Quattro Plant Kawasaki hold on to Showdown Hopes

Luke Mossey and the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team kept their Showdown hopes very much alive at round eight of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park on Monday with the Cambridge rider now just seven points off a top six position.

The 23-year old was strong at the Lincolnshire venue right from the outset and placed second, third and fourth in the three free practice sessions prior to Sunday afternoon’s qualifying session. However, a time of 1m26.382s placed him sixth overall after qualifying which put him on the second row for the first 18-lap race.

A slightly sluggish start put him back in tenth place at the end of the opening lap but by half race distance he was up into seventh and very much in contention for a top six finish at least. However, with less than three laps to go, he dropped down the order down to twelfth after a near crash and with no time left to recover and regain any places, he had to settle for just four Championship points.

Lining up in tenth place and at the head of the fourth row for the second 18-lap encounter, the race was only a few hundred yards old when team-mate Filip Backlund and Howie Mainwaring Smart crashed at the first corner bringing out the safety car for a period of three laps. On lap four, Luke was shuffled back to twelfth place and it took him until half race distance to gain a place but he kept pushing until the end ultimately being rewarded with ninth place and what could prove to be seven valuable Championship points.

It moves him on to a total of 133 and places him joint seventh in the Championship table, just seven points adrift of James Ellison who currently holds the sixth and final Showdown place. Three races take place at the next round at Oulton and this will ultimately decide which six riders dispute the Championship.

Backlund was making his return to racing after suffering a crash at Brands Hatch at the previous round and although he qualified back in 24th place, a strong opening race saw him lap over half a second quicker than what he had done in qualifying to claim a solid 18th place. However, all hopes were dashed in the second race crash although the Swede was thankfully relatively unharmed.

There was also disappointment for Dickies British Supersport Championship contender Andrew Reid as he failed to score a point in either of the two races. Fifth in qualifying, a crash on the first lap in Sunday’s ‘Sprint’ race put him on the back foot and on the fourth row for Monday’s feature race and with plenty of work to do. The race started well as he soon moved into the top four but he ran wide at the first corner and had to retire from the race on the tenth lap. It now means he lies 45 points adrift of Championship leader James Westmoreland.

Luke Mossey: “It’s been an up and down weekend to be honest. I had a really good start in practice and I was never outside the top four and whilst I ended up sixth after qualifying, I was confident of having two strong results. As it turned out though I struggled in both races. It was just one of those days but we’re still close to the Showdown positions and I really like Oulton Park, venue for the next round, so I’ll be looking to get back onto top form there.”

Filip Backlund: “I came into the weekend hopeful of two points scoring finishes and although I only finished 18th in race one, I was pleased with my ride as I lapped quicker than I had done all weekend and found a good rhythm which I was sure would put me in good stead for race two. I made a really good start and saw Howie take the outside line so thought I’d follow him round. Unfortunately, he had to shut off mid-corner and I had nowhere to go, ploughing into the back of him. I’m a bit bruised and my hip’s sore but I’m otherwise ok so will come back strong at Oulton.”

Pete Extance, Team Owner: “The weekend seemed full of promise after free practice and qualifying and with Luke in sixth we were confident for two good results. Unfortunately, in the first race he suffered a major highside near the end and whilst he stayed on, it dropped him from seventh to 12th and only four points. He improved to ninth in the second race and although he didn’t score hugely this weekend, a number of other riders experienced similar fortunes so the Showdown is stll very much all to play for.”

“Filip had a rough weekend scoring no points and suffering a huge crash in the second race when he went down with Howie Mainwaring Smart at the first corner fortunately without injury. Andrew too had a tough time of things scoring no points either so we’ll need to regroup on all fronts for the next round at Oulton and do everything we can to get Luke in the Showdown.”

The next round takes place at Oulton Park on September 9-11.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Rispoli continues to show his BSB capabilities with ‘solid’ Cadwell

It was a solid weekend for the Anvil Hire Yamaha team at Cadwell Park this Bank Holiday as James Rispoli, and Shaun Winfield worked hard in both races on Monday seeing Rispoli taking two 17th places, alongside Winfield achieving his best finish of the season in race two

The weekend got off to a great start with James and Shaun improving vastly in time, after working hard on the setups of their machines throughout the free practice sessions. James knocked off half a second from his best lap time, posting a 1:28.989.

Shaun improved by a full second to dip into the 1:29’s, achieving his best lap time around the Lincolnshire track, meaning both would make it into Sunday afternoon’s qualifying.

In qualifying both riders looked confident from the off with their machines, and quickly Rispoli improved once again in time, chipping away at his best lap by half a second posting a 1:28.413 leaving him in 20th, and unfortunately just missing out on Q2.

