The heat is on: Thruxton set for Bennetts BSB scorcher in fight for Showdown spots
The Bennetts British Superbike Championship returns to Thruxton for the fastest round on its calendar this weekend (12/13/14 August) and the heat is on to be inside the top-eight in the standings ahead of the Showdown in just nine races’ time.
The high-speed Hampshire circuit has traditionally produced some of the closest races of the season and McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran leads the standings into the event where he was a triple winner last year.
The ‘O’Show’ was victorious in the opening race last time out at Brands Hatch but it was his teammate Tarran Mackenzie who did the double in races two and three. The reigning champion proved that he is back to full fitness after injury and he intends to get his title defence firmly back on track.
The Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki pairing of Lee Jackson and Rory Skinner lock out the next two positions as they bid to consolidate their position in the standings, whilst Kyle Ryde and Silverstone treble winner Glenn Irwin complete the top-six ahead of three races across Saturday and Sunday.
Home hero Tommy Bridewell wants to put his past woes at Thruxton behind him and put on a strong show for his local crowd; his Winchester-based Oxford Products Racing Ducati team also has high hopes for the weekend ahead.
After his victory double last month, when he became the sixth different race winner of the season, Mackenzie holds the final place in the top-eight.
A total of ten riders have claimed podium finishes so far this season, but Peter Hickman, Danny Buchan and Josh Brookes are just outside of the leading eight positions and have all been podium finishers at this weekend’s venue in the past.
This weekend also marks the much-anticipated Bennetts BSB race debut of 2014 Moto2 Grand Prix World Champion Tito Rabat with the TAG Honda team, as he becomes the third World Champion to join the grid.
The Barcelona-based contender has also most recently been a race winner in the Spanish Superbike Championship riding for the LaGlisse Honda team.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 265
- Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) 255
- Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) 187
- Rory Skinner (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) 174
- Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) 170
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing UK) 156
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 137
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 105
For more information on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visit www.britishsuperbike.com
“I am really looking forward to Thruxton; I have really good memories of there from last year when we did the triple win, which was good. It is a track that I enjoy, the fastest on the calendar that we go to, we don’t get to ride it as much as the others so once a year it is always something to look forward to.
“The Yamaha works really well at Thruxton; it is always a different type of race. It is one of the only races in the year where it is more about strategy rather than how fast you can go in the race.
“I expect a big challenge this year there from everyone; it is one that riders seem to enjoy and go well at. Coming off the back of Brands where we set the fastest lap of the weekend to get pole position, won on Sunday and had a 1-2 for McAMS Yamaha in both races, so it was an amazing weekend for the team. It was also a really good points and podium points score for us.
“We are improving the feeling with the bike all of the time and feeling really strong coming into the right part of the year, so I am looking forward to the next few rounds and trying to win some more races.”
Oxford Products Racing Ducati
“Coming into the home round as always I am excited, but for some reason, and I don’t know why, I genuinely feel probably more excited than I ever have done going into Thruxton. I think it is because we have obviously been getting our head around this new spec of bike and some circuits I have expected to be really strong and it has actually been harder than I thought. Other tracks I have expected to be a lot weaker at, we have actually been really strong.
“I am hoping the love-hate relationship with Thruxton is at an end and it just becomes a love-love relationship because I genuinely would love nothing more than to just have a good, strong show for my home crowd.
“I am not saying I am going to win three races but I am optimistic and positive that I hope we are able to try and fight for the podium as that is the goal.
“I think coming off of a strong weekend at Brands Hatch, the team are still working to try and get that next step. I think it is a big element of the weekend in all honesty is also just trying to consolidate as many points as possible as the Showdown is creeping up.
“We are in a strong position for it, but we also can’t afford to have a bad weekend. I want to fight for the podium but I also want to come away from the weekend with three, strong points-scoring results.”