Kiwi motorcycle duo Shane Richardson and Damon Rees will be returning to the British Superstock 1000 championship next year, albeit no longer as teammates.
Whakatane’s Rees and Wellington rider Richardson joined forces this year on the Astro JJR Racing-prepared BMW S1000rrs for the six-round series which acts as the precursor to the British Superbike Championship.
The BSB championship has global recognition and has been the nurturing ground for several World Superbike champions such as Johnathon Rea and Tom Sykes.
Arriving as a relatively unknown rookie from down under, Rees starred on his debut at Donnington Park to finish second in his first race before backing it up with another visit to the rostrum one race later.
While he wasn’t able to replicate any similar level of success at the remaining five-rounds, Rees managed to consistently claim points finishes before being ruled out of the final event after displacing his AC joint in the penultimate round.
Despite the incident, Rees still finished an incredible eighth overall in his rookie season, and his fine form meant the Kiwi attracted plenty of rival teams up and down the paddock.
In a statement by the team, Astro JJR Racing and team backer Carl Cox Motorsport confirmed that Rees would be on the move to a new team for next season.
“It comes as no surprise that after a very good rookie season, Damon has attracted a lot of interest from other teams,” read the statement.
“This, along with his valuable support from Carl Cox Motorsport, means it is with regret that he will be moving on from us for 2021. We wish him well.”
“It was bittersweet to leave our second-home England,” said Rees. “But we are super excited to get back into NZ life for the summer.
“Luckily our BSB adventure isn’t over yet, and we will be returning next year.”
Richardson experienced a more tumultuous sophomore Superstock 1000 campaign, only mustering 16th in the championship after a disastrous start to the season.
The Kiwi fell victim to a gearbox drama in the opening race of the season before a dislodged water hose in race two resulted in a high-side crash for race two.
The next event then saw Richardson retire once again, this time after a piece of debris triggered a traction control sensor on the bike.
Determined to make amends for the slow start to the year, Richardson fought back and put in a string of points-paying results to demonstrate his worth to the paddock.
His grit has now paid dividends, and Richardson will return for a third season in 2021 where he will once again be on board the BMW S1000RR at Astro JJR Racing.
“We have unfinished business with Shane in the Stock 1000 Class and after a low-key season by his high expectations we feel that he fully deserves another shot,” said the team.
“Racing against Damo next year should bring out the friendly Kiwi rivalry.
“We are now in negotiations with a number of high-profile riders to run alongside Shane next year on Brand new BMW S1000RR’s thus giving our riders the best possible equipment available for the job
“We also hope to have some exciting news regarding a Junior Team for 2021 thus proving we value a pathway for talent without the quick fix pressure that abounds in the BSB paddock.”
Rees is currently undergoing his mandatory two-weeks isolation after arriving in New Zealand last Saturday.
Richardson, meanwhile, will remain in the UK over the Christmas period where he will begin preparations for next season.