The 2015 British superbike season saw Josh Brookes steamroller his way to the title finishing the Season with 13 wins and 23 podiums, Brookes and his team the Milwaukee power tools backed Shaun Muir racing squad have made the move to the WSBK grid but even without them on the grid in 2016 this BSB season promises to be thrilling.
PBM/Be Wiser Ducati:
The Paul Bird Team is one of the most successful teams in BSB boasting 4 riders titles, Notable riders who have ridden for Bird include Steve Hislop, Tom Sykes and John McGuiness.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne returns to the PBM outfit for a 5th successive year the 4 time Champ is the all time most successful rider in BSB history with 61 wins, Byrne has won 3 of his 4 titles with Paul Bird and will be hoping to add a 5th title this year.
Glen Irwin joins the PBM team for his first season of superbike action, The 25 year old Northern Irish man makes the step up after three seasons of British Supersport racing. Glenn’s career highlights so far have been a 2nd place in the National Superstock 600 championship in 2011 he also finished 4th in 2014 and 2015 in the British supersport championship. Most notably last season Glenn made his debut on the international road race scene impressing everyone by running at the front with experienced road racers at both the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
Tyco BMW by TAS:
TAS racing was founded by Father and son Hector and Philip Neill in 2000 beginning with Suzuki motorcycles till 2014 when they made the switch to become the official BMW team in BSB. TAS are best known for their road racing efforts they have 55 international road race wins to their credit.
Michael Laverty from Toomebridge Northern Ireland joined the team in 2015 after two seasons in Moto GP, Michael have previous raced in the BSB championship finishing as high as 4th on two occasions. Michael took a while to adjust to the BMW last season but finished the year strong winning the last race of the season.
Christian Iddon joins the team after a season with the Halsall Suzuki team finishing 10th in the championship. Christian’s journey to TAS has been an interesting one only 5 years ago he was contending for the world supermoto championship, He made the full time switch to circuit racing in 2011 racing in the BSS championship with the Team Triumph Oxford Tag team finishing in 5th he stayed with the team in 2012 finishing the season in 4th . In 2013 he moved to the World Supersport championship with the ParkinGo MV Augusta team finishing in 13th, In 2014 he competed in the WSBK with the ill fated Bimota Alstare team who due to failing to meet homologation regulations.
The Epayme Yamaha team run by former BSB champion Tommy Hill replaces the Shaun Muir team as the official yamaha squad in the British Championship. Hill’s team starts with a good base to begin with continuing the develop of the R1 from last season championship winning bike.
Stuart Easton is an experienced rider riding with the Paul Bird team last season starting the season strong till unfortunately suffering a broken leg after a big crash at Brands Hatch. Easton is a two time BSS champion winning it in 2002 and 2013, He is a race winner in BSB and finished as high as 3rd in the championship in 2009.
John Hopkins joins after a resurgent year aboard the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati team. Hopkins has a wealth of experience in multiple championships around the world including 7 seasons in Moto GP spending the majority of his time with the Suzuki team. Hopkins has raced in BSB on 2 occasions before rejoining the championship last season, He rode with the Crescent Suzuki team in 2011 losing out on the title at the Final round to now team boss Tommy Hill, He also had an ill fated season the TAS team in 2014 unfortunately Hopkins and the Suzuki never gelled and he finished the year a disappointing 10th place.
JG Speedfit Kawasaki:
The JG Speedfit team have become the official Kawasaki team in Britian taking over from the PBM team, They have progressed from a two rider team in the national superstock championship in 2011 to one of the most sought after rides in 2016.
James Ellison returns for a 3rd season with team having competed for the title in 2014 and 2015 only to have both season derailed by injury. James made his BSB debut in 2004 and has experience in Moto GP and WSBK, he has won the European endurance championship twice and has won the World endurance championship once.
Leon Haslam joins the JG Speedfit team and returns to the BSB championship after 8 seasons in WSBK, Leon has a total of 16 wins and 33 podiums in BSB as well as being runner up twice.
Peter Hickman described as the best all round racer by many last season rejoins the team he left in 2013, Hickman will not only ride in the BSB this season for JG but will also undertake the international road races for them. In what will be only his 3rd season of road racing Hickman has proven to be one of the premier talents he is already the 8th fastest rider around the TT course and took his first two race wins at the Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix, all of this while competing week in week out in the BSB championship finishing the season in 9th place.
Moto Rapido Racing Ducati :
The Moto Rapido team returns in 2016 after starting the year with Jakub Smrz the team finished the year strong after bringing John Hopkins on board to replace Smrz who suffered a bad injury. The team will be running young star Danny Buchan this year and look to build on their strong 2015.
