Another round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship means another opportunity to wheel out @PaddockChatter for a preview of Round 7 at Thruxton! This circuit holds plenty of happy memories for us, with Josh Elliott bringing us our first victory as a racing outfit in the Superstock 1000 class last year – so, who are the ones to watch this weekend? Over to you Mr Neal…
Scusate Il retardo, as a funny-looking Italian motorcycling maestro once said, my submission is late for this week’s #getyournealdown (shift work and real-life issues getting in the way!), a slightly skewed preview of Round 7 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship and this time the boys are feeling the need, the need for speed…..ow!!!
Down in Hampshire, just on the A313 and within a druids throw of Stonehenge lies the fastest track on the BSB Calendar, Thruxton. Still an occasional airfield, the circuit has a loose resemblance to the old Silverstone layout (before they added that nadgery infield section anyway) and oh, boy what a thrill ride it is. From almost 200mph up Woodham Hill to the two tight complexes at Cobb/Campbell to the last-gasp, anchors fully-engaged, eyes on stalks (that’s enough, they get the point) out-braking opportunity at Club. Even the start-finish straight isn’t straight. In fact, there’s barely a straight piece of tarmac around the whole 113mph average speed lap!
Village and Church are the fastest corners you’ll find on any British circuit and watching the boys light up the rear as it skips and dances across the tarmac with the grace of Gorka Marquez (no relation to the grinning Repsol Honda pilot) is an absolute joy to behold – it might not be the fastest way to get around but it’s surely the most spectacular! O’Halloran, Buchan and OMG Racing’s own Billy McConnell among others are masters of the spinning rear, so keep an eye on those boys.
As you’d expect tyre life is usually the main concern as the surface is somewhat aggressive towards the black hoops with 7 rights and 4 lefts (two of which are slow and two are little more than a firm push on the left bar (yes, push – don’t get me started on counter-steering, it still makes my head hurt, it’s all physics and witchcraft). There’s almost always a tyre sub-plot too as teams search for the best tyre/chassis set-up combination to counter the unique track characteristics, however with new rules and procedures for 2019, certain settings will be under close scrutiny!
Scott Redding rocks up to yet another circuit he’s barely seen and will look to make his mark early, as with Snetterton it’s a track that will suit his style and his years of tyre preservation in MotoGP should give him more than half an idea of how to look after that Pirelli rear boot. His teammate at PBM Be Wiser Ducati – Josh Brookes is a Thruxton specialist with winning six of the last eight races there and will be wanting to get one over on his popular teammate while podium man last year, Peter Hickman is Mr Consistency as the only point-scorer in every race of 2019. OMG Racing’s own Luke Mossey took his debut podium there in 2015 and will be looking to repeat that feat again this weekend. Shakey Byrne still holds the lap record as he did at Snetterton but will it still be in place by 5pm Sunday?
It’ll be fast, it’ll be frantic and it’ll be fun!