Knockhill awaits as Blackstock/Rosney eye up series lead 17-19 June
The Isle of Man TT has come and gone, the FIM World Championship has seen three rounds of great action involving last year’s top four teams, and now it is time to resume the domestic series at the popular Fife circuit of Knockhill.
The aim of second-placed Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney must surely be to amass as many points as possible in the absence of series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. The Santander Salt duo will be defending their fourteen-point lead in the FIM World Championship in Hungary, leaving the door open for others to capitalise.
The Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom were early entries in Scotland, with their focus being to retain their British title. For 2022 they also plan to contest selected World rounds, but having missed just the Oulton Park opener, the appeal to stay at home is obvious. That opinion is shared by Birchall Racing team-mates Craig Currie and Justin Sharpe, although a good appearance at the Estoril World finale last season whetted their appetites for more international action.
Back here, the British title race looks strong, with any number of fast, reliable teams able to score consistently at every round. Most prolific of those are, as stated, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney. The DHR/Express Tyre Services Rishton based pair have shown a great ability to run at the front and mix it with just about anyone. Their time as a team over several seasons has resulted in a good understanding and mutual desire to win.
They could easily be dark horses for a debut title if they finish every race strongly. Twice runners-up at Oulton gave them a great start in that regard. Santander Salt’s Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz will defend team honours in Scotland and have a good record on the Knockhill circuit.
John Holden and Jason Pitt ran their TT outfit at Oulton Park, with a question mark over future appearances on the long chassis. Nonetheless, they emerged fourth overall, just ten points behind Sam and Tom Christie. The Beverley brothers are regular front runners with the potential to spring a surprise at season end.
Previously there were no planned British Championship appearances for either Tim Reeves or Steve Kershaw, both choosing to focus on either the World Championship, or in the case of Reeves, Germany. That is where his sponsor is active, so it made commercial, if not sporting sense to stay in his back garden.
However, a late entry will now see the eight-times World Champion line up on the grid in Scotland. The lure of real competition against top line rivals is surely what all top sportsmen and women aspire to and relish? One thing is for sure, we now have greater strength in depth at our disposal than for many years. The prospect of most of those main British crews getting stuck in at Knockhill will indeed be a sight to behold.
There are also some new names earning reputations this season, and they will be in Scotland enhancing those credentials. Simon Robinson, former F2 Champion has taken to the long bike well, with Mick Fairhurst doing a great job alongside. George Holden and Oscar Lawrence have moved to Kawasaki power and claimed a fourth place at Oulton Park after a race one DNF spoiled their day. Cupar’s Lewis Nicol and Rhys Gibbon wave the Saltire for Scotland and must surely know their way round Knockhill.