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Seven times and defending British Superbike champions Paul Bird Motorsport have blown off the COVID-19 induced cobwebs this week following news that the Bennetts British Superbike Championship is set to start in August.

Former champion Josh Brookes and teammate Christian Iddon followed up a shakedown at Teesside Motorsport Park last week with a fully blown exclusive test at Croft Circuit earlier this week for the Penrith-based squad who won the title with MotoGP exile Scott Redding last year.

Australian Brookes finished a close runner up after winning ten races, including a hat-trick at the final round, so aims to go one better when the series gets underway at Donington Park over the weekend of August 7/8/9th.

Joining him in Paul Bird’s team is new recruit Christian Iddon who is now based in the North East and will have an identical factory-supported 1000cc VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4 R at his disposal for the proposed six-round series.

Brookes was BSB champion in 2015 and is the third most successful rider in the history of the series winning 49 races so far. Iddon, meanwhile, was the 2019 Rider’s Cup champion despite having suffered a broken leg during the year.

Both riders enjoyed a very productive day at Croft where they spent time developing the new bikes having been inactive following the worldwide shutdown of sport in March, just as the 2020 season was about to start.

Also on track was Penrith-born driver Frank Bird who was in action in the Ford Focus WRC in which he won five of the eight rounds of the 2019/2020 Motoring News MSVR Circuit Rally Championship. 20-year-old Frank is combining a season in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup for Bentley as well as challenging for honours in various selected events in the Ford Focus WRC.

The revised calendar for the Bennetts British Superbike Championship will be over six rounds, all featuring three races making 18 rounds in total.

Aug 7/9 Rounds 1/2/3 Donington Park (National Circuit)
Aug 21/23 Rounds 4/5/6 Snetterton
Sept 4/6 Rounds 7/8/9 Silverstone (National Circuit) – Behind Closed Doors
Sept 18/20 Rounds 10/11/12 Oulton Park
Oct 2/4 Rounds 13/14/15 Donington Park (GP Circuit)
Oct 16/18 Rounds 16/17/18 Brands Hatch (GP Circuit)

There will be a pair of behind-closed-doors tests next month and organisers are hoping to allow spectators at five of the six venues which have been chosen for their logistical advantages but is dependent on the further relaxing of social distancing measures by the Government and guidance from the sport’s governing authorities. Silverstone has already announced their round will be behind closed doors.

Frank’s revised schedule starts next month and is as follows:

July 10/11 Spa (Test)
July 25/26 Imola 3 Hours
Sept 5/6 Nürburgring 8 Hours
Sept 29/30 Total 24 Hours of Spa (Test)
Oct 22/25 Total 24 Hours of Spa
Nov 13/15 Paul Ricard 1000km

* BBC Look North presenter Dawn Thewlis attended the test and featured over three and a half minutes of primetime terrestrial television coverage including action and interviews on both their lunchtime news and early evening shows on Thursday.

Pictures courtesy of Tony Todd: Josh Brookes (25) and Christian Iddon (21) in action and static L-R: Brookes, Frank Bird and Iddon

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