2011 British SBK News
The 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship season kicked off less than a week ago in sensational style less than a week ago at Brands Hatch, and this May Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday, April 30- Monday, May 2) the title fight reaches Cheshire as Oulton Park prepares for a clash of the BSB titans led by Swan Yamaha title leader Tommy Hill.
Hill suffered heartbreak at the circuit last October when his 2010 title hopes ended in the gravel, but with a narrow four point advantage following last Monday's dramatic opening round in Kent he is ready to banish his demons and celebrate victory again.
Impressively Hill scored a second and first place finish last weekend at Brands Hatch despite riding with a fractured elbow sustained just a week before during testing.
Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha YZF-R1) says: "Before the opening round I was concerned about my elbow and I had a lot of treatment throughout the week to be ready to race which paid off.
"It is fantastic to be leading the championship but it is only round one and it is early days still. We are looking forward to Oulton Park and getting the bike to work around what is a completely different track. Hopefully we can come away with a very similar result."
Hill will face tough opposition from riders including reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, who took a hat trick of victories to lift a third BSB title the last time the championship raced at Oulton Park. The HM Plant Honda rider is determined to equal that success this Bank Holiday weekend.
Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR) says: "I won three times at Oulton Park last time we raced there but I know winning is going to be hard. Everybody has shown already that they are faster and so I know I need to find more from me, I have a mixture of memories from Oulton Park and some are very good, some not so much. I need wins and podiums for the championship so I will do everything I can."
Shane "Shakey" Byrne marked his return to BSB from the World Superbike Championship with a victory at Brands Hatch and the former double champion is feeling confident that he can stamp his authority again this weekend at a track that he has been victorious on in the past.
Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR) says: "I can't wait for Oulton Park; if anything I could have left Brands Hatch Monday evening after the race and gone straight there!
"We have a good base setting on the HM Plant Honda and the team also have knowledge from previous rounds so we expect to be in a position to fight for wins and podiums at Oulton Park like we did at Brands Hatch. The whole of the team did a great job at the last round and we want more of the same on Monday."
There are several riders also aiming to make amends after a difficult weekend at Brands Hatch including Relentless Suzuki's Josh Brookes and Samsung Crescent Racing's John Hopkins, the former MotoGP rider. Both failed to score podiums despite high hopes for the opening round.
The Oulton Park round will also mark the debut of Jenny Tinmouth in the championship as BSB's first female racer prepares make history at her home circuit with the Splitlath Aprilia team.
Jinny Tinmouth (Splitlath Aprilia RSV4) says: "I have been feeling the nerves starting to kick in, but once I have that first race under my belt I know I will just want to get back out there!
"I always get nerves before the race, so it won't be any different to previous seasons; Superbike is the next step up from Supersport so I know that this is natural progression for me. Oulton Park though is sure to be a big round for me, as I know there will be people from home that will come and watch as it is just down the road. It is one of my favourite tracks and it has every type of corner in an amazing park setting."
The event gets underway on Saturday with practice ahead of qualifying on Sunday and Monday's all important race day. The two BSB races take place on Bank Holiday Monday with a further nine support class races including the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship. Fans can also meet their heroes during a free of charge pitwalk on both Sunday and Monday.