Hopkins and Kirkham make WSBK date
Date published : 22 Jul 2011 - 14:56:57
Samsung Crescent Racing will add a very welcome sprinkle of local flavour and colour when they take their Suzuki GSX-R1000s back into WSBK wildcard competition at Silverstone next week. Both regular riders - John Hopkins and Jon Kirkham - will ride and the whole team is eagerly anticipating its latest global outing, as team manager Jack Valentine said, "We're really looking forward to it, hopefully we can spring a surprise or two on the regulars."Valentine continued, "We've had good success in the past with wild card rides, too, like Tom Sykes' podium in 2008; we're not there just to make up the numbers. And we can bet Hopper will be out to make a statement or two! We're certainly looking to run competitively. Our only disadvantage is that we normally run under British superbike rules, which allows only one bike per rider, not two. That said, we've got one of the most professional teams in the sport, they're able to turn any job around very quickly and very accurately. We should be okay."
The round at Silverstone works for the Samsung Crescent Racing team on many levels, as Valentine explained fully. "This is a kind of busman's holiday. Taking a break from racing by going racing. But seriously, taking a one-off ride in the WSB series is a great way for our riders to further develop their bikes and practice some race craft without the pressures of the championship they're in - and at the same time giving the fans and sponsors an extra run-out. This will be valuable track time at Silverstone for Hopper and will be excellent preparation for when we come back for the BSB Showdown round later this year - there's nothing like racing to get a real grip on how a bike's performing at a circuit. JK is needing some extra bike time, too. We've been working hard to find an optimum set-up for him and the WSB weekend will offer him plenty of good track time to improve his set-up."
Hopkins is no stranger to WSBK racing, despite his lone season with Stiggy Racing Honda in 2009 being adversely affected by injury, but for Kirkham this will be an all-new experience.