BSB: Superbike stars meet America's Cup contenders

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MCE British Superbike stars James Rispoli and John Hopkins met America’s Cup World Series contenders from the Softbank Team Japan outfit ahead of this weekend’s action at Thruxton.

SoftBank Team Japan are bidding to become the first Japanese team to win the America's Cup and yachtsman Yugo Yoshida visited Thruxton for a high-speed pillion lap on Wednesday with American contender James Rispoli.

Yoshida is the first Japanese sailor in 15 years to join an America's Cup team.
The experience was reversed today (Thursday) when Rispoli and Hopkins joined the team for a jersey swap at the team camp, before the 25-year-old Superbike rookie met winning America's Cup skipper and Team CEO Dean Barker for a once in a lifetime opportunity to jump onboard as a guest racer.


Japanese star Yoshida, who previously competed in the 2012 Olympics, said: “I really enjoyed the pillion ride – it was very different to anything I’ve ever been used to before and an amazing opportunity. It was incredibly fast and an awesome experience and, I have to admit, a little scary too! It really gave me an appreciation for the bravery and skill required to ride at those speeds – let alone race. The G-forces were a real eye-opener, and although I always felt safe, it was also very much on-the-edge. The only problem is, I think I might have caught the bug now...”

Rispoli said: “It was great to meet Yoshi at the circuit yesterday and have a blast around the track - it was awesome to see his reaction afterwards! I loved the boat experience today, it was amazing and something I have never experienced before. It was as intense as racing a Superbike and the choreography between the crew members onboard was crazy.

“The amount of force that pulls you from out of nowhere when we hit the wind and seeing the other teams so close, gave you a real idea of how it would be in the race and that was awesome. Big thanks to SoftBank Team Japan for the opportunity.”

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing