UK’s fastest circuit hosts biggest bike racing championship in the countryTitle race hotting up as it enters crucial mid-season phaseHuge supporting cast set to impress Hampshire crowds
The 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship blasts into Thruxton Race Circuit next weekend (1-3 August) for round six of its exhilarating season.
The UK’s fastest and most exciting two-wheeled racing series, BSB invariably draws a massive crowd of eager thrill-seekers to line the flat-out curves of Thruxton near Andover. One of the most renowned domestic championships in the world, it attracts riders from not just the UK, but also Australia, Japan, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland and Brazil.
With record numbers already coming through the circuit’s gates earlier this year for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, BSB is sure to raise the bar yet further as bikers flock from far-and-wide to see their favourite racing stars in action at speeds exceeding an eye-watering 150mph.
Shane Byrne – the most successful BSB racer of all time – has been the class of the field so far this year, and having won at Thruxton in 2013 will surely be the man to beat aboard his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki. The momentum is, however, with fellow championship legend Ryuichi Kiyonari – the Japanese ace has won two out of the last three races to jump up to fourth in the points standings for Buildbase BMW. Both riders have taken an incredible three BSB titles, and the ‘War for Four’ is sure to rage on in the two races at Thruxton.
Behind the two in-form ex-champions, there are a whole host of biking talents with their sights firmly set on the top step of the podium. Milwaukee Yamaha duo Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell – the latter a local rider to Thruxton – are both in the mix, as are Lloyds British GB Moto Racing pairing Chris Walker and James Ellison, though Ellison is unlikely to be on-track next weekend due to an injury sustained last time out.
Thruxton’s constant curves provide a unique test for BSB riders, as the circuit is never quite straight – making every moment of every lap a challenge to eke out all of the performance from the tyre and track surface. Czech former World Superbike star Jakub Smrz – who rides the only evocative red Ducati in BSB – made his debut there in 2013 and was immediately enamoured with the commitment the circuit commands. He said: “I am really looking forward to Thruxton – I raced there for the first time last year and I liked it a lot. It is fast, and I enjoy being on the limit!”
In addition to the main Superbike class, there will be a huge supporting cast to keep the crowds entertained throughout the weekend. National Superstock 1000 is a series for highly-tuned racing versions of 1000cc road rockets and boasts capacity grids of over 40 bikes that never fail to thrill race-goers. Danny Buchan, who has raced in BSB previously, leads the standings but was pushed all the way for his last victory at Brands Hatch.
Not quite as fast but equally as furious is the hotly-contested Supersport class. These lightweight racers produce what is probably the closest and most dramatic on-track action of all, and races are often won by hundredths, if not thousandths of a second! Billy McConnell, Alastair Seeley and Graeme Gowland are locked in combat at the top of the standings and are likely to lead the way as the bikes venture out onto the 2.36 miles of Thruxton.
With action also coming from the young guns in British Motostar, the level playing-field of the Triumph Triple Challenge and the quite astonishing British Sidecar Championship, the British Superbike weekend is jam-packed full of excitement from Friday morning through to Sunday night.
The public will have plenty to do in-between races, too, with a shopping village, trackside restaurant and supercars on display. A pit-lane autograph session on Sunday morning allows fans to meet-and-greet their racing heroes, and giant TV screens at the Chicane and Complex will make sure the tens of thousands of spectators don’t miss a second. Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP ace Bradley Smith is also due to be at the circuit on race day, signing autographs at 12.00 and 14.30.
Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs said: “The British Superbike Championship captivates fans like no other series and is a highlight on the Thruxton calendar year in, year out. Thruxton is a special place to watch these incredible machines competing at flat-chat – the speeds they achieve and the closeness of the racing really are extraordinary, so it’s no surprise that the crowds are always full of avid BSB lovers.
“We’re constantly working to make Thruxton the most exciting venue on the schedule, and with the giant TV screens, huge trade areas and sweeping spectator banks, there’s no better way to spend a weekend! If you’ve never been to a BSB meeting before, you need to get along to Thruxton – we’re sure you’ll be hooked!”
Advance tickets start at just £7 for Friday entry, with Sunday tickets only £26 pre-event. All advance race day or weekend ticket-holders will be entered into a prize draw to win a pillion ride on race day.