After a solid 2011 season which saw two of their riders inside the top ten of the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship, the Smiths (Gloucester) Racing Team has signalled their intentions of challenging for two 2012 titles with a strong four rider team.
Experienced Australians Glen Richards and Billy McConnell will join young British hot-shot Luke Mossey aboard factory-supported Triumph 675s in the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship whereas Johnny Blackshaw will be gunning for glory aboard a similar machine in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship.
Originally from Adelaide, the experienced Richards won the inaugural BSB-EVO title last year and is a former British Supersport Champion whereby he lifted the title in 2008 aboard a Triumph 675 Daytona. Hinckley based 25-year-old Billy McConnell will join his compatriot fresh from finishing third aboard a Triumph 675 in last year's series which saw him take two wins. Skippy won the Virgin Mobile Cup back in 2005 and also finished runner-up in the 2009 British Supersport Championship.
After a superb season last year for the Smiths (Gloucester) Racing Team, which saw him score three podium finishes, Royston rider Luke Mossey will continue for a second term and the former Grand Prix rider and Metzeler National Superstock 600 runner-up will be hoping he can secure his first BSS victory.
Challenging for honours in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship will be Warrington's Johnny Blackshaw who has shown his prowess in recent seasons with two podium finishes and he's hoping to improve on his seventh place in last year's series.
Team Owner Alan Smith said: "We showed last year what we were capable of with five podium finishes in the ultra-competitive British Supersport Championship and had it not been for serious injuries to all three riders at some point, we could have finished a lot higher up the standings. This year we are serious about winning the title for both ourselves and Triumph and in signing Glen, Billy and Luke, I believe we have the strongest line up out there. Johnny has the capability to challenge for the Superstock 600 crown too and with the Triumph 675 Daytona at our disposal, we are very confident going into the 2012 season."
The season starts at Brands Hatch over Easter and continues over twelve rounds, including a visit to the Assen circuit in the Netherlands for the first time.
Picture attached: Richard Bond of Mudie-Bond Mercedes Benz, suppliers of vehicles to the Smiths (Gloucester) Racing Team, with Alan Smith (picture courtesy of Big On Results)
Italian Highs And Lows
Meanwhile, riders Luke Mossey and Billy McConnell were in fine form when they finished first and second in the Open 600 class at the recent Trofeo Di Natale meeting at the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi.
McConnell led for much of the race before Mossey got past on the last lap at the track near Rome in Italy to hold on and win by a wheel but their joy was short lived as afterwards, a visit to a local restaurant saw them return to find their team van missing and with it, a substantial amount of spares and riding kit belonging to Mossey. Luckily, their Triumph Daytona 675 machines were in a different location but it is a set back to the team prior to the 2012 season.
Team Owner Alan Smith said: "My daughter and I had flown home after witnessing a great race between Luke and Billy when I got a call to say the van had been stolen. Fortunately, we had a tracker fitted so we could direct the lads to where it was and although they found the van, most of the spares and riding kit had gone. Most of it is specific for our bikes and the dashboards, looms and MoTeC ignition is of no use as it can't be used without codes; it's more the inconvenience factor of getting the parts replaced."
If anyone has any information regarding the theft, please contact Alan Smith on 01453 822227.