British Superbike Championship: Brands Hatch Indy Preview


Following two excellent races at Donington Park, the second round of the 2015 MCE British Superbike Championship takes place this weekend at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.

The small 1.2mile track always ensures some great racing and with the current grid being as large as it is, expect it to be a close as ever throughout the pack.

Last year’s event saw eventual champion, Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, win both races as he got his 2014 campaign off to a winning start despite only qualifying down in 13th position.

It was Byrne who left Donington Park with the championship lead following a 2nd place finish in race one and victory in race two.

Byrne’s weekend was far from easy however and the PBM Kawasaki rider will know that he will once again have to be at the top of his game if he is going to taste the champagne again this weekend.

Byrne’s main challenger in race one at Donington Park was JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Ellison. Fully fit and with some good testing under his belt, Ellison knew that he could challenge for victories from the get-go and that’s exactly what he did in race one.

Unfortunately hit technical issues struck ahead of race two with Ellison having to start from the back of grid, eventually ending the race in 12th.  Expect Ellison to be challenging for the win yet again at Brands Hatch.

With Ellison down the field, another challenger came forward with Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot having a great battle with Byrne for the victory.  The Honda Fireblade showed some good mid-corner speed, with Linfoot putting some in some great overtaking moves at the Foggy Esses.

Eventually the tyres lost all grip and Linfoot was powerless to stop Byrne from winning the race but the Honda rider will be full of confidence knowing that his new machine can compete at the front.

One man who will be desperate for a change in fortunes at Brands Hatch is Buildbase BMW’s Ryuichi Kiyonari, who only managed to score 2 points at Donington Park.

After the excitement of Donington Park, expect more of the same at Brands Hatch (Credit: MCE British Superbike Championship)
After the excitement of Donington Park, expect more of the same at Brands Hatch (Credit: MCE British Superbike Championship)

The triple British champion finished down in 14th place in race one before crashing out spectacularly in race two whilst challenging for a podium finish.

Last year’s championship runner-up knows that he must improve this weekend as any more slip-ups could cause him to fall too far behind Byrne and the other contenders in the title race.

Josh Brookes will looking to make more progress on the brand-new Milwaukee Yamaha R1, after a podium finish at Donington Park in race one. The Australian rider will be confident after getting the first two races out of the way and knowing that the new bike can be competitive.

Other riders to keep an eye out for at Brands Hatch include Peter Hickman, who arguably put in the performance of the weekend at Donington to secure a fifth and a fourth place finish respectively.

The RAF Reserves BMW rider had completed less than 60 laps of pre-season testing heading into the Easter Weekend and had been realistically aiming to finish in a points scoring position in the two races.

Elsewhere, Be Wiser Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan impressed throughout the weekend at Donington and was going strong in both races before crashing out. The 21-year-old definitely has a lot of potential and will only get better as he gains more experience in his debut full season.

The Tyco BMW duo of Tommy Bridewell and Michael Laverty will be hoping for an improvement in qualifying this weekend after showing some decent race pace last time out.

Both riders were hampered in race one by poor starting positions of 17th and 15th places respectively. Despite this, the pair ended up with a top 10 finish in both of the races so if they can improve their grid positions this weekend, they could find themselves battling for the podium.

With so many riders and teams showing great pace and potential at the opening round, Brands Hatch is going to be a tough one to call.

All the action gets underway this Friday with the first two practice sessions with the Datatag Extreme Qualifying sessions taking place on Saturday, with a start-time of 16:05.

The racing action takes place on Sunday with race one scheduled to begin at 13:30, followed by the second BSB race of the day at 16:30.