Winfield struggled in qualifying, and couldn’t improve on his best time set around the 2.1-mile circuit in the final free practice after losing a tow to the group of riders ahead, after they pulled out of their lap. Shaun posted a 1:30.052 after pushing hard on his own, placing him 30th on the grid for Monday’s first race.

Under sunny skies on Bank Holiday Monday race one saw both James and Shaun make great starts and after lap one ran in 17th and 25th respectively. Rispoli battled hard as the first Yamaha with John Hopkins, posting his fastest lap of the weekend, a 1:23.394 as he held off his fellow American. His tyre then started to lose grip and he dropped back to 17th as he crossed line to take the flag.

Shaun, from 25th after the first lap started to pick his way forward by the middle of the race he had worked his way into 23rd place, after posting his fastest lap of the weekend. However, with six laps to go his rear tyre lost grip and he couldn’t make a final attack on Howie Mainwaring-Smart who had just pulled away from the 23-year-old at the flag.

By virtue of their lap times in the first race Shaun moved up to 26th on the grid, with Rispoli leaping one place higher into 19th for race two.

From the lights both once again made great starts and by the end of lap five James was battling hard for 15th place at the back of the group. The American looked to pick his way forward, but his rear tyre lost grip in the final stages of the race and he just couldn’t make a move on the final few laps to move his way into the points, crossing the line in 17th.

Shaun made a great start again and moved his way into 23rd place by the fifth lap, and looked to move his way through the pack. ‘Munch’ just lost the tow to the group ahead but by the flag he crossed the line in 21st place.

After the weekend, James Rispoli said: “The beginning of the weekend was a little bit of a struggle, we were 3.3 seconds off the pace it wasn’t ideal by any means, but we kept chipping away. I kept firing laps in, which meant we cut it down to 1.5 seconds, and we worked hard as a team.

“Both races were just a little bit of a shame, I’m happy with the way I rode I’m fit and I’m riding really but there are still things we have to work at. We started at ground zero this weekend, we had a couple of changes within the team but we worked well considering that. I’m not pleased, it’s 17th, it doesn’t show anything but we’ll keep working hard and our time will come.

A pleased Shaun Winfield added: “It’s turned out to be a good weekend really, we struggled a little bit at the start and my pace was looking good, I was doing personal best lap times again like we have every weekend and we’re going quicker each round.

“I struggled a little bit over the ‘Mountain’ and I could have done with more time here. Race one I got great start and made up about four or five places on lap one, but I was losing time over the mountain and I had a gap to guys behind me so it was a little bit of a lonely race, which made it harder.

“Race two I got a good start again, but the group ahead just pulled away from me and I tried to catch them and I put a lap time in just off what I did in race one but they had gone. I had again another gap behind me and it was another lonely race but I’m feeling confident and I can’t wait to get to Oulton Park now.”

Team Owner Rob Winfield concluded: “It’s been a challenging weekend for both riders but they really pulled through on race day, which is great. James started off slowly and he really worked his through and on race day he pulled out two good rides and took two solid finishes. 17th isn’t where both James and the bike should be from their potential, but we’ll work harder in the break and at Oulton Park we should have better results.

“Shaun again has been great, he’s worked through a lot this weekend and has improved on his best lap time around the track, which is great. He rode really hard in both races but he just couldn’t bridge the gap to the group ahead, overall we’re pleased and we’ll move onto Oulton Park expecting more.”

The team will now head to Oulton Park for round nine of the Championship on the 9th/10th/11th September.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Bridewell: The Bike is Mega

Tommy Bridewell took a brace of top-five finishes on his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Cadwell Park and round eight of the MCE British Superbike championship on Bank Holiday Monday, as he kept his challenge for a place in the Showdown alive.

Bridewell started from seventh place on the grid for the weekend’s opening race, and made a series of overtakes at a circuit that is notoriously difficult to pass at, to put himself in contention for a podium finish.

Bridewell battled all the way to the flag to secure a solid fourth placed finish, and more importantly, kept a number of his fellow Showdown challengers behind him.

In race two, he found himself embroiled in a fight for fourth place. Holding sixth on the final lap; a late move into the Old Hairpin saw him snatch fifth and he held it to the line to take a solid haul of points from the weekend’s action.

