Monday, 20 April 2015

WSBK: Green flag for the season

The 2015 World Superbike Championship is only four rounds old and already looks like its going to be a classic... The new technical regulations for this season have brought the chasing pack much closer to the performance of the dominant Aprilia RSV4 and the Kawasaki ZX10R. Already we have seen much closer racing than we ever saw last year, with more teams able to compete and more bikes able to contest the podium places.

The Brits have made an incredible start to the season, filing up the first four positions in the championship table and dominating the podium celebrations. Heading them all though is Jonathan Rea. The Irishman has made an incredible start to his 2015 campaign with six wins and two second places from the first eight races. This in stark contrast to his teammate, Tom Sykes, who is struggling to adapt to the huge differences in the technical regulations which have totally changed the engine characteristics of his ZX10R, a bike which he spent three seasons developing, winning one championship and coming close on two other occasions. The revitalized Leon Haslam has also made a strong start aboard the Aprilia, winning one race and appearing on the podium a further four times to find himself in second place in the standings, a full 50 points behind pace-setter Jonathan Rea.

Friday, 17 April 2015

BSB: New season under way

The long winter break is over... The British Superbike Championship has begun and looks to be one of the most closely contested championships in the series' history.

The rider lineup for this season of BSB must be considered the strongest ever. Shane Byrne returns aboard the PBM Kawasaki and will face strong competition from familar foes. Ryuichi Kiyonari stays with Buildbase BMW, after coming so close to winning the championship last year. Australian Josh Brookes also stays in the BSB paddock aboard the brand new Yamaha R1 and will look to go the step further and take home his first championship. Experienced Cumbrian James Ellison has looked strong in the early part of the season after recovering from a bad injury sustained at the end of last season and will provide strong competition for podiums and race wins throughout the year.

Expect the 2015 champion to come from one of those four riders but the chasing pack are as strong as ever, making finishing in the top ten or the season ending showdown more difficult than it has ever been. Tyco Racing switch to BMW this season and are running experienced former race winners Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell. Tommy Hill also returns to the BSB paddock but this time as a manager to a strong rider lineup of the experienced Chris Walker and rising star, Danny Buchan. Honda return to the championship after taking a year out in 2014 and run a three-strong rider lineup of Dan Linfoot, Jason O'Halloran and Jenny Tinmouth. Stuart Easton, Lee Jackson, Peter Hickman, and James Westmoreland add to an already packed grid with ten riders capable of being on the podium at every round of the championship!

The BSB championship rolls into Brands Hatch this weekend and we can't wait for the racing to begin! As far as a prediction goes, it's difficult to look past Shane Byrne for two wins on his home patch.. Expect Kiyo to manage a couple of podium finishes along with Josh Brookes who is still developing the all-new Yamaha R1.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

BSB: New season speculation

The 2014 British Superbike season may have only just finished, with Shane Byrne being crowned the champion for a record fourth time, but that shouldn't stop us already looking forward to next season!

Let's start off with the riders who are already confirmed for next year: Kiyonari was the first to sign for the 2015 season, confirming he will spend another season with Buildbase BMW before the 2014 season had even ended. After speculation that Josh Brookes was heading to World Superbikes with Yamaha next season, he has decided to stay put in 2015 as he searches for that elusive first championship aboard the Milwaukee-backed and all new Yamaha R1. No news on whether Tommy Bridewell keeps his place alongside Brookes but we expect him to move on after not quite reaching the heights he was hoping for last season. James Ellison also returns to the championship, staying with GB Moto Kawasaki, while Chris Walker will move away from the team in 2015.

Recent news has also seen Honda announce their return to British Superbikes after taking a year out in 2014. Dan Linfoot steps up to a factory bike and will be joined by long term Honda employee, Jason O'Halloran.

The 2015 will see the return of 2011 champion Tommy Hill, but he won't be taking his place on the grid, instead he switches his attention to managing a two rider strong Kawasaki team backed by Be Wiser. No news on riders yet, but expect the lineup to be a mix of a more experienced rider and a younger racer coming through from Superstock 600. Could Danny Buchan be partnered with rising star and highly rated Joe Collier who competed well in last year's Superstock 600 championship?

