OH STOP GROANING, YOU LOVE HIM REALLY! OUR OWN #GETYOURNEALDOWN RETURNS FOR 2021 TO AIR HIS VIEWS ON BSB AND THE RACING WORLD AT LARGE (WHETHER YOU LIKE IT NOT, HE SAYS...)
I can't believe it's finally here, the opening round of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship is finally upon us! My God, it seems like an age since we were at Brands Hatch last October (it was an age, I know) but finally we can get some proper racing underway. I don't know about you, but I've really missed British racing – the whole situation at the minute isn't ideal for the organisers to have more fans in but at least it'll be back on our TV with Matt (swoon!), Shakey, Whit, and the team where we can all enjoy and share the great spectacle that is going to be BSB ’21.
Oulton Park, that ‘undulating rollercoaster of a circuit nestled in the heart of leafy Cheshire’™ that awaits the runners and riders, is a spectacular circuit - the jewel in the BSB calendar! It's the first of two visits to the circuit this season and a tricky place for some riders to open their account. It's a track that the fans adore but is certainly not every rider's favourite. To be fair, it can be nightmare place to set a bike up well but if you can get your bike to work well there, chances are it'll work well anywhere. Apparently.
It's really disappointing that we only have 4000 fans available this weekend when we should undoubtedly have full banks of spectators which only add to the sense of occasion for the riders and for the fans attending, too. There are few better sights in motorcycle racing than a full bank at Oulton Park looking over Knickerbrook and Cascades with Hilltop in the distance or the lines of fans up either side of Clay Hill and those traditionally six-deep at Lodge Corner. Hopefully, it won't be too long before we can welcome everybody back with open arms (or at least polite elbow bumps).
Oulton Park not only hosts the first round of the regular season but also the first round of the Showdown phase in September (in front a full house, PLEASE!) and that will be on a few riders' minds as they plan out their season as best they can. Damage limitation may well be the order of the day for the six races (that’s a whopping 150 points!) in which they may not be at their strongest, so they have to take advantage of the times when they are… Easy-peasy, one British Championship title charge all sorted. You’re welcome, lads! (because it absolutely ALWAYS works like that…ish, kinda, maybe).
Who will be top scorer this weekend? Well, it’s hard to see past the three Ducatis and Jason O’Halloran on previous race form but testing did add a confident Kyle Ryde into the mix before he threw himself at the airfence at Island in the last session (ohhhh, that was a fast one...) along with Peter Hickman, who was almost 0.5s quicker at the test than his Qualifying time last season. Hicky’s certainly looking like half the man he was after getting lean and mean over the off-season! It’s a big season for BMW with nine bikes on the grid, so rest assured it’ll be a battle royale for who comes out on top in that mini league, too.
I can’t wait for it all to get started as it truly has the potential to be the best season ever (©MotoPod)!