Riders ready for championship challenge

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Kirton racer Aaron Clarke will compete in the 2016 British Supersport and National Superstock 600 championships. Photo by Dean Owen

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Kirton racer Aaron Clarke will compete in the 2016 British Supersport and National Superstock 600 championships. Photo by Dean Owen

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Kirton racer Aaron Clarke has teamed up with fellow Lincolnshire rider Tommy Philp to contest the British Supersport and National Superstock 600 championships.

The 20-year-olds are set to commence their challenge at Silverstone on April 10.

One of Clarke’s sponsors, Paul Draper of Drapervent, was keen to extend his involvement in the team and they have now become title sponsors.

The team will race under the name of Draper Racing and will run two Yamaha R6 machines.

Tommy Philp will contest the British Supersport championship while Clarke will continue in the National Superstock 600 class for a third season.

Despite missing half of the 2014 season due to injuries sustained in a crash at Knockhill, Clarke made steady progress in his class last year.

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

With a switch to Yamaha for 2016, he is looking to make further improvement as he gets to grips with his new steed.

He said: “The bike is handling pretty well and I am already lapping as fast as last year despite the cold conditions.

“I have to thank Drapervent for their support and for becoming title sponsors for our team.

“I also welcome Tommy into the team – I am sure we will work well together.”

The bike is handling pretty well and I am already lapping as fast as last year despite the cold conditions.

Aaron Clarke

Son of former sidecar racer Bill Philp, Tommy was Bemsee MRO Superstock 600 champion in 2014 and also raced in the National Superstock 600 series before moving up to the British Supersport Evo class last season.

He is in the process of moving with his family to East Kirkby after living in Slough, Berkshire all his life.

He will contest the full British Supersport championship for Draper Racing this year.

Philp said: “I am delighted to join Draper Racing and my thanks go to Paul Draper and also Aaron and his family who have given me this opportunity.

“The British Supersport championship is very competitive but I am sure I will be able to bring some good results back to the team this year.”

Former British F1 sidecar champion Bill Philp, owner of Berkshire MotorcycleCentre in Slough, said: “We have joined the team this year and the aim is for Tommy to bring Aaron on as Tommy is slightly ahead of Aaron who is now beginning to get on the pace.

“We have switched Aaron to a Yamaha from Kawasaki which I think was the right move and we look forward to a long and happy relationship with the team and all our sponsors.”

Both riders were testing at Cadwell in the Auto66 club races.

They now move on to the two official BSB test days at Silverstone and Donington today and on Thursday when they will make the final adjustments to their bikes prior to the first round of the series which takes place at Silverstone over the weekend of April 9-10.

Meanwhile, Kirton rider Ben Wilson has secured a ride with EHA Racing and will campaign an Aprilia RSV4RF in the National Superstock championship.

He said: “I have unfinished business in the class and I expect to be chasing wins and podium finishes throughout the season.

“I have to thank Steve Plater for his help, he has been very much involved in sorting this out for me and I am very grateful for his help.”

Wilson will make his debut for the team this week at the official British Superbike test at Silverstone and contest his first race for his new team on April 10.

He was also at Cadwell Park riding a 1000cc Kawasaki owned by Aaron Clarke.

Although the bike is not race ready, Wilson blasted around the Lincolnshire track and was well ahead of the field when the bike developed a problem each time.

Wilson said: “It’s not my bike so I didn’t want to continue and blow the engine so thought it wiser to pull in.

“Thanks to Aaron and his family for the loan of the bike as I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

Wilson will be riding at the North West 200 races in Ireland in May when he will be riding for his former team Gearlink Kawasaki in both the Superbike and Supersport events.