton Park
Peter Hickman battling with Josh Brookes at Oulton Park

Leading the riders pushing for a top six position in the standings is Christian Iddon; after making his debut at the Suzuka 8 Hour event last weekend he is determined to haul himself back into Showdown contention. The Tyco BMW rider had held a top six position after three podium finishes at the start of the season, but a free practice crash at Knockhill meant he missed four races and began a fight back at Brands Hatch with a podium finish.

Ten points separate Iddon from double Knockhill race winner Jake Dixon and the RAF Reserves Kawasaki team who are having one of their strongest campaigns to date and the young gun contender is pushing to qualify inside the top six for the first time.

However James Ellison and Dan Linfoot are both podium finishers from Brands Hatch and are fully focused on clawing their way back up the order after a tough first half of the season, with Glenn Irwin also aiming to be fitter for the next two races as he continues his recovery from injury.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings
  1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 190
  2. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 161
  3. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 159
  4. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 133
  5. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 129
  6. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 119