This year’s Ducati 848 Challenge has had a bumper entry with 25 riders already clamouring for the title won last year by Leon Morris and many still on the list waiting for final deals to fall into place.
For many riders the series has been the ideal platform to display their talents in front of huge BSB TV audiences, and for many it provides the best profile for their valued sponsors.
Ducati Manchester’s Robbie Brown, who last season finished third overall, returns for 2012 and must start as one of the Championship favourites along with Darren Fry (JHP Racing/Ducati Coventry) hoping to return to the form that took him to the title in 2010. However, they face stiff competition from riders switching to the Challenge for the first time in 2012, including Marty Nutt (NUTTTravel.com), Ed Smith (Ultim8 Racing) and Max Hunt (OHLINS @ P & H Motorcycles) who all spent last season in British Supersport.
Former British 250 Champion Woolsey Coulter is coming out of retirement to take up the Challenge and will be joined by 2011 MRO Stock1000 Champion Byron Beckett, ex-TTC rider Nicky Wilson (NWR), along with Sean Neary (Motocorse) and Ryan Myler (Close Print Ducati).
Although there are some experienced riders competing, the Challenge welcomes a group of up and coming young riders eager to make their mark in the paddock. James White, 18, (Team After Dark) the 2011 Thunderbike Champion will seek to use his experience of racing a Ducati (his 2011 title was achieved on a 749) while James Folkard, 20, (Win43.com) will be stepping up as last year’s Aprillia RRV450 Champion.
Sam Coventry (Moto Rapido) joins the series from the Spanish CEV Stock Extreme Championship, Ryan Gibson, 17, (Fast Frame UK) comes from North Gloucestershire 600 class while Kasey Wyatt, 18, (GBmoto Racing) moves up from the highly competitive Aprilia Superteens.
Other riders returning to the fray include Stuart Poyser (P & H Motorcycles), Mark Cheetham (Hunt Pie Machines), Ricky Holden (Holden Racing), Jamie Poole (Moto Rapido), Aaron Brown (Ladybirds Ducati) and Barry Poll and Dan Cruickshank (both Pumpkin Patch Racing).
Another returnee, Steve Jordan, will be joined this year by his wife, Sarah Jordan (both Global Robots/Steve Jordan Motorcycles), no doubt creating the first husband and wife team in the BSB paddock to ever race against each other!
The Ducati 848 Challenge will again consist of eight rounds and sixteen races, including six British Superbike rounds, as well as the now traditional two overseas rounds. The series kicks off at the British Superbikes opener at Brands Hatch before visiting Assen, Snetterton 300, Misano and the famous World Ducati Week, Oulton Park, Cadwell Park, Donington Park and finally Ducati UK’s home circuit, Silverstone.
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