Christian Iddon: From supermoto to superbike

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Supermoto star Christian Iddon will make his BSB debut this year riding for the SMT Honda team. He told MCN about his switch from supermoto to superbike.

So you’ve got a BSB ride with SMT?
How cool is that? It’s better than I could ever have imagined.

But isn’t it a bit daunting going into the season with so little experience in road racing – never mind the fact you’ve never raced a superbike?
It’s in at the deep end but it’s where  I want to be. I know it’s going to be extremely difficult but it’s the best domestic superbike series in the world.

I’ll be taking baby steps at the start.

How did you end up with the SMT Honda deal?
I’d ridden their stock 600 in 2008 and their superstock bike at Oulton last year. We spoke over winter but, to be honest, I thought it was all dead in the water.

Then, out of the blue, Robin called me and there was a contract on the table.

Did you always have your sights set on BSB?
I wanted to do the Evo class if I’m honest. When it looked like nothing was happening with SMT, my dad and I started gearing up to buy our own stuff.

With five to six weeks before the stat of the season it would have been hectic but we would had a go.

Why quit supermoto?
I’d won my ninth British Supermoto title last year but World’s didn’t go to plan. I only stayed one more year to try and win the World title.

I was with an Italian team , privateer but with good KTM backing.

You don’t need factory bikes in supermoto. But it didn’t work out and I was lucky that KTM UK stepped in to keep me on track. 

But you started to make the switch to road racing anyway last year?
I did some rounds of the KTM RC8 Cup to get some track time. Then at the end of the yar I rode the SMT Honda in the final Superstock round.

I’d never ridden a bike with so much power. At one stage I thought it was a bit too much. But by the end of the weekend I was wringing its neck and wanting more.

I qualified 14th and ended up sixth in the race.

You must have been well chuffed?
Actually I was a bit disappointed. I’m always hard on myself and thought I could have been on the podium if I’d done better in qualifying.

I was made up with the result but every lap I was learning and my fastest lap was right at the end of gthe race.

It was a good experience and pushed me further to want to really do road racing.

How will supermoto skills help you in road racing?
The fact that I’ve been racing the world’s best for a few years now will help. Skills I’ve learned there will transfer across.

You always had one of the more lurid style on a supermoto bike.  Are we going to see you locked up, sideways backing it into corners on the road raced courses?
Actually I’ve disappointed people already.  They expect me to be wild on a road race bike but I’m actually quite smooth.

I think with 200bhp we’ll get a little loose. I’m sure you’ll see some sideways action.

You’ve got a lot more electronics on a road race bike. How do you think that will affect you?
I’ve never ridden a bike with traction control. The plan is to start without it. In fact I think we’re going to start with a stock engine and get me comfy on the bike first.

Then we’ll move to a proper superbike engine and then we’ll start to add the electronics and we’ll see where we’re at. Brands Indy is going to be hard. I’ve heard it’s really technical.

Thruxton’s mean to be pretty special too. So I hope by Oulton – a track I know – that we’ll be able to show a bit more of the pace we might have.

But until I’ve at on the bike, I’ve not a clue how we will do.

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin