The National Superstock 1000 championship was one of the fiercest championships in the world last year – you may think I am going overboard when I say that but someone tell me a championship outside of the UK that is genuinely that equal yet competitive. In 2018, the series is once again graced with ex champions, BSB podium finishers, international talent and a whole host of manufacturers. This is the ultimate guide to the National Superstock 1000 championship in 2018.
Where else to start other than Morello Kawasaki? The team have taken two championships in three seasons and have one of the most exciting rider line-ups in the series once again for 2018. Bringing in Josh Elliott in a bid to regain his 2015 crown, the Norfolk-based outfit look the favourites to take an unprecedented third championship. Don’t discount the team’s new recruit for 2018 either, with Sam Clarke. The Australian was a revelation at Brands Hatch back in October last year but who knows, he may well be the revelation of the season this year. Whilst team owner Stever Buckenham is playing down the chances of absolute domination, my recommendation is to keep your eyes on the new Morello Kawasaki rider and the team overall.
Newcastle-based Mission Racing are a busy team in 2018, with three full-time riders in the National Superstock 1000 team. Fraser Rogers jumps aboard BMW machinery for 2018, as he goes in search of his first National Superstock 1000 win, off the back of two seasons at Morello Racing. Joining him is Long Eaton’s Ben Godfrey, who finally gets a well-deserved opportunity at an established team, although he is using the Suzuki. Brayden Elliott is the third man in the squad, with the Australian moving across from Yamaha equipment. Still in search of a first win for the team, there is no doubt that Russ Owen’s outfit will be there or thereabouts in 2018.
Tyco BMW make it an all Northern Irish affair in their National Superstock 1000 campaign, with reigning British Supersport champion Keith Farmer returning to a championship of which he won in 2012. Having dominated the Supersport class in 2017, Farmer was itching for a ride on a 1000cc bike, whether it be a Superstock or Superbike. Tyco BMW took a win at Brands Hatch Indy last season in the Stock 1000 class with Ian Hutchinson but will want Farmer to make a winning a more prominent hobby for 2018.
FS-3 Kawasaki remain in the National Superstock 1000 category with Cadwell Park Superbike lap record holder, Lee Jackson. Having been left without a ride at Smith’s BMW, Jackson was quickly snapped up by Nigel Snook’s outfit, now entering it’s third season in BSB and it’s second in the Stock 1000 category. Lee Jackson was last in the series in 2014, when he took a win at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire, on his way to 3rd in the championship. Jackson will unequivocally want to return to the pace and join the fight for the championship.
Team IMR make a full time debut in 2018, with young British star Chrissy Rouse and former National Superstock 600 winner, Jordan Gilbert – both of which, along with coach Steve Brogan, depart Mission Racing. It’s an exciting line-up and definitely sees Chrissy Rouse get a big chance to put his front-running experience of 2018 into a race-winning position in 2018. For Jordan Gilbert, incremental steps will be the key to his success, as he jumps on a Stock 1000 machine for the first time. The Isle of Man-based outfit may well be a team to beat in 2018.
EHA Racing Aprilia remain in the National Superstock 1000 series but expand their operations to two machines in 2018. Andy Reid and reigning Ducati Tri-Options cup champion Joe Collier form an exciting line-up. Reid had flashes of brilliance in the Superbike class last year before a broken leg curtailed his season. Joe Collier rode a handful of different bikes at the end of last year, from Moto2 machines to the IMR BMW outfit; his versatility may be what is needed on the Aprilia. With both Reid and Collier at the helm of the team’s Superstock 1000 effort, you can be sure that podiums and wins won’t be too far away.
The Stauff Quick Connect Academy team took a win last season with Mason Law at Oulton Park. With Law now graduating to the British Superbike class, a replacement was needed. They don’t come more experienced and much more talented than ex-champion, Alastair Seeley, who joins Brent Gladwin’s team. The Ulsterman will be looking to be right on the pace and give the team more success, to launch a credible, threatening bid at taking the National Superstock 1000 title back to Northern Ireland.
Billy McConnell adds to an already incredibly competitive championship in 2018, with the popular Aussie replacing the promoted Richard Cooper at Buildbase Suzuki. ‘Skippy’ had an injury hit 2017, with him being off the FS-3 QuattroPlant Kawasaki since his big crash at Thruxton. McConnell is back fit and ready to go, to prove a point that he should be in the Superbike field. The pressure is on for McConnell to perform but his experience will count for something, right?
Halsall Racing may not be a surprising name in the Superbike class but it may have caught many people unawares to be mentioned in the National Superstock 1000 line-up. Tom Ward gets an opportunity with the Bolton-based Suzuki squad to prove his worth, having had a relatively successful year in 2017, with a podium at Assen. The 23-year-old from Canterbury will be one to keep an eye on for 2018.
Liverpool-based PR Racing BMW sign Luke Hedger’s services for the 2018 season, with eyes surely on podiums. The team had planned to keep on Sam Coventry until just weeks before the opening round, meaning that the team, whilst initially expanding to a two-bike operation, remain with just one.
Also on a Suzuki in the National Superstock 1000 class is young-gun and one of Britain’s less spoke about future talents, Ben Luxton. Luxton rode a Kawasaki ZX-6 in the National Superstock 600 category last season, with his experience and talent eventually culminating in a 2nd place finish at Oulton Park. It will be a steep learning curve, both for him and the new OMG Racing team, who make their debut in both the Superbike and Superstock 1000 classes this year.
Of course, you would be silly to discount the likes of Michael Rutter and Adam Jenkinson, as well as the Jones Dorling BMW outfit of Ashley Beech, who has looked incredibly impressive throughout testing.
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