Parc Fermé

In my latest weekly column Parc Fermé, I cast my mind back to a weekend of phenomenal bike racing and look ahead at what is to come. Let’s just hope it’s not a #93 world championship.

A weekend of Grand Prix motorcycle racing at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and the British Superbike ‘Showdown Decider’ at Oulton Park.

Just that opening paragraph is enough to have you bouncing your knees in excitement and feeling the goosebumps develop all over your skin.

As soon as Jorge Navarro crashed out at Misano the commentators should just have declared there and then that Brad Binder is the 2016 Moto3 champion. He is now 106 points in front of second place Enea Bastianini. I don’t care what sort of rider you are, unless Binder is going to throw his bike at the scenery for the next five races (and I can’t see that happening) South Africa will be crowning itself a world champion. It is shame though. I really thought that Binder and Navarro were going to go at it hammer and tongs to the very last race. I even thought riders like Bastianini, Bulega, Antonelli and Fenati were going to mount a serious challenge. It wasn’t to be.

I know there are a few people out there who have said they find Brad a bit boring during interviews, but I like him. I like how he conducts himself and the way he keeps a cool, calm and collected manner about him. He is a worthy champion, of that I have no doubt.

After the furore of Silverstone (mostly from British fans) regarding Zarco and Lowes, it was time to see what would happen at Misano. Well, not much between them to be honest. Sam was unfortunately down again and I hate to say it, but I think that’s his championship hopes gone with his bike into the gravel.

Alex Rins. Well. Broke both collar bones and rode his bloody socks off, yet it was the hustling, determined and downright dogged Lorenzo Baldassarri who took the spoils. His performance, the way he hunted down Rins was exceptional. I won’t hide the fact that I was quite pleased to see Zarco drop like a stone, or as Julian Ryder quite eloquently put it “Zarco has been taken outside and beaten up.” Oh well, never mind. I was really pleased to see Rins and Baldassarri battling at the front for the win.

What I wasn’t expecting was a Dani Pedrosa victory in MotoGP. In fact I don’t think most people were expecting a Pedrosa win. Where the hell did that come from? I watched with interest as Rossi closed the gap down on Lorenzo, inch by inch the tarmac shortened and the sea of yellow in the stands erupted as the GOAT went into the lead. But hold on….wait a minute. What’s that in the background creeping up?

It was a Repsol Honda bike but not the bully boy #93 of Marquez, no it wasn’t. It was the #26 of Pedrosa.

I was ever so happy to see Pedrosa burst like a bullet underneath Marquez sitting him up as he went by. That’s the second time today I’ve been happy. Although I wasn’t expecting a Pedrosa victory it was a win that I don’t think anybody would deny him. He rode an absolutely phenomenal race.

The gap in the world championship is down to 43 points and if I am being honest I don’t mind who of the chasing pack wins the title this year, as long as it’s not the #93. I think that Marc Marquez is one of the most talented riders there has ever been. What he can do with a motorcycle is just unbelievable and he is without doubt a true great. I just don’t like his riding ethics and his smarmy, arrogant nature off the track. That’s the only reason I don’t want him to win the world championship. Nothing else.

The setting for the British Superbike ‘Showdown Decider’ was Oulton Park. Now, unlike the above, there is no superbike rider who I have glee in seeing dropping down the order. It was a real topsy turvy, roller coaster affair this one but I have to say the highlight of the weekend for me was witnessing racing history.

Three JG Speedfit Kawasaki riders locking out the podium positions, the first time in British Superbike history and this coming from a fan of another bike racing team as well. It is always a special moment watching racing history being made.

I did manage two rather large shots when I witnessed both Tommy Bridewell and Jake Dixon go down hard, their bikes catapulting across the grass to the fencing. Bridewell’s bike actually went over the fencing and on both occasions the fans were running for cover.

So, we have our final six riders for the Championship Showdown. Leon Haslam, Shakey Byrne, Jason O’Halloran, James Ellison, Dan Linfoot and Luke Mossey. Three Kawasaki’s, two Honda’s and a Ducati. It’s going to be some run-in to the end of the season, but where do I think the title will go.

