The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship will rocket into Thruxton this weekend (4-6 August) for the latest round of Britain’s fastest motor sport series.
Some of the quickest gladiators in the country will do battle at speeds close to 200mph around the Andover circuit in the quest for glory. The Hampshire visit marks the start of the second half of the season, and a packed grid full of the country’s best riders and teams will all hope their need for speed springboards them into the end-of-season ‘Showdown’.
Leading the local charge in the two-wheeled heavyweight contest is the JG Speedfit Kawasaki outfit. Based in Bournemouth, the team is primed for battle, with Luke Mossey and Leon Haslam the rapid riders tasked with handling the powerful superbikes. Mossey has been the revelation of 2017, as the young gun has chalked up several impressive results including a brace of victories at Brands Hatch to sit second in the championship standings behind leader Shane Byrne. Nicknamed ‘Skywalker’, Luke will hope to use the force to knock Byrne off the top spot and spray the champagne this weekend.
“Last season at Thruxton I picked up a podium finish and did the same in 2015, so it’s a track that has always been good to me, even going back to my Supersport days,” Mossey said. “I feel good in myself and have no doubt that with the bike performing well, we can be right up there again. I feel confident I can break ‘Shakey’. He’s been riding well and full of confidence and they’ve clearly got the Ducati working well, but I intend to go out and challenge.”
Mossey’s JG Speedfit Kawasaki teammate Leon Haslam led the championship after the opening round – doing the double at Donington Park. The former World Superbike Championship star is nestled just behind his team-mate in third in the points table, and he is similarly bidding to return to winning ways and put the south coast squad on top of the podium once again.
“When I was in the BSB previously on a Ducati, I was always in the top two,” explained Haslam. “Last year at Thruxton was disappointing for us as it was one of the worst results we have had there, due to issues with tyre life. However, we have learnt a lot this year and we hope to have a good fight and get on the podium once again.”
Upholding local rider honours is Tommy Bridewell from Etchilhampton in Wiltshire. Bridewell showed scorching pace last year as he put himself on the front row of the grid at his home round before taking a fine fourth place in race one. The WD-40 Kawasaki rider will hope to steal the show in 2017 and stand on the rostrum in front of his home fans.
Former works Suzuki and Kawaskai MotoGP rider John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins may hail from California, but the American currently resides in Portsmouth and leads the charge for Hampshire-based Moto Rapido Ducati. Hopkins is enduring a disappointing season by his high standards and will be gunning for a big points haul this weekend to turn things around and put himself into the top ten in the standings.
“I’m really excited about Thruxton,” enthused ‘Hopper’. “It is definitely my home-away-from-home race and also the home race for the Moto Rapido Ducati team. It is a circuit I really enjoy and always one that I have gone really well at, and I think the Ducati should be quick there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to race at Thruxton last year but we had two really good races in 2015, so I am quite confident that we can get a couple of solid results. That’s the plan!”
Whilst the MCE BSB championship is the headline act, an impressive supporting cast will add to the bumper schedule including Dickies British Supersport, Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 in association with Black Horse, HEL Performance British Motostar, Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup and the ever-enthralling Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecars in association with Molson. All the fast-and-furious grids will entertain the large crowd that will descend upon the Thruxton spectator banks.
Fans will be able to rub shoulders with the stars as there will be a Pit Walk at 09:30 on Sunday morning, offering race-goers the chance to collect those all-important autographs and snap a selfie with their favourite riders. In addition, visitors will never miss a moment of the high-octane entertainment as the big screens at Allard, the Complex and the Chicane will enable spectators to keep tabs on all the action around the entire circuit.
Advanced tickets have now gone off sale but tickets will be available on the gate, priced at just £5 for Friday, 4 August, £16 for Saturday, 5 August and £33 for Sunday, 6 August – or £44 for all three days. Grandstand seats and race day paddock passes are extra. Accompanied children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge.