It’s been over a month since the British Superbike championship contenders last turned a wheel in anger in the 2015 edition of the world’s premier domestic series.
|Ellison leads the way into Snetterton
Photo: MCE BSB
With the riders heading to Snetterton this weekend for the 4th round of the championship, we thought it’s best to have an ‘opening term report’ on the series so far, starting with the top 6 in the series, occupying the all important ‘Showdown’ places.
Cumbria’s James Ellison leading the charge in the championship standings, surfing on a wave of confidence after his most successful start to a season to date aboard the JG Speedfit GB Moto Kawasaki, taking 3 victories in 6 attempts so far. The Xpress Coffee backed rider finds himself in his most promising position yet to sustain a significant threat on the title this year.
Four time British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne sits in second place, just 8 points adrift following a difficult round at Oulton Park. The Londoner delivered the goods in race one, bringing home the third place trophy to his PBM Kawasaki squad having crossed the line just over 2 seconds adrift of race winner Tommy Bridewell. Byrne was unable to repeat his relative success in race one later in the afternoon after a mistake from War for Four rival, Kiyonari, wiped out the pair while braking into the Hislop’s chicane. Byrne has taken a single victory so far this year, along with 4 podiums and is ready to prove a point this weekend and close in on Ellison’s advantage.
|Brookes will hope for a trophy at Snetterton
Photo: MCE BSB
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes is a further 7 points behind Byrne. Brookes is yet to take the top step of the podium this year, and (forgive the cliche) will be fired up more than ever this weekend having missed out on an International Road Racing campaign aboard the all-new R1 Yamaha this year, as well as riding a similarly spectacular tsunami of confidence as Ellison having obliterated the lap record around the Snetterton 300 circuit in last month’s official test.
Stuart Easton showed that he is more than able to give as good as he gets in the series still, clinching victory from the grasp of both Ellison and Brookes in what was easily the race of the season so far. Despite only taking a single podium as well this season, the Scottish pocket rocket has consistently nipped at the heels of the pard ferme brigade and was on the pace at the Snetterton test just a few weeks ago, but as it stands, will need to find something extra for race day if he wishes to go for gold once again.
Tyco BMW’s Tommy Bridewell occupies 5 place in the championship standings. The Devizes rider took top spot in race one at Oulton Park, pipping Josh Brookes to the line following a tense final few laps. His rise to the top this year has been surprisingly steady given his move to the Tyco squad and back on BMW machinery. 2 DNFs so far and unable to trouble the podium in the other 3 races means he sits over 50 points behind Ellison at the top of the standings. The Northern Irish TAS Racing team didn’t participate in the Snetterton test last month so will arguably have their work cut out for them to keep Bridewell up the top end of the results sheet once again this weekend.
Last and certainly not least in our very brief look at the top 6 riders of the 2015 British Superbike Championship so far is Honda UK’s Jason O’Halloran. Lying a further 11 points down the road from Bridewell, the fuelled by Xpress Coffee rider also got off to a steady start to the series, no doubt taking it relatively steady allowing for the factory backed Honda team to land on their feet in their return to British Championship racing this year. The Aussie was well on the pace in testing, capitalising on the handling qualities of his CBR1000RR round the tricky flat layout of the Snetterton 300 layout.
Ryuichi Kiyonari will be looking to pick up the pieces of his quite frankly massively disappointing start to the year, relatively speaking, based on his devastatingly fast pre-season and free practice/qualifying form so far. He sits a single point behind Michael Laverty in the standings in 8th place. The BMW pair have both had success in Norfolk previously, Can the BMW pair return to winning ways this weekend? No reason to suggest otherwise…
Dan Linfoot will also be making his comeback this weekend following that horrific arm injury suffered at Brands Hatch after showing such promise with a podium and 4th place at Donington Park. Rome wasn’t built in a day so despite ever shortening time available to bag a Showdown spot, we’re not expecting Linfoot to come out with guns blazing this weekend as he did at Donington.
1 James Ellison JG Speedfit Kawasaki 109
2 Shane Byrne PBM Kawasaki 101
3 Josh Brookes Milwaukee Yamaha 94
4 Stuart Easton PBM Kawasaki 80
5 Tommy Bridewell Tyco BMW 53
6 Jason O’Halloran Honda Racing 42
7 Michael Laverty Tyco BMW 40
8 Ryuichi Kiyonari Buildbase BMW 39
9 Howie Mainwaring Quattro Plant Kawasaki 37
10 Chris Walker Be Wiser Kawasaki 35
Snetterton Test results can be found here.