Tommy Bridewell: We could have done with beating Peter Hickman

“The results this weekend actually makes Brands Hatch an even bigger disappointment, because a worst of third in race one there and a top-five and maybe even another podium in race two, would have meant we’d be in the Showdown now or very close to it after these results. I’m happy with the way I’m riding, and credit to the team because they’ve worked really hard to go from a disappointing start to the season to front-runners. The bike’s mega; chassis and set-up wise. I think we’ve got one of the best out there, and you can see that on TV with how late we can brake and the corner speed we’re able to carry. I passed people on the outside at the end of the back straight into Park and I’m that confident with the package we have put together. The area we just need to work on is getting out of the corners. But we’ve now got just three races to make the Showdown. It would have been nice to have been on the podium today, and I could have done with beating [Peter] Hickman in the last race, but we had a lot of Showdown contenders behind us, and hopefully we can get three good results and a bit of good luck at Oulton to get ourselves in there.”

Martin Halsall – Bennetts Suzuki Team Owner: Hopefully we will get the rub of the green!

“I’m really proud of our performance again this weekend. Tommy’s ridden superbly well, he’s gone faster than he’s ever gone around Cadwell Park and as a team it’s been our best weekend here. A podium would have been nice, but you don’t get given them in BSB and we raced hard for the results that we got, and we beat a lot of our rivals who are also pushing for a Showdown spot. It’s still going to be incredibly difficult, but all we can do is try again at Oulton Park, beat who we need to beat, and hopefully get the rub of the green to elevate ourselves into the top six.”

 

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Anvil Yamaha ready for Bank Holiday fun at Cadwell Park

After a progressive but tough weekend at Brands Hatch three weeks ago, both James Rispoli and Shaun Winfield are ready to get back out on track at the infamous Cadwell Park circuit, to search for more Championship points.

The Lincolnshire based track plays host to the eighth round of the British Superbike Championship over this Bank Holiday weekend, and it certainly lives up to the action the Superbike riders provide.

2.1 miles in length Cadwell is a fast and flowing woodland based circuit, teamed with a tight and twisty section as the rider’s head home over the start finish line. Alongside that, Cadwell has the most fearsome jump in all of motorcycle racing, ‘The Mountain’.

‘The Mountain’ is the only place you will see fully blown 220 horsepower Superbikes fly through the air in formation. The section of the track is certainly a focal point for fans who flock to watch in their masses. Cadwell is a favourite for both fans and riders, and the Bank Holiday atmosphere adds to the occasion.

This weekend will see James Rispoli in a confident mood after making a major breakthrough with the setup of his Yamaha YZF-R1 last time out. In the break the team have worked hard to improve the setup of his bike ahead of the races this weekend, and he should be fully prepared to battle for points.

Shaun Winfield has been working hard on his fitness as he heads into one of the most physically demanding tracks on the MCE British Superbike calendar. The 23-year-old enjoyed a positive outing at Cadwell Park last year, taking a 20th and 18th place finishes in both races, and will be looking for more of the same this weekend.

Ahead of the weekend James ‘The Rocket’ Rispoli said: “Cadwell Park is probably one of the sickest tracks on the calendar, it’s the most aggressive and physical circuit we go to and it has everything, fast corners, slow corners and of course it has the Mountain!

“It is going to be a very difficult weekend all round because of how tough the track is, and for us we are already probably 150 laps down on a lot of our competitors as they have tested there, which makes it even more difficult. I am going into this weekend as I always do, I am really determined and I think the Yamaha could go well at this track.

“There has been a bit of a shake up with some more changes in the team before this round so we will assess that, but I want to keep moving forward and improve in every session because I know what I am capable of achieving. I want to finish the weekend with two strong finishes in the races and if we can do that then I will be happy.”

His team mate Shaun Winfield added: “I’m excited for this weekend at Cadwell Park, it’s a truly amazing circuit and one I really enjoy riding around. It’s a tricky place but when you get it right it’s a great feeling, I’m also looking forward to getting the Yamaha over the Mountain.

“Since Brands I’ve been working hard on my fitness to make sure I’m ready for the challenges that Cadwell will throw at me. The team have worked hard in the gap between races and I know the bike will be competitive, so I’m ready to battle and grab my first points of the season.”

Team Manager Gary Winfield summerised: “Cadwell Park is a great venue for bike racing, and we as a team are ready for the challenge it will throw at us. We have worked hard in the break behind the scenes on the bikes, and we have found further improvements that should help us this weekend.

“Both riders have been working hard on their fitness and are ready for the test that Cadwell will throw at them, it’s important for us now to start the final few rounds of the season strong, it begins this weekend at Cadwell and we are expecting two strong rides from both James and Shaun come Sunday.”

