Two of New Zealand’s most complete Superbike riders Damon Rees and Shane Richardson will grid up against some of the UK’s best aspiring racers in the opening round of the British Superstock 1000 championship from Donnington Park this weekend.
Superstock 1000 acts as a precursor to the popular British Superbike Championship which is often heralded as the premier domestic production bike series in the world, a stone’s throw away from a stint in the World Superbike Championship.
Both Rees and Richardson will be backed by Carl Cox Motorsport as they run Astro JJR Racing-prepared BMW S1000rrs in the truncated 18-race calendar comprising of a string of six tripleheaders kicking off this weekend before concluding at Brands Hatch on October 16-18.
Nurturing his race-craft through several stints in NZ’s SBK Series before embarking on a quick crack at racing in Australia’s SBK Championship, Rees moved to the UK just before the Covid-19 pandemic caused a nationwide lockdown and closure of borders.
The 24-year-old was comfortably leading the 2020 NZSBK championship but was forced to forfeit his season just two rounds in to pursue his British ambitions, a plan that was nearly fraughted by the global pandemic.
Wellington rider Richardson, meanwhile, has already experienced the BSB circus having ridden with Astro JJR Racing in last year’s in the British Superstock 600 class, missing out on the title in a last-race showdown.
Richardson has since remained in the UK where he has enjoyed playing host to Rees at the team as the duo prepares for the Donnington opener.
‘It’s awesome having Damo over here,” Richardson told MXLink. “He is one of my best mates from the racing paddock and a rider I have a lot of respect for after a few years going toe to toe.
“We started road racing around the same time so I think it’s cool that we have both ended up where we are now. He certainly brings a lot to the team and I think with the two of us working together and pushing one another we can achieve some pretty great thing.
‘There is certainly a lot of racing coming up so it’s lucky we get along so well given the amount of time we will be spending together.”
Richardson and Rees had numerous pre-season tests to acclimatise to the all-new BMW bike with both riders demonstrating glimpses of potential with Rees finishing seventh fastest in the most recent session, three-tenths off the lead.
The duo will have two 22-lap races this weekend at the ex-British Grand Prix venue, the first of which is slated to start from 4.15 am NZT.