2019 British Superbike Championship
Round Five – Knockhill
Tommy Bridewell tops the Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings ahead of Knockhill this weekend (June 28/29/30) and his Oxford Racing Ducati team is aiming for its first victory in the series at the Scottish circuit.
There have been four different race winners so far this season, with a further four riders claiming podium finishes from the opening four rounds. However as Bridewell targets his first 2019 victory, Brands Hatch double race winner Josh Brookes will have all eyes on him as he arrives in Scotland with a fighting chance of scooping the incredible £75,000 Integro Triple Crown prize.
The new incentive offers a rider the chance to bag £50,000 for winning all six races at the Brands Hatch, Knockhill and Snetterton rounds, plus a £25,000 three-circuit win bonus. Brookes completed the double in Kent, which means he is the only rider who can still net the top prize. And if he manages to secure five of the six race victories, he can still scoop a £40,000 prize and the £25,000 three circuit bonus.
If the Be Wiser Ducati rider scores the double win at Knockhill this weekend then he is guaranteed to take home at least £30,000 for claiming four of the six victories. However if another rider stakes his claim to the Integro Triple Crown and takes a double win at Knockhill, then it will mean a head-to-head battle at the final round of the competition at Snetterton between Brookes and the Knockhill double race winner to try to secure a £30,000 prize for winning any four of the six races.
Bridewell has netted three second places on his ascendency to the top of the table and is determined to overhaul his rivals this weekend, but the circuit has previously been a happy hunting ground for the Kawasaki teams with Team Green winning 11 of the last 13 races in Scotland.
Tommy Bridewell – Oxford Racing Ducati
“I didn’t expect to be leading the championship going to Knockhill, but it has been so positive so far this season and we have been up there fighting for podiums and wins. I thought the new bike would be strong but we are where we are because we have been consistent and that makes the difference. If I am honest, I feel a bit unsure about Knockhill and how the Ducati will be there; ultimately every circuit we have been to so far have had different characteristics, but we haven’t ridden the bike on such a short, intense circuit yet. Every round so far we have gone to feeling confident of fighting for wins but we will have to see what the Ducati goes like there. From the past, Kawasaki have been really strong there and our bikes are very different so I think qualifying will play a massive part because it is that kind of circuit. We have been so close but never quite close enough to the win so far! It’s always about winning; at Brands Hatch I was giving it everything. It certainly isn’t through the lack of trying that we haven’t won one yet this year! It’s the podium points that matter and so I have to be finishing in the top three every race. Anything outside of that is almost irrelevant because they will be what is important in the Showdown. So if I am say in fourth on the final lap you can bet that I will be going for third that’s for sure!”
No rider on the current Bennetts BSB grid has previously won a Superbike race at Knockhill, but FS-3 Racing Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan will be confident of success in Scotland after scoring a double podium finish in 2018; sharing the top three steps with eventual champion Leon Haslam and runner-up Jake Dixon.
The weekend marks another new circuit for Donington Park triple race winner Scott Redding; the Be Wiser Ducati rider had a taste of the track at a recent test and he will be looking to add to his tally of podium points.
Home-grown favourite Tarran Mackenzie is set to return to action at Knockhill with McAMS Yamaha after he was side-lined at Brands Hatch. The 23-year-old still holds fourth place in the overall standings and has fond memories of the circuit where he began his racing career.
Buchan holds fifth in the standings, with Honda Racing’s Xavi Forés locking out the final place in the top six ahead of this weekend as he prepares for his first races at the circuit. The Spanish contender looking forward to the Knockhill event after a test earlier in the season.
Christian Iddon leads the BMW charge for the Tyco team in seventh as he bids to claw his way into the top six for the first time this season.
After recording a fifth and seventh place in the two races at Brands Hatch last time out Hickman is now sitting in eighth position in the rider standings, just two positions away from the top six who go through to the end of season showdown to challenge for the title.
Now settled back into short circuit racing after his excursion to the Isle of Man TT races where he recorded three wins, a second and a third place, the fastest road racer in the world is hoping for two strong results from the Knockhill round on the Smiths Racing BMW to move him nearer to the elusive top six.
Andrew Irwin on the second of the Honda Racing Fireblades is in ninth place on the series leaderboard with a two-point edge over Jason O’Halloran. The Australian rider based at Market Rasen was testing at the Scottish track a couple of weeks ago so should have found the ideal settings for the McAMS Yamaha to challenge for race wins this weekend and move himself closer to the top six who go through to the end of season showdown to challenge for the title.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Points
|1||Tommy BRIDEWELL (Ducati)||145|
|2||Scott REDDING (Ducati)||131|
|3||Josh BROOKES (Ducati)||124|
|4||Tarran MACKENZIE (Yamaha)||108|
|5||Danny BUCHAN (Kawasaki)||94|
|6||Xavi FORÉS (Honda)||75|
|7||Christian IDDON (BMW)||63|
|8||Peter HICKMAN (BMW)||61|
|9||Andrew IRWIN (Honda)||59|
|10||Jason O’HALLORAN (Yamaha)||57|
|11||Josh ELLIOTT (Suzuki)||54|
|12||Keith FARMER (BMW)||54|
|13||Dan LINFOOT (Yamaha)||47|
|14||Luke MOSSEY (Suzuki)||41|
|15||Luke STAPLEFORD (Suzuki)||34|
|16||Glenn IRWIN (Kawasaki)||26|
|17||Bradley RAY (Suzuki)||22|
|18||Héctor BARBERÁ (Kawasaki)||18|
|19||Ryan VICKERS (Kawasaki)||18|
|20||Claudio CORTI (Kawasaki)||13|
|21||James ELLISON (BMW)||8|
|22||Dean HARRISON (Kawasaki)||4|
|23||Ben CURRIE (Kawasaki)||3|
|24||David ALLINGHAM (Yamaha)||1|
Images by Dave Yeomans