Photo credit to Gareth Davies.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Cadwell Park set to stage sensational BSB action as Showdown nears

The British Superbike championship arrives at the famous Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire for round eight of the season. It will be the penultimate round before the Showdown starts so big points and finishing are the key. It’s Shane Byrne in form after a double at Brands Hatch, with Leon Haslam chasing hard after taking being winless since Knockhill. The Cadwell Park track is spectacular for fans, as it is the point in the season where both wheels are off the ground (intentionally) at the famous Mountain.

Shane “Shakey” Byrne is leading the championship after an incredible double at Brands. He has won three out of the last four races this year, and I wouldn’t bet against him extending that run this weekend. Shakey comes into the Cadwell circuit having had a total disaster at the track last season. Unbelievably, Byrne hasn’t won at the track since 2003, when he won his first title! Personally, I find that incredible! Don’t put it past him to end that run.

Leon Haslam returns to the Cadwell Park track for the first time since his HM Plant Honda days back in 2008, where he did the double. He comes into the round with a 25-point deficit to Shane Byrne and desperately needs to reclaim some of them points by taking wins, giving him an advantage going into the showdown with his podium credits. He finished 2nd to Byrne in both races last time out, so he has what it takes to run with the leader, but can he beat him? Only time will tell.

3rd in the championship is home to Jason O’Halloran, who has shown his skills in the 2016 season. The Australian who has fought back from horrific leg injuries after a Thruxton crash last year, has been something of a revelation this year, but this is the first time he would have been to the track on a BSB Factory Honda. His most recent result at the circuit is a 2nd to Danny Buchan in the Stock 1000 series, meaning the Aussie has the pace to go on to take another BSB win this weekend. Can he do it? The Honda rider will be looking to make it a special day for Honda, who are based in Louth, just down the road from the track.

In an upside down year that has seen him drop in and out of the top six in the title as well as the top 10 in races, Michael Laverty is 4th as it stands. The Tyco BMW rider and former GP star took his latest win in race two at Thruxton after Byrne’s early departure. Laverty won at Cadwell Park back in 2011 on the Swan Yamaha, which he later followed up with a 2nd place. If the Ulsterman can find the form he had five years ago, he is sure to be up there come MONDAY (Bank Holiday race day, don’t forget)!

Dan Linfoot is still waiting on his first BSB race win. After a mistake at Snetterton on the final corner whilst leading and a red flag whilst challenging Shakey in race two, Linfoot hasn’t finished in the top six, let alone step on the podium to gain podium credits, should he get through to the showdown. Cadwell doesn’t seem the track to see him recapture his form either, as recent results show his best finish has been a 7th. If anyone can turn it around though, then Linfoot is your man!

Richard Cooper has been a little bit off the boil recently with a podium drought currently sweeping into his side of the Buildbase BMW garage. The Buildbase BMW rider got another podium in race two at Brands Hatch Indy, but needs wins if he is to be there at the end of the season. The rider from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, will be looking to make a return to the podium at Cadwell Park, after his 8th and 7th last season. Cooperman is without doubt capable of making a fist of things, but he is just three points ahead of in-form Luke Mossey, who occupies 7th in the standings.

The battle for the showdown is boiling up nicely, with 57 points being the gap from 12th to 6th, with five races left until the top six are locked in. It will be a dogfight, as returning riders like John Hopkins get back to the front, recovering from injuries and Danny Buchan getting back on a Kawasaki he enjoyed so much success with. These two aren’t really in the hunt for the showdown so they could really be decisive in who gets through. BSB is ridiculously close this season, and even riders like Laverty and Linfoot aren’t safe yet. Keep your eyes on Luke Mossey, James Eliison, Christian Iddon and the in-form Glenn Irwin to launch a big attack on the top six.

The BSB riders have also had a game of musical chairs during the three-week break. Howie Mainwaring-Smart left the Smith’s BMW to join the vacant seat at ePayMe Yamaha. Stuart Easton, who left the team earlier on in the season, joins Moto Rapido Ducati, who parted company with former Stock 1000 champion Danny Buchan. Buchan re-joins forces with MSS Tsingtao Kawasaki Racing, the team he rode for in 2014 on his way to Stock success. Ryuichi Kiyonari has also left the Halsall Bennett’s Suzuki team, who are yet to replace him.

You can find out what will happen on Sunday. As well as joining us for our live text commentary by Kiko Giles, you too can also watch it live, free to air on Quest! You can follow @PitCrew_Online for the live text commentary and also @MotoGPKiko for all things bikes and boring. If you are on Instagram, then you can follow ‘crewontwo’ for all the bike racing pics from across numerous series!

Thanks to Gareth Davies for the wonderful images he continues to provide.

Michael Howarth: I’m not stacking shelves at Morrisons!

