The undulating arena of the full Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent is the challenge for JG Speedfit Kawasaki this weekend (21st to 23rd July) as the team looks to get back to winning ways.
Current championship leader Luke Mossey has historically performed well at the legendary circuit having claimed his maiden Superpole in 2016 and his first ever win, which was a double race victory, in April this year.
He will be hoping for a brilliant Brands once again especially after the issues he suffered during round five at Snetterton. Mossey suffered a heavy crash in warm-up and was forced to retire early in race one with brake problems. Despite the brake issues continuing, he managed to salvage six points for tenth in race two which ensured he left with his championship lead intact.
Meanwhile Leon Haslam, who is currently third in the championship standings, is steadily returning to full fitness following his dramatic crash during free practice at Knockhill in June.
He was declared fit to race at Snetterton two weeks later but his injuries continued to cause him difficulties. When it came to Saturday afternoon’s single lap Superpole, however, Haslam came out on top and narrowly missed out on the rostrum in the opening race by 0.187s. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well in the second outing as he struggled for grip, crossing the line in eighth.
In 2016, Haslam secured a victory and a third place at Brands Hatch followed by two third-places in April this year and will be hoping to secure two more podium finishes this weekend to add to his impressive tally.
In the British F1 Sidecar Championship reigning champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood will also be heading to Brands Hatch for round six.
Repeated grip issues with the outfit have so far hampered their bid to secure a third title but the pair are still confident that they have identified the problem and can challenge the current front runners, Tim and Tristan Reeves.
Their teammates Maria Costello and Kirsty Hauxwell are similarly looking forward to Brands fresh from their success at the Aintree Motorcycle Racing Club meeting at the weekend which saw them finish fourth in their class in the last sidecar race.
Haslam said: “I’ve been out in Japan since Snetterton, which was obviously a tough weekend, so it’s been a bit non-stop but thankfully my injury from Knockhill is a little bit better and we’re looking forward to getting back to winning ways.
“Brands is a Showdown race and I’ve enjoyed some success at the circuit in the past with the Kawasaki so we’re feeling confident we can gain some all-important podium credits.
“We’ve got a test this week so it’s go, go, go, but it’s all good preparation for weekend. This is the part of the season where we need to rack up points and it’s important to do well to get a good set-up for the last few rounds.”
Mossey said: “It’s a great track and round six is always a really popular race with the fans. Last time we were at Brands Hatch I got my first win, which was a double, so I just can’t wait to get back there.
“It would be amazing to pick up another double podium this weekend, but the main aim is to keep picking up podium points for both races. If we can get a win in the process, then even better.
“My bike is back to what I know now, so that’s great news. I’m testing on Tuesday before heading to Brands Hatch, so I just can’t wait to get back on it. I think it will be the same guys as usual fighting it out at the top, such as Leon and Shakey, and I’m relishing that battle. I will have to dig deep and see what happens.”
Stevens said: “We have been working around the clock to investigate what the problem is and have fine-tuned the settings of the engine in the hope that we have solved our grip issue.
“We’ve been making really good lap times throughout the season but, without grip on the back wheel, we have been slowed down in the corners. Luckily Brands Hatch is a bigger circuit so it should be less of an issue there.
“We have worked really hard on our fitness so it’s frustrating to be slowed down by technical issues but we’re hopeful this could be a turning point for us.”
Costello said: “Kirsty and I had a brilliant weekend at Aintree and gained some valuable wet and dry racing experience as a result. The track is fast and bumpy which I really liked as it reminded me of road racing.
“Coming fourth in our class at the weekend has given us a confidence boost and we’re looking forward to the challenge of racing at the world-famous Brands Hatch at the weekend. Neither of us have raced here before so it will be another first, which we’re really excited about. Hopefully we can do ourselves and the team proud.”
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