Finally arrived- Shane Richardson final test sessions before British SBK Championship Round 1 at Donington Park

Finally arrived- Shane Richardson final test sessions before British SBK Championship Round 1 at Donington Park

The wait is over! And man, are 2 Kiwi racers Shane Richardson and Damon Rees ready to compete in 2020 Bennetts British SBK Championship which opens with Round One at Donington Park on August 7-9th.

Shane Richardson and Damon Rees test sessions with Astro JJR Racing Photo Credit: Team

With final testing sessions completed yesterday at same venue, Shane and Damon have expectations confirmed that both riders racing under Astro JJR Racing Team have the pace to compete against their European rivals in BSB Superstock 1000 6 Round Series.

Coming in at P13 in Session 1 and P16 for Session 2, Shane was all set to test main points of focus after long period off bike due to COVID-19 lockdown in UK.

Shane: ‘There’s a few things I’m looking for at the final test (first official test with all our competitors). It will be interesting to see where we stack up against everyone else by the end of the day. This will show if our pace is at least within the ballpark to compete at the front from the start, if not will show how much speed there is to find’.

‘I would also like to be comfortable with the bike set up as our first round is where we are testing so that will give us a good platform to begin with at Round 1. Then just small things like a couple of practice starts on the new bike as well as continuing to get back up to speed after so long off the bike prior to these last couple of track-days’.

An unfortunate incident cut short Shane’s testing time- disappointing but at the same time encouraging that pace had been confirmed before Round 1 in little over week’s time.

Shane: ‘On the run up to McLean’s in the second session I hit a false neutral tipping into a fast left hand bend which leant to running off the track at speed and had to lay it down before getting to a tyre wall. I’m super disappointed to lose the opportunity to continue progressing throughout the day but what’s done is done so it’s time to switch our focus to the first round’.

Shane Richardson Astro JJR Racing BMW S1000rr Photo Credit: Shane

With previous testing of bike over past number of weeks, Shane remains pleased with Astro JJR Racing BMW S1000rr performance.

Shane: ‘So far I’ve been very impressed with how good the bike is from the word go. We have made very little changes so far as the bike is doing all I want from it. We are definitely still learning the bike and what it likes/doesn’t like but so far I am very happy with it. I definitely believe we have bikes capable of winning a championship so it’s up to Damon and myself to make the most of it’.

Flying the Kiwi flag in Britain’s most prestigious SBK Championship for only second year in a row, Shane and Damon (debut season) are sure making New Zealand proud. For, it was way back in 1998 that NZ’s last, most successful WSBK rider, Simon Crafar achieved victory winning the British Grand Prix at Donington Park. Quite an honor then, some 22 years later, we have 2 outstanding riders racing same venue under one Team.

Anticipation, excitement even as Shane puts final preparations in place, heading into Round 1, then 2 week intervals of racing with final Round at Brands Hatch on October 16-18th.

Shane: ‘I’m really looking forward to getting amongst the paddock again and seeing everyone. The whole race weekend at the track is always something to look forward to with everything it entails. Every weekend is an opportunity to improve on the last so you’re always turning up with fresh ideas, new goals and a burning desire for success’.

‘It will also be nice to finally give all the followers something to keep up with and to give back to the sponsors who have stuck by us during these trying times. All the support is greatly appreciated and certainly a motivator to get out there and do our best!’

Words: Sharon Cox.

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