As a fan, my heart says Shakey Byrne, as a Byrne fan and lifelong Ducati fan. My head says Leon Haslam, I just think he has hit a rich vein of form and looks the business at the moment. If I was going to pick a rider outside of those two I’d want Luke Mossey to win it. I like him, I like the way he conducts himself.

Whether it was Moto3, Moto2, MotoGP, British Superbikes or British Supersport, at the weekend I still managed to witness more excitement in one weekend than a certain racing series all season that I can’t be bothered to mention again.

The Grand Prix racers move to Aragon and the British Superbike riders go to Donington. In all of the series it’s just going to be one hell of an end to the season.

Until the next time. See you at the chequered flag.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

ePayMe Yamaha – Holders of BSB’s most important Key?

The Tommy Hill ePayMe Yamaha Team haven’t had an easy time of things this year, with a Yamaha that is technically demanding, a rider line-up that has changed due to injury and what not and also because the competition level is so high in BSB. However, with former GP star John Hopkins at the helm of one of the R1s, could we be set to see their best in the closing stages of this year’s championship?

It was annoying at Knockhill. Hopper was finally showing the form we all know he has when he chucked his bike at the scenery and gave himself the power of no good by injuring himself. Broc Parkes came in as a replacement and did rather well considering he struggled on the same bike last season. Sadly, Broc went to carry on with the endurance team, leaving Tommy with Stuart Easton, who had been struggling to get to the sharp end. After the Brands Hatch round, Easton vacated the seat and the most recent pilot of the bike was Howie Mainwaring-Smart. But with John Hopkins back to full fitness, could the Yamaha hold the key to causing an upset in the showdown.

Now I know that neither Yamaha bike can actually reach the showdown but my point is, if Hopkins can get the bike working then we know he will be up the sharp end, thus taking points off riders who are vying for the championship and/or a final showdown spot. John’s talents haven’t just gone. He is a top class rider; he’s battled with his team boss for the championship as well as pushed Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner to their best too. The only thing that John needs is a bit of confidence, and one good result could be the thing that triggers all that.

On the other side of the garage, it’s impossible to say who or what will do well. Easton struggled, as did Mainwaring-Smart, albeit at probably the worst circuit to come in as a replacement, but Broc Parkes’ style just seemed to gel with the bike. I believe that if Parkes was to sign off the season with the team, then there would be no reason why they can’t take podiums. This in turn means that they really could be the ones that spoil someone’s party at the end of the year. I really think that the ePayMe Yamaha team could hold a very valuable key to the championship, as well as other factors coming into play too.

And if you want another reason why I think it could work out well for the team, then here is one: Tommy Hill. The former BSB champion doesn’t only have a wealth of experience in racing motorcycles, but he can relate to exactly how the riders are feeling when things aren’t going their way. This means that he has an understanding that is rare for many teams. On top of that, he is a decent bloke and a very well respected figure in the BSB paddock, so as well as being approachable to his riders, he’s approachable by fans. And all that creates a good team. And when a team is working well, results start coming and I sincerely believe they will start coming, and very, very soon.

Thanks as always to our photographer Gareth Davies, as without him, our articles would be far more boring and a lot less colourful! You can keep up with all his work on Facebook. You can keep up with me on Twitter, @MotoGPKiko and also follow our main account @PitCrew_Online.


Byrne and Haslam Share Spoils at Cadwell as Showdown Race Heats Up

Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam shared the spoils in Monday’s British Superbike meeting at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, with Jason O’Halloran completing the podium in both of the day’s outings.

Race one saw Leon Haslam get a mediocre start from pole position, leaving Shane Byrne to lead into turn one. Despite Byrne taking the advantage, the race wasn’t as strung out as we all thought it would be with Haslam, O’Halloran, Jackson, Cooper and Mossey all up at the sharp end, as well as Bridewell who burst through from row 3, along with Dan Linfoot.

O’Halloran and Richard Cooper soon became embroiled in a big battle, with the two exchanging places around Park corner and down towards the Gooseneck. O’Halloran won the battle but there was more drama down field on the next lap.

Cooper’s teammate Lee Jackson crashed out in sensational style as his bike barrel-rolled through the air before smashing into the air fence. Jackson was OK and walked off, understandably in disgust.

