Luke Mossey the leader of the pack but rivals ready to attack at Snetterton
Josh Brookes tested at Cadwell Park this week ahead of this weekend’s fifth round of the 2017 British Superbike Championship. The 2015 Champion will arrive at Snetterton safe in the knowledge of his impressive record around the 2.9-mile flat international circuit, where Brookes has picked up a string of podiums and victories and is expecting more of the same as he returns to one of his best tracks in the UK.
The flat, fast and flowing nature of the Snetterton circuit lends itself to high class racing, and with Brookes’ recent record in Norfolk, the team are ready to set the record straight and pick up more all-important podium credits, as they look to chase down the Championship leaders.
“I look forward to every round, some tracks I’m glad to get them out of the way and Snetterton is a better circuit so hopefully we can look forward to some good racing. I think Friday is very important, just like every weekend, I’ve got to go out and do my thing, give the feedback and wait for the changes to come that will improve the settings. When the bike is right, I’ll win, there no doubt in my mind that’s not going to happen, for me I’ve just got to be patience, do the best I can and get the weekend off to a good start. There is still quite a long way to go I feel, but the margins are small, racing is always in small margins. It’s a very small margin, but we’ll continue to work hard. Snetterton gives the rider time and opportunities to find areas of the track to outdo your opposition, there is plenty of time to show my class, but the track is a just track, it’s the bikes that are interesting to me.”
Brookes’ Australian compatriot, Jason O’Halloran, celebrated his first victory in the Superbike class for Honda Racing last season at Snetterton and he is aiming to add to his podium finish at Oulton Park onboard the new Fireblade. The Australian topped the times in the recent official test and arrives with confidence high ahead of Sunday’s two races.
“I am looking forward to the weekend, I always enjoy racing at Snetterton 300, since the new layout I’ve always managed to do quite well there. In the past I won my first Superstock race there and had my debut Superbike win last year, so it holds happy memories. It’s a circuit that suits the Fireblade well, it’s flat, fast and flowing and I am able to ride in a good way and use the benefits of the CBR. We were there a few weeks ago and I topped the timesheets, so we’re heading back with a good starting point. Knockhill was OK, but it’s somewhere I always struggle at, but I managed a fourth and seventh. So this weekend I am looking to make a return to the podium and also bag another race win. The aim will be for two podiums this weekend and if they happen to be race wins, then all-the better!”
O’Halloran currently ranks fifth on the championship points table with a five-point buffer over Brookes.
Leading the way however after disaster struck his JG Speedfit Kawasaki teammate is Luke Mossey, and Snettertong is the 24-year-olds home track. Mossey has launched himself up the standings since scoring his debut race win in the championship at Brands Hatch and has claimed five podium finishes from the opening eight races of the season.
“Your home round is always special and I am really excited for Snetterton because it is the first time I have ever led the standings so to be in this position ahead of the weekend is great for me and the team. We have been consistently in the top five and I was a bit disappointed to not have been on the podium twice at Knockhill but I had made a mistake and it was luck more than talent that stopped me ending up in the gravel! I want to make amends for that this weekend by winning races at Snetterton because we need to build up the podiums so we are in the best position for later in the season. I feel we are ready for it!”
Team-mate Leon Haslam is bidding to fight back from injury and defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne eyes a winning repeat from 2016 with the Be Wiser Ducati team.
“A big part of me sees the last round at Knockhill as a job done. I went there out of Showdown contention and needing some decent points and left there third in the championship and with two more Podium Points in the bag. However, the racer in me only goes racing to win and obviously I never managed that last time out so we’ll aim to put that right at Snetterton. I think the run of tracks we now have coming up should suit both myself and the Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R far better than Knockhill did, so hopefully we can look to get some serious winning done.”
The local RAF Reserves Kawasaki team was flying high last time out at Knockhill as Jake Dixon celebrated a debut MCE BSB victory and then turned it into a dream double in the weekend’s second race. Now the 21-year-old wants to carry his momentum into the team’s home round as he bids to move closer to a spot in the all-important championship top six.
“To be honest race day at Knockhill still seems like such a blur because we had race one and my head was still in the game for race two; even after that I had a five hour drive home so it wasn’t until Monday really when it all started to sink in! We need to work hard again throughout free practice and qualifying to come out fighting in the races, because it was such an amazing feeling that I just want to do it again – especially in front of all the team sponsors and guests at our home round. The top six has got closer now. We need to close that again and keep consistent because we have to keep our feet on the floor and not get carried away. I say that, but can you imagine if I could make it a double, double win? That would be a dream come true especially after all the hard work everyone has put in.”
The Tyco BMW team are looking to put the previous round at Knockhill behind them as Christian Iddon aims to return from injury alongside new recruit Andy Reid, who makes his much-anticipated debut in the Superbike class after previous success in the Dickies British Supersport Championship.
The McAMS Yamaha team are also ready for a resurgence after scoring their first podium of the season so far last time out at Knockhill, with James Ellison and Michael Laverty is equally hungry to get his bid for the top six back on track in Norfolk.
“The podium at Knockhill feels like it has been a long time coming; it was an awesome feeling but also a bit bitter sweet as we have had the pace at every single round so far and only have one podium to show for it. I really think we are showing what the McAMS Yamaha can do and it should be fighting for the championship so I feel that we must have got all the bad luck out of the way and now we can really get the season started and fight for those podium points. I know we missed the official test, so we will have some time to make up compared to the guys that did it, but it won’t take us long to get back into the swing of it. I am looking forward to having a good weekend and it is the first one with our baby Mila at the track so the pressure is on to get a win for her!”
2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Knockhill
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 141
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 111
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 90
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 86
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 83
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 78