Lincolnshire motorsport aces react to postponement of bike action

Question marks over campaign

Peter Hickman. Photo: David Yeomans

The motorcycle racing season has been put on hold by Corona virus fears.

Once it was announced there would be no medical back up for events such as the Isle of Man TT races, the North West 200, the Southern 100 plus the Olivers Mount races in Scarborough, all had to be either cancelled or postponed to later in the year.

The British Superbike championship has also fallen foul to the virus.

Motorsport Vision have postponed their first three races, saying: "Following the latest Government updates, the MCRCB and the ACU have currently suspended all motorcycle circuit racing events until at least May 31, a decision which will be kept under review as the situation progresses.

"MSVR can confirm that in addition to last week’s postponement of the opening round at Silverstone (April 10-12), the Oulton Park (May 1-3) and Donington Park (May 22-24) rounds of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship have now also been postponed.

"Series promoter and organiser MSVR is continuing to work closely with teams, circuits, broadcasters and partners to evaluate the constantly-changing situation and will provide further updates when available."

There will be no club racing, motocross and more until further notice which affects the county’s motor racing stars.

Louth racer Peter Hickman, the fastest road racer in the world, has been denied the chance to defend the title.

He commented: “Naturally, I’m absolutely gutted about the 2020 TT being cancelled.

“The Smiths Racing team and all my sponsors have been working incredibly hard over winter and we were all looking forward to a fantastic event.

“These are unprecedented times though and the health and well-being of everyone involved, from the officials and riders to the fans and residents on the Isle of Man, has to come first.

“We’ll be back though, so here’s to TT 2021.

“In the meantime, we’re still working to get the bike ready for when the BSB season gets underway and for the postponed North West.

“I’ve also been working on some other exciting projects for this year… which I’ll be announcing very soon!

“Wishing you all good health and I can’t wait to get back racing and make up for lost time.”

British Superbike rider Jason O’Halloran who lives at Market Rasen said: “While everyone in the team is gutted that the start of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship has been postponed, we fully support the decision made by MSVR and the MCRCB, which is in line with government guidelines.

“McAMS Yamaha has put a lot of effort in over the winter with the new 2020 R1 and we are all ready for round one, whenever that might be.

"It’s obviously disappointing to know we won’t be lining up on the grid in a few weeks' time, but we have to follow the guidelines and advice given to us for everybody’s wellbeing.

“We all love motorbike racing and look forward to the first round after a long winter, we will all just have to wait a little longer.”

Phil Crowe, also from Market Rasen, said: “We have put so much effort into preparation and I feel it was going to be a big year for me and the team.

“I was also looking forward to competing in some of the major events this year and because of the problem with mass gatherings they have all been either postponed or cancelled.

"I thought the club races might have continued but sadly this is not the case so unfortunately we have to wait until this virus has run its course. It is disappointing as we had a very good test at Cadwell recently and we are all ready to race.”

Twins Tom and Tim Neave are disappointed they cannot race but at least the stoppage means they can put their time to good use on the family farm.

Tim said: “I am racing for Hawk Racing Buildbase Suzuki in the Superstock 1000 class this year and am really excited for the season.

“But of course this will be on hold until the Corona Virus outbreak is over.”

Tom Neave,from Market Rasen, is once again riding for Honda UK in the same series as his brother and has been out in Spain testing the new bike.

He said: “I am made up to be racing again after being out injured for five months. To get out to Spain for a few days testing has been great and I am well pleased with how everything has gone.

“The bike is fast but the biggest thing is the chassis and it is so stable and strong, it ticks all the boxes for me.”

The Wyberton-based G&S Kawasaki team is also disappointed the season has been delayed but the bikes are actually stuck in Spain as they were sent out a couple of weeks ago to prepare for testing.

The riders were due to go to Spain last Monday but as Spain is in shutdown they were unable to travel.

With the bikes in Spain the team would have been unable to race at Silverstone so in a way the cancellation has worked in their favour.

Aaron Silvester, from Tattershall, was looking forward to a good season in the Superstock 600 series and said: “Obviously we are all gutted that we don’t yet know when the season will be starting!

“It’s a shame that an agreement could not be made to put measures in at the race meetings but we have to respect that the decision has been made to help the masses. Still in disbelief this is happening to be honest!”

Aaron Clarke, from Kirton, was also looking forward to another season of racing in the Superstock 1000 championship but he too is having to put his plans on hold.

He said: “I was really looking forward to getting back out there but it doesn’t look very likely for the next few weeks, if at all this year.”

It is even more disappointing for North Kelsey sidecar racer Todd Ellis, as he and passenger Charlie Richardson were hoping to contest the World Sidecar championship this year.

The first round has already been cancelled and as things are it is unlikely there will be any racing abroad in the next few months.

He was also to defend his British championship but it runs with the British Superbike championship and that is also very unlikely to go ahead.

Ellis’ step father Gary Bryan and his passenger Phil Hyde were not doing the British championship this year but were to race at the Isle of Man TT festival in June and that has already been cancelled.