While the COVID-19 pandemic remains the focus, racing preparations continue for riders heading into the 2020 season.
Many competitors have been out of action since late February, which was the last opportunity to test before the new season, while others since last season.
British Superstock 600 rider and a championship favorite Ben Luxton, is one of those to test earlier this year and joined me for an exclusive interview on his preparations for the new campaign, the 2019 season and his future goals.
Luckily for Luxton, the lockdown hasn’t impacted majorly on his preparation: “During these strange times I’ve been really lucky as we got most of our preseason testing done. We flew out to Cartagena at the end of February and had a good week of testing there.”
“Then we flew home and managed to get a few UK days of testing done as well, and I do know some of my competitors haven’t rode at all, so we’ve been really lucky on that side of preparations.”
“At the moment during these times I’ve been able to train really hard since we have so much time on our hands. I’m cycling everyday which is a positive out of it, so when the 2020 season comes around, if it does, then we’ll definitely be fighting and ready for it.”
Luxton was one of the more impressive riders in the 2019 season and is in great shape heading into the new racing season.
“In 2019 I joined a newly formed team called JR performance. Joe Richardson who is an ex mechanic for Top level BSB teams. This was a great step forward for me as in 2018 me and JR worked very well together.”
“We had a great season with the Kawasaki 636 at the back end of last year. I got my first win, which was followed by three more podiums, and also had the most pole positions in the 2019 season. So, we were really charging and only finished 24 points behind the championship winner.”
“But going into the 2020 season, I couldn’t be in a better position really. I’m joining back with JR so i’m really excited. The main goal is to win the Superstock 600 championship, which is the only goal really. But we’re definitely ready for it so will see what happens.”
Many of the great riders have had rider coaches throughout their careers, and Luxton believes the addition of Alan Carter and his experience with past champions could be vital.
“Alan Carter has joined me as a rider coach/mentor who is an ex GP winner from the 1980s which is a great asset. He’s been a mentor to Ryan Vickers and Korie Mcgreevy who won the Stock 600 the last couple of seasons, so with his knowledge that’s going to be really valuable for the 2020 season.“
Luxton detailed his passion for the sport and how he got into motorcycling saying: “It all started when my parents owned a farm and I was about six years-old. We got a little motocross bike and since then it’s always been about Motorsport.”
“I would always watch the tarmac side of things on TV, and I used to go up to our local track at Darley Moor to watch, and every time I went, I wanted to do it.”
“So when I was thirteen we inquired with Darley Moor and since then it’s gone from there. We moved into the Thundersport paddock on the Aprilia Superteens championship, before moving up to the Aprilia 450 championship which I won in 2014, and then moved up to British level and that’s where we are now.”
For young riders, MotoGP is without doubt the dream of two-wheel racing, and while Luxton acknowledged it would be the pinnacle for him too, he first has goals closer to home.
“MotoGP is the pinnacle of the sport and where everyone wants to be, but being realistic if we can get to the British Superbike championship, that would be a good step for me.”
Luxton also took the time to thank those that have helped him get to this stage saying: “Massive thank you to JR Performance, DLR Transport, OMG Raacing, Alan Carter, Shark Helmets, Knox Armour, 4SR and Baines Racing for making everything possible.”
It remains to be seen when or if we get racing in 2020, but one thing’s for sure, Luxton is ready for the new campaign and a potential title charge.