British Superbike 'Title Fighters' prepare for Silverstone with Indoor Skydiving Challenge
As part of the build-up to this weekend's Nissan round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship (BSB) at Silverstone (25 - 26 September), four of the top six BSB 'Title Fighters' headed for the Airkix Indoor Skydiving centre in Milton Keynes for a 'Showdown' challenge with a difference.
Championship leader Tommy Hill (Worx Suzuki) was joined by fellow 'Title Fighters' Michael Laverty, Alastair Seeley (both Relentless Suzuki) and Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) as the four riders put their indoor skydiving skills to the test.
Michael Laverty was the first rider to step into the upright wind tunnel, embarking on his maiden 'flight' in wind speeds reaching up to 165mph / 265kph. Speaking after his skydiving experience the Relentless Suzuki rider said: "That was awesome - the most fun I've had in a while, away from bikes. I've never done anything like that before. I'd love to do a proper skydive now, or get some more time in that wind tunnel".
Looking ahead to this weekend's 'Showdown' round at Silverstone, Laverty added: "I have done some laps of Silverstone on a road bike. Josh [Brookes] has already won a race there in Superstock, and he and Kiyo had three days on track at WSB, so they should already have a good grasp of the circuit. But I have no reason to think we can't match them, so I am feeling confident."
Tommy Hill was next to step into the flight chamber: "That was a great experience. Different to what I was expecting and I'd have loved to have a few more goes. The G-force was incredible. Great fun though."
Turning his thoughts to Silverstone, Hill added: "The race for the title is very close, but it's nice to have a bit of a lead. The Grand Prix Circuit is a new circuit for most of us, so I have to learn it fast. But it is good, big and there is lots more track to use. I've just got to get up to speed and enjoy it. If all is going good at Silverstone we will be pushing for the race wins."
Josh Brookes was 'blown away' by his skydiving experience: "That was awesome - one of the most exciting things I've done outside of motorcycles. I've tried a few adrenaline sports, but none of them have ever given me that much of a thrill. This was a really cool thing to do though. I'd love to get back in there and give it another go."
Following sixth and eighth place finishes in the two races prior to Silverstone, Brookes added: "I have put the Croft weekend behind me now and all I am thinking about is Silverstone. We have information and knowledge from when we raced at the World Superbike Championship round there, so we will have to wait and see how we can use that to our advantage. I want to win and put the HM Plant Honda back at the front."
Alastair Seeley was the last of the four riders to give the Airkix Skydive experience a go: "I really, really enjoyed that. I got the hang of it pretty quickly and loved it. The instructor was great - flying up to the top of the air tunnel was a real buzz! It's definitely another box ticked off on my 'to do' list."
Currently sixth in the championship and needing two good races at Silverstone, Seeley added: "At Silverstone I really just need to get my finger out and go for it. Michael [Rutter] and I did some laps of the new circuit a while back, and I have been studying the DVD of the World Superbike Championship round to see what I can pick up. I think of all the three tracks in the Showdown this is going to be my strongest one, so I need to grit my teeth and go for it."
Silverstone will host the penultimate round of the Championship this weekend, including two BSB races on Sunday (26 September). With just 28 points separating the top four riders, the racing on Silverstone's new super-fast 3.666 mile Grand Prix Circuit, which delivered plenty of overtaking and spectacular action during the MotoGP and World Superbike events earlier this year, promises to be fiercer than ever.
In addition to all the British Superbike action, support races include the renowned British Supersport and National Superstock 1000 series. Away from the racing, 'The Red Devils' will continue the skydiving theme with an air display on Sunday, while stunt shows from Craig Jones on both Saturday and Sunday, plus free funfair rides and bike displays will provide plenty of off-track entertainment throughout the weekend. Ticket holders can also make the most of Silverstone's open paddock policy along with the free Pit walk and rider autograph sessions.