As the Riders and teams prepare for the opening rounds of the 2017 Masters Superbike Championship the series is set for its biggest ever year with an expansion to a seven event calendar for the first time.
To facilitate the reduction in race weekends requested by competitors, the Masters and National Championship organisers have agreed to combine three of their events to create a six date Mondello Park Motorcycle Racing calendar. This change means that all six Motorcycle Race events at the Kildare track will now run with the popular Masters format, although it will be altered slightly to fall in line with Irish Championship requirements. The continuation of the Bishopscourt Round brings the Masters Superbike Championship to seven events for the first time in its history.
The Championship trail starts with two days of racing on the Mondello Park National Track on Saturday and Sunday March 25th & 26th. The first round will be solely for the Masters with event two, on the International track in May, the first to count for Masters and National Championship points. Over the remaining five events competitors will be given plenty of track variety with the National and International Track layouts both being used twice more along with the visit to Bishopscourt.
The Superbike class at the Masters is set for a major boost this season despite the departure of reigning champion Robert English to the UK. With a number of riders graduating from Supersport to the top class and a host of new machines ready to join the grid, 2017 could be one of the most unpredictable seasons ever. The top two from last seasons Supersport championship Luke Johnston and Richie Ryan will both join the Superbike ranks for 2017 with Luke on a brand new BMW and Richie Ryan on one of the latest R1 Yamahas.
With a number of Supersport Riders moving on, the Supersport series will be wide open this year. Aaron Clifford will start as favourite for any of the events he competes in, but with clashing BSB commitments a full assault on the Masters title may not be possible. Some new faces will grace the grid here also and two to watch out for will be double Masters Production Twin champion Mark McConville and former Lightweight Supersport championship runner-up David Ging who both make the step up to the Supersport class on Triumph’s.
The Principal Insurance Pre-Injection class will continue as the main supporting class and this will be joined once again by Supertwins, Lightweight Supersport and Sidecars at all Masters events .The Championship will expand its support class roster at Mondello Park events this season with the addition of the Classic Superbikes as a full championship class and the expansion of the Production category into two divisions to match the national championship’s ‘Young Guns’ and ‘Junior Cup’ designations.
The build upto the opening weekend of the Masters Superbike Championship can be followed on www.masterssuperbike.ie or by following the series on facebook and twitter.