Haslam made a mistake, allowing Shakey to escape and O’Halloran to take the 2nd position. It wasn’t long until he was back on the case though, and Haslam not only got passed Jason again but he caught series leader Byrne too.

Dan Linfoot crashed out at the chicane at a track that has been far from kind for the Yorkshireman. His best finish prior to this weekend at the Lincolnshire circuit was a 7th. The bad luck continued for the showdown protagonist.

Haslam took the lead from Byrne and no sooner had he done that, Byrne made a mistake, allowing Jason O’Halloran back through into 2nd position. But as we all know in motorcycle racing: It isn’t over until the chequered flag.

O’Halloran made a huge error over the Mountain and a lap later, Shakey retook 2nd position. Tommy Bridewell had closed in on the group and was now challenging the Honda rider of O’Halloran. Byrne then set off after Haslam and on the very last lap, pushed his Ducati through on entrance to the Gooseneck. Byrne had pulled off an astonishing win, with Haslam 2nd and O’Halloran 3rd.

Race two got underway with a bang, as Howie Mainwaring-Smart and Filip Backlund had a colossal accident at turn one. This triggered the safety car to be deployed whilst the marshals attended the fallen riders, both of whom I’m glad to say weren’t seriously injured.

Byrne took the lead and held it until the safety car was back in. Haslam charged passed as soon as he could and barged four-time champion Byrne to one side at Park, allowing O’Halloran to take advantage once more. Despite a big moment from O’Halloran, Byrne wouldn’t find a way through and that is how it stayed until the end. The drama however was unfolding further down, when Christian Iddon wiped out Richard Cooper at the hairpin, putting a big dent in both of their showdown aspirations. Haslam took back nine points by winning from Jason and Shane, all three of which confirmed their places in the showdown.

The gap from 4th down to 10th is just 27 points, with Michael Laverty, Dan Linfoot and James Ellison all in the showdown provisionally. Christian Iddon is in 10th. Anyone 13th or above in the championship has a mathematical chance of getting into the showdown, should results go their way. You can read more about the showdown protagonists during the week when we release our Showdown Preview.

The next round is at Oulton Park where we have a triple header treat coming up for you! Follow us on Twitter @PitCrew_Online for live text commentary by @MotoGPKiko on Sunday.

Thank you to Gareth Davies for the excellent images he provides us.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Van Der Mark: I can fight for the title in 2017

Yamaha Motor Europe is pleased to announce its official challengers for the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, as talented Dutchman Michael van der Mark joins current rider Alex Lowes in the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team. Continuing for his second season aboard the WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1, Lowes is eager to reap the rewards of 2016’s developmental year, having assisted the Japanese marque as it returned to international Superbike competition. Alongside him, and showing consistently impressive pace throughout his career so far, 2014’s Supersport World Champion van der Mark will move to Yamaha for his third season in the Superbike class.

25-year-old British rider Lowes secured an impressive victory in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race in late-July, competing as part of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team with MotoGP’s Pol Espargaro and Japanese race and test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga. 2016 has seen his notable pace and talent used to enhance and fine-tune the development of the YZF-R1 in its debut year in WorldSBK, with Lowes qualifying on the front row twice in the opening six rounds before a broken collarbone dampened his initial progress. The recent showing in Suzuka proving the former BSB Champion is back to full strength, Lowes is looking forward to continuing Yamaha’s WorldSBK evolution in the latter part of the 2016 season before returning to the series in 2017, determined to challenge for victory.

Dutch rider van der Mark has achieved many successes in his 23 years, becoming champion in both the FIM European Superstock 600 and Supersport World Championship in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Progressing to World Superbike in 2015, he has secured eight podiums and one pole position to-date across the past two seasons and showed an increasing maturity, speed and hunger to win. Van der Mark’s drive to succeed is a perfect complement to Lowes and the YZF-R1 for 2017, ensuring Yamaha has the best tools to fight for victories from the opening race.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and Yamaha Motor Europe would like to emphasise their full commitment to Sylvain Guintoli for the remaining four events of the 2016 WorldSBK season, continuing the partnership when the Frenchman returns from injury in Germany next month. Yamaha, the Crescent team and Title Partner Pata would like to thank Sylvain for his hard work in 2016 and wish him all the best in his future career.

