Even without any actual racing, the team at XpressCoffee are already in the final stages of planning for the 2015 race season. In fact, planning hasn’t really stopped since the machines were all packed away for the winter break back at Brands Hatch in mid-October so, even without motorcycles going round in circles really quickly across the length and breadth of Britain, the 2014 season just blends seamlessly in to the 2015…well, semi-seamlessly…ok, with a little stress and an awful lot of planning.
For the first time in a number of seasons, all our #FuelledBy XpressCoffee riders will be competing in the UK now that Michael Laverty has returned to these shores after two challenging but rewarding years heading up the PBM MotoGP squad. Laverty returns to spearhead Tyco BMW’s championship challenge after their long association with Suzuki ended in December and is amongst the early favourites for a showdown place come Assen in September.
Our two 2014 champions will remain with us but both face new challenges in stepping up in class; STK1000 Champion Danny Buchan makes the move to BeWiser Kawasaki in British Superbikes and Motostar Moto3 champion Jordan Weaving makes possibly the biggest machine jump of his career from the nimble little KTM RC250 to the production ZX-6R in STK600 with Russo Racing, both teams securing the important support of Kawasaki UK.
STK1000 runner-up, Aussie Jason O’Halloran, finally sees his patience and commitment to Honda pay off with a move to the premier class as the Louth-based team return to British Superbikes after a year’s sabbatical. Another Aussie looking to build on last season’s success after a solid finish to the season is Josh Waters, the former Tyco Suzuki man retains his place on a Suzuki but with a return to Bolton-based Halsall Racing, who make the switch from Kawasaki power to become the official Suzuki team in BSB.
It was a tough year for GBmoto’s experienced former World Endurance Champion James Ellison.
The former MotoGP and World Supersport rider started the year with consecutive podiums over three rounds and was closing in on his first win before disaster struck at Brands Hatch in July.
James Ellison in full attack mode at Brands Hatch
Photo Credit: Glen Coombs/www.freezeframe-photography.co.uk
A heavy crash left the blue-eyed Cumbrian with a broken leg that would keep him out of the fray until early September at Donington Park but capped his return to fitness off with a dogged return to the podium at Silverstone, the championships penultimate round. A second season with Mark Smith-Halverson’s well-run team will see one of our longest supported riders back at the sharp end again to continue his quest for his maiden British Crown.
Former British Superbike rider Tom Tunstall had a tough year in STK1000 as he returned to racing after stepping in to team management. The ever-enthusiastic Yorkshireman and his immaculately turned out team didn’t have the season they hoped for but it wasn’t through lack of effort and our first ever ‘Fuelled by XpressCoffee’ rider will line up on the grid again in 2014, ready for battle once more.
Like Tunstall, it wasn’t plain sailing for one of our new boys in 2014. The 2011 STK600 and 2012 STK1000 champion Keith Farmer began the year in positive mind at PR Kawasaki, looking to make a strong return from illness that kept him out of the final three rounds of 2013. Unfortunately, financial difficulties within the team meant that Keith lost his ride just after mid-season but not before securing a podium finish at Brands Hatch alongside Josh Waters.
Fellow Northern Irishman Andy Reid joined the Fuelled By XpressCoffee stable mid-season after a string of positive results in the Pirelli National STK600 class aboard his FFX Yamaha R6. The talented former 125cc rider almost stole the show with some stunning rides though the year but was pipped at the line, settling for second place in the ultra-competitive championship. This season Reid steps up to the British Supersport Championship with Keith Flint’s Team Traction Control squad and will almost certainly be a contender for the 2015 title.
The Fuelled by XpressCoffee stable is set to grow before the start of the season but we’ll bring you news of that when we can. We’ll keep you updated on all of our riders throughout the season, which is drawing ever-closer.