AFTER winning the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship in dramatic style last season, the Smiths Triumph Racing Team start their title defence at Brands Hatch this weekend in confident mood.
Having secured the official backing of Triumph after their 2012 success, the team has retained the services of both reigning champion Glen Richards and Australian team-mate Billy ‘Skippy’ McConnell, who finished third in the championship table after a double victory at the final round.
Both Richards and McConnell have already tested the brand new Triumph Daytona 675R in Spain and declared the machine a success and are confident going into the 12-round series starting at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit over the weekend of April 5/7th.
The experienced Richards, originally from Adelaide, added last year’s British Supersport crown to the one he won in 2008 also aboard a Triumph 675. He also won the inaugural BSB-EVO title in 2011 and claimed the 2007 National Superstock 1000 title.
Former Virgin Mobile Cup champion McConnell, also originally from Adelaide and like Richards making his home in Hinckley nowadays, has finished third for the past two seasons in the Britiah Supersport Championship as well as runner-up in 2009 so is aiming to make 2013 his year.
Richards said: “I’m looking forward to the new season but I know I’ve got a massive job on my hands to defend the number one plate. “There have been a couple of fast guys move out of the championship but you just have to look at who has come in and it will be no easier this year. “We have been testing on the new bike and although it’s been hard work to get where we want to be, it’s all coming together and I know the brand new Triumph Daytona 675R will be good. My main priority is to win the title again this year and I’m focusing hard on that.”
McConnell added: “This is my second year with the Smiths team and I’m really excited about going racing.
“We have a very competitive package and I’m really determined to steal that plate from Glen. “The competition is tougher than ever but I intend to do my own thing and I always get stronger as the year progresses.
The test we had in Spain on the new Triumph Daytona 675R was great but now the testing is over so we are concentrating hard on the first race meeting at Brands Hatch.”
Team manager Rebecca Smith is delighted how preparations have gone.
She saild: “I am very pleased with how all of our pre-season testing has gone. We have experienced a couple of minor issues that come with developing a new bike but that said, Triumph have made some fantastic improvements with the new Daytona 675R. “We’ve also been working very closely with the Triumph factory which is fantastic for us and has only served to strengthen the team set up. “Everybody, including the riders and technicians, has been working extremely hard and we are ready to begin our campaign at Brands Hatch this weekend.”