British Superbike veteran Chris Walker made a shock announcement this week that he is to compete in the Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship in association with Molson.
The BSB runner up will make his three-wheeled racing debut in May at Oulton Park, giving him plenty of time to get his skills up to standard. Walker has explained it’s now time to give younger riders more chances to race, but he couldn’t leave the BSB paddock just yet.
Following his abrupt end to 2015, the former Kawasaki rider vowed to return to the racing scene for another season, but not many could have predicted it would be aboard a sidecar: “The BSB paddock feels like my home and so I am really excited by this completely new challenge, especially as the British Sidecar Championship is going from strength to strength. I have no knowledge of it so I am full of anticipation, although I have to say it is still a bit daunting!
“There is so much bright talent emerging in BSB right now and I have looked at the larger picture; I am a racer through and through, I always will be. This is a time for some of the young riders to get their chances whilst in my mid 40s I can still go racing and still get that feeling of a challenge, which is an amazing thing to be able to say.”
In terms of how the 40-odd year old will approach the challenge, he’s the first to admit he’s not too sure what to expect but feels this is the most exciting part about the challenge: “I really don’t know what to expect and that is what I think excites me the most. The sidecar is completely different to a Superbike in terms of the gearing and braking so I am sure that will be something for me to get my head around, but the biggest draw for me is the new challenge.
I have the security of some great team-mates and good people around me who I can learn from. I want to come out and chip away because I know that this is probably one of the biggest challenges of my career. With a Superbike I had ridden a bike since the age of three; I have only had a go in a sidecar once and that was in 1986 and a completely different animal!
I have no preconceptions and I am realistic about the season. I will approach it like I did when I first raced Superbikes and that is to learn from my more experienced team-mates and use that as a gauge and just keep trying to improve. Hopefully the same thought process that worked for me in my Superbike career will replicate onto three wheels too! The team have shown faith in me by giving me this opportunity and I am just excited now to get started.“