Snetterton ready for Shakey Byrne and his British Superbike challengers
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Blood, sweat and gears – Snetterton is ready for arguably the showpiece event of its season. The British Superbikes are in town.
The weather will be set to baking point and the racing won't be far behind – because while Shane 'Shakey' Byrne has been a regular on the top step of the podium this year, BSB rarely does routine.
That said, Shakey will still head into Sunday's two races on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki hotly tipped to extend his championship lead and take one more step towards a record fourth Superbikes title.
And there's even worse news for his competitors – Shakey feels relaxed and ready for a few fun trips around Norfolk's superb circuit.
'So far so good, but it's a long weekend and a long warm one at that, so we will see how we get on,' said Byrne. 'I really like the Snetterton circuit actually. The new layout, the new Snetterton 300, is good and there are some good overtaking opportunities in it and it just makes for great racing. Hopefully this weekend we will be back up the front again.
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'I'm pretty laid back to be honest. There's quite a lot of new stuff happening in my life right now. I've got rid of my old motorhome and I'd had it for eight or nine years or something, so this is the first time racing without that.
'Just a couple of little different bits and pieces that have completely changed the way I go racing. But at the same time, it's all cool and you've got to look forwards and not backwards.
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'A few teams tested here last week and we were one of those. Suzuki didn't so they will come good, but Honda did and they're doing a great job, and hopefully they won't be too close to us.
'But we'll have to see what the racing will bring and hopefully we can do a good job and get a couple of wins.'
With the warm temperatures will come a few glaring eyes at Pirelli's tyres – although far from the issues that affected their Formula One colleagues at Silverstone's British Grand Prix last weekend.
'It's quite a lot hotter than it has been all season, but Pirelli do a great job of providing tyres that work within a certain range of temperature and this will be right towards the top of it, and I'm sure they will be fine,' Byrne added.
Whatever the changes in Shakey's life, they have definitely worked so far in 2013.
The puzzle for the rest of the field to solve is how to stop him – a field that includes some men ready to make an impression and hungry for it to happen soon.
Australian Josh Brookes is a fans' favourite in terms of popularity and taking the end of season honours.
But while he is the only rider to have scored points at every round so far, he is yet to take his Tyco Suzuki to the top step of the podium in 2013.
'Snetterton has been a good circuit for me in the past and I have had great results there so I hope that pattern can continue,' said Brookes. 'We want to carry our consistent form to Snetterton and work on improving the bike where we can to bridge the gap and hopefully get the wins.'
And there will be a flying Samsung Honda also hoping to spoil Byrne's party, with the ever eye-catching Alex Lowes eager to return to the podium after his run of consecutive top-three finishes came to an end last time out at Knockhill.
And with his first factory ride this year, he will find himself on a bike that has a decent record around the Norfolk track.
'The Samsung Honda guys have been working hard and we had a positive test at Snetterton which means we are ready to go for the race. I made a mistake at Knockhill but we got a fourth place and if that is classed as a bad weekend I will take that, because Knockhill has always been my bogey circuit. I feel good and hopefully we can fight for the wins as I want to stop Shakey.'
The best of the rest isn't bad either. Ryuichi Kiyonari is not only gunning for a record fourth BSB title along with Shakey – he also has seven BSB career wins at Snetterton, which is another record.
Milwaukee Yamaha's James Ellison and Czech Jakub Smrz on his Padgetts Honda will also fancy impressing.
But it may well come down to Byrne, Brookes and Lowes – indeed, that was the order at the top of Friday's second practice. And you can bet as the weekend sun beats down, the racing will be just as hot.
• Tickets are available on the gate for Saturday and Sunday's action, with free entry for those aged 12 and under.