Bishop has point to prove on home track

PUBLISHED: 10:24 17 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010

Sam Bishop is confident he will prove he can mix it with the Virgin Mobile Cup front-runners on his home track this weekend.

Sam Bishop is confident he will prove he can mix it with the Virgin Mobile Cup front-runners on his home track this weekend.

The Horsford rider has had mixed fortunes this season as he started with a strong fifth at Brands Hatch in the opening round, but has struggled on circuits he has not raced on before.

But this weekend he is back in familiar surroundings when the British Superbikes Championship and support races visit Snetterton - and he has a point to prove.

“I can't wait,” said the 19-year-old. “A lot of people are coming down to support me so it'll be lovely to do well and prove I can compete with the front-runners.

“I'm hoping to prove what I can do at a track I know well. I have had some good results at Snetterton in the past and do know my way around there.

“I had a track day last Thursday and some of the Cup's leading riders were there - Matthew Whitman, Tom Grant and BJ Toal - and I was faster than Toal and just two-tenths of a second off Grant's best time when he had a new rear tyre and I was on old rubber.”

Bishop is currently 13th in the championship but feels this is partly down to a lack of track knowledge.

“To me, that's probably the main thing,” he said.

“A lot of people look at it and say I'm struggling in the Cup, and while I admit I am it's got nothing to do with me not being used to the bike, it's the fact I haven't ridden on some of these circuits before.

“At Brands Hatch I proved I can run at the front but if you look at Thruxton I'd never seen the track before so only had 20 minutes' practice to learn it and unfortunately it just doesn't work like that.

“I thought I was going to do well at Mallory Park because I'd had two test days there but most of the other lads had been down there practising up to eight times so it was hard to complete with them.

“Sometimes it hits your confidence but in many ways this is a learning season for me, and a lot of other riders have a difficult first season too.

“Last season Whitman was 14th in the championship but now he's leading it. I know I can compete with them, but I just need more experience on some of the tracks.”

Supersport Cup rider Matt Layt, of Brundall, will miss the weekend after breaking his ankle in the last round at Mallory Park, while Alex Barkshire, of Norwich, will also miss the British 125GP race through injury.

However, Yarmouth racer Anthony Cooper is champing at the bit as he returns to action after missing three rounds after severely damaging his bike at Thruxton in April.

“I'm looking forward to getting on the bike again,” said the National Superstock rider.

“We finished putting the bike together yesterday so it should be all right althought we've only got a 20-minute warm up before the qualifying session so we haven't got much time to work on the set up. I'm aiming for a top 20 finish.”

Norwich's Anthony Rogers will also be competing in the British 125GP championship.

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