It isn’t everyday you get to interview a top quality British Superbike racer but today, I spoke to Michael Howarth about his injuries, his past, present and future and other things such as the loss of bestfriend Karl Harris and MotoGP and WSBK this season. He said in one word that 2016 has been painfull, so be prepared to be amused (not by me); Michael opens up to me whilst he was having his haircut. Enjoy!

Who got you hooked into bikes and how?

Well I got myself into bikes, after I got injured in 2000 playing in Rugby League, as I was a professional Rugby League player at the time. I snapped my ankle and even though I recovered I just never really got back to where I wanted to be. If I’m honest I got bored, so I went out and bought the new SP1. I took it on a track day and started beating all these lads, little did I know they were a bunch of nobodies. I thought to myself, “Im Rossi” and that I’m off and going to be a big thing. I would never have picked any other sport. It wasn’t going to be snooker, because I actually have a penis! I had motocrossers since I was a kid so I’ve always been with bikes. I had road bikes from 1997 too.

What was the plan for 2016?

I got my own team back up and running with an old Shaun Muir Yamaha, the 2014 Josh Brookes bike. To get the team up and running properly would cost around 250,000 but I was getting nowhere near it. So then I took my sponsors, had a meeting with Tony Dexter and joined MotoDex BMW. However, then I completed two laps before sending myself to the moon and doing myself up. It was an odd crash because the bike was warmed up perfectly and everything.

What is the plan for the rest of the season?

Well I will be back at Cadwell Park, that is for sure. Whether I am on the pace or not is another matter. I’ve got a CAT scan on my hip so that decides what happens after. I might miss Donington because it is a bit too close with Oulton Park. Saying that, I might be alright because I didn’t ride Brands so I had time off.

How do you motivate yourself every morning to come back from your injuries?

Not raced since Karl’s death, I wanted to get back out there to ride with him, you know? Biggest thing that gets me is Morrison staff stacking shelves. They look so bored. I’m going to do something I enjoy! The doctor said I wasn’t going to walk since December but you can’t let a crash end your career when it isn’t career ending. OK, I broke my shoulder, knackered my hip and broke my back but it’s nothing that won’t mend.

Who are your sponsors?

Traction Chargers who do fancy battery chargers for Jaguar and Land Rover, based in Devizes. E-Dynamics who own 4/5 Volkswagen branches. Without them, I don’t race, it’s as simple as that. Because I’m chasing sponsors 24/7, I don’t have a day job as such. I could be rich and retired by now if I wasn’t a racer but there would be no fun in that.

Back in the early days, I rode for Malcom Ashley. In 2007, I was riding at Brands, when the front forks snapped on me at about 170mph. Tena4Men sponsored me, but then in 2008 they came on board as a title sponsor. It was my own team, I rode alongside Tristan Palmer. When that came to an end, I became a bit of a journeyman really. I couldn’t find anything proper. Riding a bike is easy, but finding sponsors is difficult.

Do you ever see yourself giving bike racing up for good?

Yes; Ive only got a year or so left in me now. I don’t see myself going to Superstock 1000 like Michael Rutter did. He is only doing that because nothing came about in BSB and also because he is more focused on the roads. He’s getting good prize money over on TT, he doesn’t need to do the BSB Superbike class anymore.

What will you do after bike racing?

I see myself in team management; I’ve done it before. At Tena4Men, as you know we ran Tristan Palmer, who got us a sixth place finish at Silverstone which put him 10th overall in the championship. In the future, I don’t see me running a BMW. It’s too expensive to run. I don’t really know what I would run until I sit down with manufacturers, but if I said one now, it would probably be the new Honda, because it so easy going and cheaper to run.

I tell you what, I’d love to bring Niccolo Canepa over to this country; he could win a British Superbike championship tomorrow given the chance. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been bought over before by somebody already. Canepa has done MotoGP, WSBK; he’s a bit lucky he isn’t going to prison like but it’s just one of those things aint it! I’d also like Kiyonari, me and him are good friends through Karl Harris, when they were teammates back in 2006. At Thruxton, Martin Halsall said to me will you go and have a word with him to sort him out, and I did! The talent is there but there’s just something not there for him. It’s been since the crash at Oulton Park with Shakey and he just hasn’t managed to shake it off yet.

Most rewarding thing about being a bike racer?

Well, you are doing the job you love and getting paid for it! I’m doing the thing that millions of people want to do. I aint stacking shelves at Morrisons!

Who do you see as the best young talent coming through?

Glenn Irwin. He has showed his talent; he’s got the podium to prove it. He’s come from nowhere, by which I mean people thought he would crash his brains out and get sacked half way through the season but he’s gone about his job properly and done what he needed to. He has kept his head and I’m taking all the credit for the podium because I said he would get one when I was talking to him that weekend.