There is much speculation that Paul Bird will be running two teams next year. Expect Shane Byrne to return to defend his championship. If Paul Bird does run two teams also expect long term PBM rider, Stuart Easton to be given one of the three other rides. With one team likely running the tried and testing Kawasaki's could this be an opportunity for Ducati or BMW to have a much bigger presence on the grid in 2015?

So what about the Tyco Suzuki team? They had a generally disappointing 2014 season with neither of Tyco Suzuki's riders making it into the top six. Has Josh Waters done enough to retain his ride in 2015 and is there a future at the team for John Hopkins after a poor showing on his return to the championship? Expect the Tyco backed TAS team to step up their efforts in 2015, most likely with an all new rider line-up.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lowes edges ahead...

With race one of a triple header at Brands Hatch complete, it is Samsung Honda's Alex Lowes who leads Shane Byrne by three points, going into the final two races of the season tomorrow. Josh Brookes returned to the top step of the podium with Alex just behind in second place and Shane Byrne coming home in third in tricky conditions. James Ellison saw his slim championship hopes completely disappear as he pulled into the pits with a technical problem.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Nearly there...

With the second round of the British Superbike Showdown complete, there are only a final three races at Brands Hatch to decide who will be British Superbike Champion 2013. Riding injured, Shane Byrne managed to equal Lowes' results at Silverstone this weekend meaning he takes a one point lead into the final round at Brands Hatch. The championship is now really between these two riders, with Byrne having the slight advantage of racing at his home track for the deciding three races and a track at which he secured his chamipnship last year against Josh Brookes!

Over in the World Superbikes, another double win for Tom Sykes means he needs only another two fourth places from the final round in Jerez to be crowned World Superbike Champion. Congratulations to Sam Lowes who won his first World Supersport championship aboard his Yamaha R6, wrapping up the title with one round to spare.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Dramatic start to the showdown

With the first meeting of the British Superbike showdown complete, Shane Byrne leads the championship but now by just 1 point from Alex Lowes with James Ellison a further 20 points back in third.

The first race of the day saw James Ellison take an early lead on his Yamaha R1 before an engine problem forced him to retire and left Alex Lowes and Shane Byrne to battle it out for the top two positions on the podium. Lowes won the battle, culminating in an excellent last lap where the lead changed hands several times before Lowes got the upper hand and beat Byrne to the line.

The second race is where it all got very interesting... Again Lowes and Byrne were closely battling at the front before Lowes went for a pass on Byrne and the two collided, sending Byrne off and leaving Lowes to eventually take the win; passing Ellison who grabbed second. However the real drama came after the race when the Race Directors deemed Lowes' move to have been the cause of an avoidable accident and therefore excluded him from the race, meaning that neither Lowes or Byrne scored any points. This meant that James Ellison was promoted to first place with rookie PJ Jacobson taking home his first podium in second and Kiyonari picking up a fortunate third place!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Showdown begins

With the first part of the season in the 2013 British Superbike Championship complete, the six riders who have a chance of taking the championship have been decided. Those are: Shane Byrne, Alex Lowes, Josh Brookes, James Ellison, Ryuichi Kiyonari and James Westmoreland. A quick check back to earlier in the year will show we got five of the six riders to make it into the showdown correct, the only incorrect choice being Westmoreland instead of Walker after his late surge at Donington Park saw him leapfrog his team mate into the top six!

So who do we think will take home the British Superbike title this year? Favourite amongst many pundits will be the three times former champion and current leader, Shane Byrne. He has the experience, a great team and the fact that his favourite round, Brands Hatch, makes up the final three races of the season. Alex Lowes is the form man, the up and coming youngster who has improved more this year than any other rider on the grid. We believe that his form will continue into the showdown and allow him to take the championship this year by a small margin, ahead of Shane Byrne in second and Josh Brookes likely to battle home to take third place.