By Philip Wain
This weekend sees the MCE British Superbike Championship reach its halfway point with round six of the series taking place at Thruxton and if the previous five rounds are anything to go by, we can expect another unpredictable set of races.
The Hampshire circuit is the fastest on the BSB calendar with the current lap record standing at 113.26mph while it’s also renowned for being hard on tyres with its abrasive surface and riders on the edge of the tyre, particularly the right hand side, for long periods of time.
It encourages slipstreaming and, the way the season has gone so far, we can expect a freight train of five to six riders heading up Woodham Hill and into the final chicane just before the start and finish. Indeed, the last lap on both races could see a major sort out.
Last year saw eventual champion Josh Brookes do the double as Shane Byrne overcame a dismal qualifying performance – 17th – to claim second- and fourth-place finishes. Of this year’s contenders, Dan Linfoot and Luke Mossey impressed, taking a podium apiece, and both will be hoping for more of the same this time around, especially the latter at Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s home round.
However, it’s Leon Haslam who’s currently on fire and in a titanic two-way battle for the championship lead with Byrne and after a bit of a struggle last time out at Snetterton, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider will be looking to reassert his authority on the championship. Byrne has impressed in recent rounds but, again, until he gets to Thruxton, he has no real idea how the all-new Ducati Panigale R will perform.
The chasing pack are currently headed by Jason O’Halloran with the Australian looking to lay last year’s demons to rest as it was here where his title challenge ended after a coming together with Howie Mainwaring Smart in qualifying left him with a broken femur. Both he and Honda Racing teammate Linfoot are in great form at present as they occupy third and fourth in the championship table.
They’re closely followed by the BMWs of Christian Iddon, Richard Cooper and Michael Laverty with Tyco team-mates Iddon and Laverty continuing to experience their ups and downs – podium one race, outside the top 10 the next. The same applies to Haslam’s teammate James Ellison with the Cumbrian failing to score in three of his last five races and desperate to get his season back on track.
Meanwhile, John Hopkins is hoping to return to action on the ePayMe Yamaha after suffering injuries at Knockhill last month.
Race one result:
1.Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2.Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +4.479s
3.James Westmoreland (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +9.802s
4.Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) +14.134s
5.Howie Mainwaring (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +14.347s
6.Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +14.778s
Race two result:
1.Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2.Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) +5.580s
3.Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +5.766s
4.Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) +7.821s
5.Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +8.558s
6.Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +9.020s
Current MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:
1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 156
2. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 152
3. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 116
4. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) 111
5. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 104
6. Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) 96
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