Buchan hasn’t shone considering his Superstock 1000 success. He needs traction control and that would be WSBK territory. He really would do it over there.

Mossey is there or there abouts, he just needs to take his time and preserve his tyres. He has the pace to win if he sits behind Shakey and looks after his tyres until the end.

Linfoot will win a race without a shadow of a doubt. Dan will stay with Honda next year if he has any sense, although I think O’Halloran may have annoyed him with that win at Snetterton.

Top 6 prediction in no order: Byrne, Haslam, Bridewell, Ellison if he can get the bike to work. It’s a free for all after that. It will be whoever can figure it out how to string some good results together.

Your greatest achievement?

Winning a SBK Cup race at Cadwell Park in 2006. I was fairly new to it at the time so if I had known it’d be last win I would have celebrated a lot more! I thought it would be expected of me to win again. I thought I’d be on my way. Cadwell anniversary this weekend will be alright if my body can hold together.

Karl Harris, best friend. How much did/does his death affect you?

Well at the time it destroyed me, as it would anyone, he was my best mate. I did a couple of BSB rounds after but I was lost; it was the first time I’d ever ridden in the championship without him and I couldn’t do it because he wasn’t there. He has inspired me to come back. I’ll never be a Karl Harris speed wise or results wise. The paddock misses him like mad. One of our best on-track memories was at Croft in 2006. F*****G Shakey Byrne cost me a podium after crashing at Knockhill in 2008; I was going to be third in race two but came 5th after he crashed and caused the red flags to come out! We (Michael and Karl) were both on the podium together at Croft anyway, it was a real joy. We had a proper crack in the paddock, we used to sneak off to my motorhome for cigarettes and then go around at night stealing everyone’s beer!

Ever thought about road racing?

I want to do the TT, I always have. I could have done the NW last year but it does absolutely nothing for me, similar to the Ulster GP. All I want to do is the TT and set a 125mph lap, then I’d walk away happy.

What was the lowest of the low for you?

Got to be when I was at Oulton Park this year and I was out of action after only two laps, having been away and off the bike for two seasons. Next thing I knew I was flying in a helicopter. At the time it absolutely ripped me apart, however it didn’t take me long to get back up to full health.

MotoGP and WSBK predictions.

Hmmmm WSBK. I think Rea will win again this year. I really do. Tom will be a close second. It wont be Kawasaki next year; Ducati and that will come along a lot stronger, there is a new Suzuki next year too. Kawasaki have got it sorted for this year but I think next season, we will see the competition be lot stronger and more competitive. I don’t know what Ducati are thinking taking Melandri on. Its utterly ridiculous. I would rather see Eugene on the bike but Melandri is only there because Ducati are skint, after they’ve just given Lorenzo 30 million dollars for two seasons. They offered Casey that much to come back and ride for them; they told me when I went to test their new Multistrada Enduro bike. Marco is bringing a bucket load of money to the team, that’s the only reason they want him. What has he got left to prove? He might prove me wrong and make me look like a plant-pot but he’s not got the motivation to say ‘OK, I’m going to win a title’.

For MotoGP, I think the little man is going to win it. I think Keith and Jules were right when they said Lorenzo won’t win it. It only takes one more wet race for him to do what he has done at Assen, Sachsenring and Brno. I think it could be a close run affair this year with Marc and Valentino. Rossi can take it to him. It’s only going to take one mistake from Marquez. Rossi won’t get any help from Jorge. He wasn’t relying on it from Jorge anyway and Marc won’t get help from Dani. There’d be murders if it was ever found out that Marc and Jorge worked together again.

Have you ever fallen out with any racers; are there any you dislike?

Naaah! To be fair, I’ve never seen something that makes me want to dislike someone or brand them as dangerous. I had a big rivalry with someone in club racing. They all raced ex Troy Bayliss bikes and he was moaning about the bikes not favouring him. We had a battle once and we ended banging fairings. We shook hands after, no animosity or anything. We just said that’s what you call a proper race, a proper battle.

Top 3 BSB races:

Hill and Hopkins, Brands Hatch, 2011

Haslam and Lavilla, Cadwell Park, 2006

Haslam and Harris, Croft, 2006.

For more exclusive interviews you can follow us on Twitter @PitCrew_Online, and for all bike related posts you can follow @MotoGPKiko. To keep up with Michael Howarth, you can follow him @howie94! Thanks to Gareth Davies once again for the fantastic picture.