Danny Buchan joins the Moto Rapido squad after a turbulent season in 2015 starting the year with the Be wiser Kawasaki squad he was left without a ride when the team folded during the year, Paul Bird signed him to replace the injured Stuart Easton to finish the season he had a strong finish t the year and earned himself a ride with the Moto Rapido team.
Bennetts Halsall Suzuki:
Halsall Racing have gone from a privateer team in 2013 using Kawasakis for their first two seasons eventually taking over the mantel of official Suzuki team from the TAS team in 2015, The team struggled to compete with the newer BMWs and Kawasakis but finished the 2015 with some strong results Christian Iddon finishing in the Top 10 for the team.
Ryuichi Kiyonari is a three time BSB champion and on his day one of the most dominating riders on the grid, he has competed in WSBK but has always returned to BSB where he has been the most competitive. Kiyonari Rode for the Kagayama Suzuki team at the Suzuka 8 hour race where he, Nori Haga and Yukio Kagyama collected a 3rd place.
Tommy Bridewell returns the Halsall set up after racing for the team in 2013, Up till the 2013 season Bridewell had been riding privateer bikes he then signed for Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha team as a replacement rider and earned himself a full contract for the 2014 season. He finished 2014 in 3rd place behind eventual champion Shane Byrne and runner up Ryuichi Kiyonari, He signed for the Tyco BMW team in 2015 but never got to grips with the bike.
Honda Racing :
The Honda Racing team returned in 2015 as factory supported team after taking a year away to develop the Fireblade, They did a few wildcard outing in 2014 with Julien Da Costa. Honda have always been one of the most competitive teams in the BSB championship they have 5 rider championships to their credit.
Dan Linfoot has made his way from the National Mini Bike Championship in 2001-02 all the way to riding for the Factory Honda team in 2015, In that time he has raced British 125cc, World championship 125/250cc, European Superstock 600 and British Supersports being fast in all these series. His riding style was very much developed by his time in 125cc/250cc where corner speed is all important.
Jenny Tinmouth is the current female lap record holder at the Isle of Man tt, she was the first and is still the only female to race in the BSB championship. Jenny began racing superbikes full time in 2011 and joined the Honda team in 2015.
Jason O’Halloran joined the British Championship ranks in 2010 where he competed in the British Supersport championship finishing 8th he joined the HM Plant Honda squad in 2011 but suffered a season ending injury at round 4, In 2012 he again competed in the BSS championship this time for Samsung Honda finishing 2nd he stayed in the BSS championship with Samsung in 2013 finishing 6th. 2014 saw him move up to the Superstock 100 class where he helped to develop Hondas fireblade for their return to the BSB in 2015.
Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha:
TAG racing made their BSB debut in the 2014 season they moved up from the supersport championship where they ran Triumph machinery. For the 2014 season the team moved to Kawasaki machinery going with a 2 rider line up unfortunately both riders seasons were cut short due to injuries. 2015 saw the team stay in BSB and also stay with Kawasaki the season started strong for the team but ended on a low for the team. The team will move to Yamaha machinery in 2016 keeping Anvil Hire as their main sponsor they will run a 3 rider set up.
James Rispoli steps up to the BSB championship from Supersport and although he is changing teams he is staying with Yamaha machinery. James is a two time AMA supersport champion, he had two competitive seasons with Keith Flint’s Team Traction Control supersport team.
Shaun Whitfield continues with the team after adapting to the bigger bike last season.
Buildbase started the 2015 season coming off their most successful season in 2014. Ryuichi Kiyonari was a big part of that success but unfortunately as sometimes happens with Kiyonari 2015 was below his and the teams standards. Lee Jackson made his BSB debut in the 2015 season and impressed with several top 10 finishes and in some chases out performing Kiyonari. Richard Copper joined the team mid way through the season making the switch from the Anvil Hire team.
Richard Cooper stays with the team for 2016 after finishing the 2015 season strong. Richard won the 2011 National Superstock championship with Buildbase and has always performed well on BMW machinery.
Lee Jackson also remains with the team after an impressive rookie season he made the step up last season after 2 years in the national Superstock championship finishing 4th and 3rd.
Other riders to keep an eye on this for me will be:
Alastair Seeley: Alastair makes the move to BSB after a close fight with Josh Elliot for the national superstock title he eventually finished 2nd but pushed it all the way. He joins the RAF Reserves team who have a good pedigree not only on the short circuits but also on the roads where Seeley will look to make history at the years NW 200.
Luke Mossey impressed in his debut year in BSB and will be looking to build on his 7th place. The young rider is full of confidence and will have top machinery underneath him look for him to be competing for Podiums and possibly make a play for the top 6 showdown.