Van Der Mark: It’s never easy leaving a team

“I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge with Yamaha. I could see the potential of the R1 during its first World Superbike season this year and I’m convinced that with further development and the full support of Yamaha and the team I will have the right package to fight for the World Superbike title next year.

“It is never an easy decision to leave a team and a manufacturer after so many years and successes, I will always remain grateful for the support received and I will give my maximum for the remainder of this season to get as many podiums as possible.”

Lowes: I am sure we will push each other next year

“Despite some challenges in the WorldSBK comeback season for Yamaha this year, it has been a pleasure to be part of the project from the start and I cannot wait to capitalise on the work we’ve all done when we start the 2017 season. The YZF-R1 is a magical bike to ride and we are now very close to a truly competitive level in this championship. I really feel part of the Yamaha family, the team is improving all the time and I couldn’t be happier to continue together into 2017. Michael is a very fast rider, I am sure we will push each other all year, and I look forward to him joining the team.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

Mixed feelings for Buildbase BMW Team after Cadwell Park

Taylor Mackenzie kept his hold of the Superstock 1000 Championship lead following the eighth round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park.

With an optimistic start to proceedings, the Buildbase team-mates, Richard Cooper and Lee Jackson showed they had pace, rarely moving outside the top five during the weekends free practice sessions. Both riders went on to make Q3 in qualifying on Sunday afternoon, with Cooperman setting the third fastest time of the day, and secured his place on the front row of the grid with a lap time of 1’26.126, which was under lap record pace at the time. Jackson, impressed at his home circuit with a personal best of 1’26.209 around the Lincolnshire track, putting his machine 4th on the grid ahead of Mondays races. The #47 rider worked hard throughout the race being the first BMW to cross the finish in 8th. An unfortunate crash on lap three at Charlies left Jackson’s bike needing a re-build. The team worked hard rebuilding the bike for race two to make sure the local lad was able to get back out on the S 1000 RR for his home crowd.

The same fate met Coopes during race two when a crash involving Christian Iddon at the Hairpin took Richard out. Suffering more from loss of crucial points than injuries the Nottinghamshire rider walked away from the crash unharmed. With no points to bank, Cooperman moved back into seventh of the Championship standings, foregoing the coveted sixth place which James Ellison now claims. Jackson fared better in race two, starting from 17th on the grid, he battled his way through the pack and was just shy of the top ten crossing the line.

Taylor Mackenzie bagged another 20 points for crossing the chequered flag 2nd in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race. It was a tough battle for podium places between Mackenzie, Hutchinson and Farmer. Ian took the win 2.3 second over the Buildbase rider, with Farmer claiming 3rd.

The Scotsman continues to hold his lead with a margin of 23 points over Hutchy in the Championship standings. With only three more rounds to contest the title, the #77 rider will be working hard to keep his place.

Taylor Mackenzie: “I was really happy with our work as a team at the weekend. We took a solid 20 points at a tricky circuit which puts us in a really strong position going into the last 3 rounds. Oulton, Donington and Brands were three of our best rounds from earlier in the year so I’m already looking forward to getting back out at Oulton in two weeks’ time.”

Lee Jackson: “Thank-you to the team for doing a great job all weekend and rebuilding my bike for race two. After a fantastic start to the weekend I’m gutted I couldn’t get my first podium and gain some more solid points!”

Steve Hicken, Team Manager: “It was a mixed weekend for Lee and Richard. The weekend started positive and we were set to battle at the front. It’s a shame the practice didn’t follow through into the racing. A few unfortunate events set us back. We managed to re-build the bike from Lee’s crash and get him back up and running for race two. He rode well at a tricky circuit and was the second BMW to cross the line, coming in just shy of top ten. We have some areas to work on read for the next round. I hope to get Richard back into the top six and Lee challenging at the front end. Taylor rode well and it was a tight battle at the front, we’re still at the top of the championship standings which is great.”

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

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.

©2017 The Pitcrewonline