Big plans for 2017 for Superstock Star Godfrey

After parting company with Morello Racing in the National Superstock 1000 series a few months ago, I caught up with Ben Godfrey once again, to see how he is getting on riding back in his own team. The former National Superstock 600 podium finisher is only doing a selected few rounds this season, and will therefore not be in action at Cadwell Park this coming weekend.

How has your season been so far, obviously the parting with Morello wasn’t what you had in mind?

The season has been a good learning season due to the switch in manufacture change. We have had to learn a completely new style and characteristic of bike! I really enjoyed riding both of them. The Kawasaki is a real strong package but I’m really enjoying being in my own team again and loving the BMW. It’s hard to explain the difference between the two manufacturers but for me the way the power is delivered and the quality of the motorcycle! Also saying that, the Kawasaki is an excellent bike.

Any new sponsors and what are the plans for 2017?

I have a new main sponsor this year; Gary from led solutions and Sygnet signs. And we are really focusing on next season as this year we are taking all the track time as testing, hence why I’m racing in the NG road racing championship, and not full time in the BSB paddock. We have a great plan for next year and all looks extremely exciting, so hopefully we will have more on this soon.

Did you leave Morello on good terms?

We ended on good terms as things just weren’t working how I and the team wanted or expected to. However, I still keep in touch with the team and wish them all the best, we are still friends and we didn’t fallout. I’m still very good friends with my team mates from the team Fraser and Davey.

Explain to everyone just how much effort is required to be fast in the BSB paddock?

To make a great team it’s a huge effort from everyone. Everyone has to be on point, the chemistry when we are working together is very important. To be anywhere near the factory teams is a great achievement for myself and my little team! There’s 5 factory riders and teams in front: Mackenzie, Rutter, Elliot, Hutchy and Farmer.

You can keep up with all of Ben’s racing on Twitter, @Ben16Godfrey. You can also follow @PitCrew_Online, for more exclusive interviews from various motorsport series. If you don’t like to be entertained and like being bored, you can follow me @MotoGPKiko.

Basildon Bullet Buchan Back on Beloved MSS Kawasaki with Tsingtao Racing

After a shock departure from the Moto Rapido Ducati Team, Danny Buchan wasn’t travelling to the job centre for very long, as he rejoined Tsingtao Racing, run by Dave Tyson, who took the former BSB podium finisher to his National Superstock 1000 title in 2014. I caught up with Dave to see how the team are after a recent two-day test at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire.

“2014 was the last time we worked together. It was like the old days; he was smiling and full of banter but when the helmet goes on he gets serious”, said Tyson, who took Buchan to his dominant Superstock 1000 championship. “I think we can do a good job and certainly, a strong points haul is the plan. Times at the test were strong. We will stay on the older machine, the times he did at the test were very similar to last year’s qualifying; I think he could be competitive at one of his favourite circuits”.

“I have a great relationship with him and his family so he’s really easy to work with. Let’s see what changes when it gets serious, our previous experience helps, it’s like he’s never been away really!”

I then went on to ask Dave about how he thinks Danny’s addition to the team will affect the team’s resources. “It won’t change anything, MSS Performance are just as much a part of the team as we are; they do a great job helping us with technical support and analysis. Without Nick, Jebb and the guys we wouldn’t be able to do what we are doing”.

When asked about Danny’s future beyond this season at the team, team owner Tyson said “Who knows. We aren’t 100% certain what we as a team will be doing next season, and without doubt Danny will be looking for a top ride. Let’s see what the final few rounds produce and we can take it from there, but for sure it would be a pleasure to work with Danny”.

“The main sponsors of the team are Tsingtao, who are more than happy to have Danny on board, given our success together two years ago. MSS Performance are an important part of it too. We are still working on bringing on board new sponsors to help with the Superbike project we are embarking on”.

Then, we discussed how things are going in the Superstock 600 class and Supersport series. “Scott’s riding really well and finally the bike is competitive. Supersport is very frustrating. We have a bike capable of winning but with no long term rider (Jake Dixon left the team earlier in the season). We had a test with Luke Jones but he’s using his own triumph, so we are still looking for a top rider. We spoke to Brad Ray but he’s happy where he’s at”.

I put Dave on the spot and asked him to put a name on the BSB trophy and he simply said, “It’s hard to see past Shakey. The team are working so hard to try and deliver and the results show that it’s working”.

For more exclusive BSB news and interviews, you can follow @PitCrew_Online and also myself @MotoGPKiko for all things two wheels! You can follow the team @TsingtaoRacing and the recently verified Danny Buchan @Buchan83!

Taz Taylor – Putting Mansfield on the Map

As much as we bang on about MotoGP, WSBK and BSB, we also like to highlight the other classes of motorcycling around the world, and this week is the turn of the British Superstock 600 class, and in particularly, PaceDayz Yamaha rider Taz Taylor.

