The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship heads to Cheshire’s picturesque Oulton Park circuit this weekend (3/4/5 May) following an outstanding, action-packed opener at Brands Hatch two weeks ago. This Bank Holiday event traditionally attracts one of the biggest attendances of the season, and with an excellent weather forecast for main raceday (Monday) organisers are hoping a record crowd will be trackside to watch the latest instalment of the UK’s most popular motor racing championship.
Triple champion Shane Byrne made the perfect start to his 2014 title campaign with a double win at Brands Hatch, despite a disastrous qualifying session that left him languishing in 13th on the grid. Australian Josh Brookes claimed pole position and recovered from a race 1 crash to almost win the second contest, and the Milwaukee Yamaha rider is hunting his first win for the team at a circuit that has proved strong for them in the past.
Brookes said: “Brands Hatch was good for us apart from the crashes, but now we are ready for Oulton Park. I have seen from previous years how strong the Yamaha is around that track, especially from the years racing against Tommy Hill (2011 champion) and I want to be able to emulate that pace and speed this weekend. I am looking forward to Oulton Park because these races can’t come soon enough.”
Amongst the pack lining up to beat Byrne is fellow triple champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, who remains the most successful rider at the Cheshire circuit having claimed ten race wins during his career. The Japanese ace looked back to his best at Brands Hatch, equalling the Buildbase BMW team’s best-ever result of fourth place, and is gunning for the German manufacturer’s first podium finish in MCE BSB.
Kiyonari said: “I think we had a good start at Brands Hatch and I just need to close the gap and then I can follow the others like Shakey and Josh (Brookes), and then get in front of them! I really like Oulton Park because I have good memories at the circuit in the past so I am looking forward to this weekend. I know it won’t be easy but I want to be on the podium; we made mistakes at Brands Hatch and were fourth so we need to improve and I think we can start looking for podiums – this year is a new Kiyo!”
Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki are determined to carry their podium-finishing momentum to Cheshire after scoring their first podium finishes at Brands Hatch with category veteran and fan favourite Chris Walker and James Ellison, whilst Millsport Ducati’s Jakub Smrz, Californian superstar John Hopkins and MCE BSB’s youngest ever points scorer, Burnley’s Harry Hartley, will be pushing for their best results of the season so far.
In addition to the two headlining MCE BSB races on Bank Holiday Monday there will be seven support races during the event including the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, plus the closely-contested Pirelli National Superstock 1000 series and the Motul Motostar Championship.
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 50
- James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 32
- Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 31
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 20
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 20
- Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 19
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 16
- John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) 16
- James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 15
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 13