Ben Currie is set to return to the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Knockhill this weekend where he’ll line up alongside teammate Glenn Irwin for Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki.
The Australian has been out through injury since May after crashing heavily at Oulton Park resulting in multiple breaks in his left foot as well as damage to the knee ligaments in the same leg.
Ben made an impressive championship debut at Silverstone back in April finishing 13th in race two. He’s now looking to get some more track time and hopefully points under his belt at the Fife circuit.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of effort has gone in to get to this point but it’s exciting to get back on a motorbike,” explained Ben. “My foot has almost fully recovered so medically I’m good to go; I’ve just got to drown out the pain!
“I’m going to have a run out for half an hour or so on Wednesday at Donington Park just to make sure my footwork is ok and the pain is manageable. It was 50/50 as to whether I’d make it back for this round so I’ll just have to see how it goes but I’m feeling confident. At this stage in the season, there’s still plenty of racing to come and I’m keen to get back to doing what I love.”
Meanwhile Irwin, who secured a brace of top ten finishes during round four at Brands Hatch, will be looking to get back to winning ways and claim his first podium of the season.
Up until now, the Carrickfergus rider has frustratingly been unable to match last year’s form which saw him step up to number one rider status in the PBM team following the injury to Shane Byrne, and finish third in the championship.
However, after finishing 10th in both races at Brands Hatch, Irwin is confident that he can secure a place in the all-important Showdown again this season.
In 2018 at Knockhill, Irwin came fourth in both races while the Bournemouth Kawasaki team made the top step with Leon Haslam who claimed victory in race two.
Glenn said: “At Brands Hatch we finally found the fault that has been dogging us all season so it was nice to go out on the bike and feel normal. Obviously, we’d rather not have had this issue and be down in 16th in the table, but it’s better to find out at round four when we can still do something about it.
“Although we didn’t set the world alight at Brands it was the best we’ve done all year and we can now push forward knowing that we can win. The guys have been working hard behind the scenes and have some new parts for me to try this week to improve the bike even further.
“Knockhill has been a good track for me and Kawasaki in the past and I want to continue the run of form they’ve been enjoying with the ZX-10RR of late with all three WorldSKB podium positions filled by Team Green riders in Misano at the weekend.
“Early on in the season it was hard to even look at the championship standings but now I know winning is definitely achievable; we just need a couple of good rounds.”
Pete Extance, Team Owner, added: “This weekend we are pleased to welcome back Ben Currie to the team for the Knockhill round. Ben will hopefully test on Wednesday to confirm he is ready to go but early signs are good for his return.
“Knockhill is a pretty good track for Kawasaki so we will be really pushing for Glenn to make his way back to the front where we know he should be. The team has more new parts to fit which we believe will be the missing link to help Glenn feel more at home on the bike.”
Sidecar teams Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood and Ben Holland/Lee Watson will also be competing this weekend in round four of the Molson Group British Sidecar Championship.
Stevens/Charlwood were left battered and bruised after they were torpedoed by the Birchall brothers in race one at Brands Hatch and while Ryan sat the last round out at Cadwell Park (22nd and 23rd June), Ricky had to withdraw from competing after his vision deteriorated during qualifying.
That just left Holland/Watson to fly the flag and after suffering major technical difficulties they managed to complete all 14 laps of the third and final race on Sunday (23rd June) finishing a respectable eighth.
Ricky said: “Ryan and I will be going to Knockhill in the hope that we can finally get our season underway! We want to get back on the bike and be on the grid so we can get some points on the board and with there being three races this weekend it’s an ideal opportunity.
“Following the crash in round two we haven’t fully recovered but after Knockhill, there’s a three-week break so we can get some rest in and return fully fit at Snetterton.
“Although it was disappointing not to race at Cadwell Park we know that the bike feels good and the repairs were successful so that gives us confidence going into round four from the off.”
Lee added: “When we’ve been able to race we’ve done well but we’ve been plagued by unforeseen technical issues. Hopefully, at Knockhill, we can have a trouble-free round and get three races under our belts which will elevate us up the table.
“We’re not the only teams having bad luck; reigning British champions Steve Kershaw /Stuart Clark had two DNFs at Cadwell, which goes to show it can happen to anyone. Luckily there is still a lot of races to go and a lot of things can happen at this stage in the season.”