Now, I live in Mansfield, and Taz is from there, so it’s only natural that I want to promote sport in my local area, but this isn’t just a token article, he really is the real deal. Last season, in the Motostar category, Taylor demonstrated an incredible amount of talent. Whether it be starting from pole position and sprinting off or going into a last lap scrap with the eventual champion Scott Deroue, Taylor showed that he has what it takes to win races.

This year, he rides for the PaceDayz Yamaha team on-board an R6, that is relatively old compared to some of its competitors. Achieving a staggering 6th on his first appearance in the class at Silverstone and going on to achieve a 2nd place finish at Brands Hatch, this year has been far from shabby from the teenager.

However, as we approach Cadwell Park, is that recent 2nd place a springboard for Taz to build on and get more podiums as the season gets older? Last year, he crashed out towards the end of the race in tricky conditions, whilst in 2nd place behind Deroue. This year, a new class and a new set of opponents could be the key to Taz’ recent success, as he grows in confidence with those around him, both off track and on.

Whatever the result, all of us here at The Pit Crew Online will be behind the Pacedayz Yamaha rider all the way through this year and beyond, and we wish them all the very best of luck for the rest of this season.

You can follow me on Twitter @MotoGPKiko, as well as following our main account @PitCrew_Online for all the latest bike racing news.

Thanks to Pete Boocock for the images, follow him on Twitter @PeteBoocock for more!

Can Dan Linfoot fight for BSB Glory?

 

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Linfoot came so close at Snetterton 300; this moment cost him on the run to the line.

Photo Credit to Gareth Davies

Dan Linfoot has got to be the best rider currently on the BSB grid to never win a BSB race. Coming so desperately close in both races at Snetterton, Linfoot has had the pace, but has been robbed of chances to take that elusive first victory. So, with Cadwell Park approaching, I pose the question: Can he do it in Lincolnshire?

The form book says no; Linfoot’s best result at the track has been a seventh place in 2014, apart from that, it has been 10th at best for the Yorkshireman. However, Linfoot has never looked so strong in a British Superbike Championship; he made the showdown last year, but it was only just. He hadn’t looked alarmingly consistent and it was often the case that in wet conditions, he would fade away due to poor tyre choice. This year, former GP rider Linfoot looks like he could be a real dark horse however, and he is proving that consistency alone is keeping him in the title fight.

His Snetterton round was particularly impressive. Not only did he run a high pace, but he kept in touch with team mate Jason O’Halloran and proved that he was willing to push and battle in difficult conditions when the rain came down. And then, the final corner. A slight mistake just gave his Australian team mate enough of an advantage to pinch the win on the line. In the second outing, Linfoot was riding within himself before the red flags came out due to Jenny Tinmouth, his other team mate, crashed out too. It would not be beyond the realms of imagination and possibility to think that Dan could have done the double.

Ifs, buts and maybes don’t count however, and it’s all about looking to the future. Linfoot currently sits on 137 points in 5th place, so he is in the top six. But this is BSB, and as we have seen this year, the gaps couldn’t get any closer! He is just 13 points ahead of Luke Mossey in 7th place, and Luke is a man in form. Linfoot is just 29 points ahead of Peter Hickman in 10th place, and we know Hicky likes Cadwell. It really could be a matter of who wants it more, and I wouldn’t look past Linfoot given his determined form and blistering pace.

However, one thing is on Linfoot’s side. The fact that he is riding a bike that has won at Cadwell in recent years, albeit in the wet. His fireblade won in the capable hands of Peter Hickman in 2014. Did I just mention rain? Oh yes, it does that every now and then in Britain, and if it does it on the race weekend then you can be sure to see a surprise!

The other factor is that because everything is so close, you could be a tenth off your usual pace and find yourself marooned in the mid pack. Look at what happened to Shane Byrne last year, it arguably cost him a shot at the title. And, if you are going to be stuck in a battle with riders you are unfamiliar with, then Cadwell Park is not the track you want it. Back in 2000, Neil Hodgson caught Neil Mackenzie, his team mate, on the final lap as a backmarker. But because the track is so tight and narrow, he couldn’t get past, allowing championship rival Chris Walker to not just catch Hodgson, but get ahead of him too, nearly costing Hodgy the title. We really could be in for some fun and games!

As always, you can keep up with all the action live with our text commentary @PitCrew_Online on Twitter. You can also follow me on my personal account @MotoGPKiko for everything motorsport related, particularly bikes! We are also on Instagram, so be sure to follow us on there too: CrewOnTwo is the name to have.

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