Following on from a successful visit to Oulton Park two months ago which saw Shane Byrne victorious and his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team mate Stuart Easton score a podium, the pair return to the Cheshire track hoping for a repeat at round six of the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.
Once more there are three races at Oulton Park and Byrne, from the Isle of Sheppey, arrives just six points behind current championship leader Tommy Hill following a victory and second place last time out at Knockhill to place himself firmly in the all-important top six.
Easton, meanwhile, missed his local round up in Scotland whilst recovering from surgery to remove a pin from his hip and although he still has 33 staples in his leg, he is facing a race against time to be fit, but not from the operation. The Hawick rider crashed in a non-championship round at Silverstone just under three weeks ago and injured his knee so he’s hoping to be able to return to action once again.
Both riders have good form at Oulton Park with Easton taking victories in 2009 and 2010, as well as being on the podium twice last year prior to his season-ending crash at the North West 200. Byrne, meanwhile, took double wins in his championship winning years and along with Easton, rates it as one of his favourite tracks.
The team’s Metzeler Superstock 1000 rider, Keith Farmer, retook the lead in the championship following a start to finish victory at Knockhill on the Kawasaki ZX-10R so the Clogher, County Tyrone rider is hoping to expel the memories of his high speed crash in qualifying at Oulton Park back in May which saw him ruled out of the race.
In addition to the team’s BSB activities, the PBM UK team will be in MotoGP World Championship action at Sachsenring in Germany where Cumbrian James Ellison is hoping to continue his run of World Championship points scoring rides. Ellison, from Kendal in Cumbria, rode through the pain barrier on the CRT-specification Aprilia ART last weekend at Assen and is hoping to be a lot fitter this weekend.
Shane Byrne: “After a real fun weekend with the team at Goodwood where I got the opportunity of a lifetime to ride my hero Kevin Schwantz’s bike, it’s back to the serious business at Oulton Park. The team has been working hard and so have I as we know everyone always goes faster on the second visit of the year. I’m feeling on top of my game and hopefully, we can pull off three good results as it’s important to rack the podium credits up from now on.”
Stuart Easton: “It’s been a tough couple of weeks and I’m doing all I can to try and get fit for this weekend as I can’t afford to miss out on points for another meeting. It’s very frustrating because the operation went fine and my leg is OK, it’s the knee I twisted in my crash at Silverstone which I’m having trouble with. I’m having physiotherapy three times a day and hopefully I’ll be able to ride on Friday as I really enjoy Oulton Park and got a good result there earlier in the year.”
Keith Farmer: “After my big crash last time, I need to put things right and although I didn’t get to race and most others did, we are confident we have a good set up whether it’s wet or dry. We had a good result at Knockhill and the team is working well so we shouldn’t be far away this weekend.”
Paul Bird, Team Owner: “Oulton Park was good for us last time with a win for Shakey and Stuart on the podium too so we’ll need to go some to repeat that. Shakey is riding well at present but it’s going to be a battle for Stuart as he really needs to score some good points to keep his hopes of a Showdown place viable. Keith knows he has to keep bringing the bike home and proved he was more than capable of that with a great victory at Knockhill.”
Championship Standings (after ten races)
1 T Hill (Yamaha) 159 points
2 S Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 153
3 J Brookes (Suzuki) 150
4 M Laverty (Honda) 122
5 I Lowry (Honda) 79
6 T Bridewell (BMW) 77
7 A Seeley (Suzuki) 67
8 S Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 66
9 N Haga (Yamaha) 65
10 C Walker (Kawasaki) 64