This year More Bikes has been given exclusive access to the JG Speedfit Kawasaki British Superbike team as they embark on their challenge to be crowned 2015 MCE British Superbike Champions with their riders James Ellison and James Westmoreland.
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In our first instalment, we sat down for a chat with Team Principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen just after his GBmoto squad had secured their debut win in the series at the opening round held at Donington Park. MS-H said: “This win has certainly felt like a long time coming, but I was certain that 2015 would see GBmoto secure our debut BSB race win. To do it at the first round of the year though, in our first race with JG Speedfit as title sponsors, was pretty special! We were knocking on the door of it last year and I believe if James hadn’t have had his accident at Brands then perhaps we could have secured it earlier – either way, we’ve shown that we can achieve podiums, win races and make the Showdown so now our next target is to win the title.
“I really want to thank everyone who is involved in the team, from the outside it might not look like much has changed since 2014 – but everyone from management, technical staff, through to our hospitality team – have worked tirelessly over the winter months to take the team another step forward, so it’s fantastic that all their hard work has paid off already.
“Following the final race last year and over the winter, our ZX-10R Superbikes underwent a massive overhaul as we reviewed everything we had learnt from our first season as the official Kawasaki BSB team. If you were watching the final race last year, you could see our bike just lacked a bit of pace compared to the PBM machine, so we made the decision to swap our engine tuner for the BSB bikes, which as we saw at Donington meant we could keep on the tail of the Shakey down the straight.
“We also welcomed the input from an engineering company in France, who have carefully modified our chassis on our ZX10R’s. Alongside that, we further refined our package by upgrading our Öhlins suspension, improving our electronics package, losing some weight from the bike and refining the bodywork. It’s been great to have JG Speedfit come on board as title sponsors for the team – hopefully we were able to repay a bit of their support this weekend!
“Unfortunately, we did have a few technical gremlins on each side of the garage over the weekend and I’m really gutted for Westy as he had to retire from both races. We use any problems or failures as opportunities to learn and improve though and I know the boys are back at the workshop to fix these problems and move forward. We will be 110% behind Westy and James for round two and we’ll be coming out at Brands Hatch next week ready to go for wins number two and three. Shakey is a great Champion and the man who regularly scores most points. We have got to ‘put it up him’ and take them away if we are going to win the title. Hopefully you can watch us do that!”