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January 9, 2005 at 12:28 am #9332GixParticipant
John Reynolds faces a tough challenge in his efforts to retain the ‘number one’ plates in the 2005 British Superbike Championship – the three times winner of the country’s premier crown spearheads the Rizla Suzuki challenge for a fourth season in a series that has again attracted factory backed entries from five of the world’s leading manufacturers.
Reynolds, a model of consistency and professionalism, is ready for the challenges ahead in the 26 race, thirteen round championship which begins on Easter Monday, 28 March, at Brands Hatch, with Michael Rutter, aboard the HM Plant Honda Fireblade determined to avenge his defeat in last term’s closely fought encounter.
Rutter, who gave the all-new Fireblade victory on its racing debut, narrowly missed out on the crown, and buoyant after taking a record fifth victory in the recent Macau Grand Prix, he has to be in the frame to enjoy maiden title glory, though he could be hard pressed by the in-team rivalry of rising Japanese star Ruichi Kiyonari.
Reynolds also faces a similar threat as he is joined in the Suzuki team by Scott Smart who last season enjoyed the winner’s champagne on three occasions. But, far from being a Honda against Suzuki ‘shoot-out’ for supremacy, the championship has other real contenders.
Sean Emmett, revitalised and brimming with confidence after a productive test session in Spain, heads up the Virgin Mobile Yamaha team – he has come close to the title several times and now reckons that 2005 will be his year. Adding to the Yamaha drive to return to their title dominance of the late 1990s are youthful, but rapid, riders Tommy Hill and Richard Wren.
Still on the cards is the possible return of the 2003 champion Shane Byrne to Paul Bird’s team, which switched to run Hondas in MonsterMob Stobart colours. They have already signed up Gary Mason and Michael Laverty and are keen to land a big name rider for their third bike. Apart from Byrne, MotoGP stalwart Jeremy McWilliams and Herefordshire World 250cc rider Chaz Davies are being linked to the team.
Also riding Honda Fireblades will be Karl Harris, three times in four years the British Supersport Champion, along with John Laverty, Jonathan Rea and Kieran Clarke.
The returning force of the GSE Racing team, who powered both Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson to the domestic crown, adds to the keen front-running action. James Haydon and Leon Haslam ride their latest specification Ducatis while the Kawasaki threat centres on the Hawk team’s two Australian riders Glenn Richards and Dean Thomas and the two Dienza riders Steve Plater and Jon Kirkham. A fifth ZX-10 will be in the hands of MSS team rider Julien Da Costa, while Vivaldi Racing graduate into the top flight with similar bikes for Ben Wilson and Tristan Palmer.
Adding further depth to the action will be Yamahas in the hands of Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness aboard the AIM Racing bike while Dennis Hobbs rides in Nvidia colours and Dean Ellison races for Jentin. Nick Medd campaigns a Kawasaki.
Ensuring closely fought action through the pack, the entry for the ‘race within a race’ for the British Superbike Cup is equally strong, with keen dicing between James Buckingham, Steve Brogan, Danny Beaumont, Howie Mainwaring, Chris Martin, Malcolm Ashley and Gareth Glynn.
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January 9, 2005 at 8:36 pm #21520Wild01Participant
Went to my first BSB round last year at Oultan Park and had a great time, those boys really do go quick!!![:0] Especially looking forward to this year seeing as two of my felow aussies will be competing! Missed the final round at Cadwell as it landed on the Monday and I don’t get public holidays off!!!Definately going to Cady this year, I love that track!(and it’s my local)!!
Wilba Wild 01
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