BSB: Expert Opinion: Colin Wright on 2016 title fight

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Having taken numerous riders to championship glory, former GSE Racing top dog Colin Wright knows what it takes to win an MCE British Superbike title. 

He’s also worked extensively with both of this year’s BSB title contenders – Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam. Wright managed Haslam during his three-year tenure with Airwaves Ducati from 2005-2007 and took Byrne to title success in 2008.

After Byrne came out on top of the 2016 battle to win a record-breaking fifth British Superbike crown, we asked Wright for his take on this year’s title chase – and he didn’t hold back… 

“Two things decided this title, one came down to the team and the other came down to the difference between Leon and Shakey,” he told MCN on Sunday evening. “Leon is obviously desperate to do the best he can, he rides like he’s Rocky, whereas Shakey is much more relaxed and chilled out. 


“The harder you push a motorbike beyond its capabilities the harder it will bite you on the arse and Shakey knows that. If it starts giving him grief, he backs off and rides more smoothly and smooth is fast. Leon on the other hand has always been a little too aggressive with the bike and tries to make it do something it doesn’t want to do, which is what ultimately ends up with him running wide and making mistakes. 

“Leon needs to calm down a bit. If you’re going surfing you have to wait for the wave, you can’t force it, it will come and when it comes you have to ride it. Leon seems to want to force the wave to come, he wants to make it happen and it just doesn’t wait whereas Shakey on the other hand waits for the wave and then rides it.

“The other thing comes down to the difference between the teams.  When I saw the garage after Leon crashed in qualifying it was noticeable that although Mark [Smith-Halvorsen – JG Speedfit Kawasaki boss] had Terry Rymer in as a team manager he was still in the garage interfering. Ultimately if he’s a team owner he needs to be out of the way and let the manager manage. Although Birdy’s in the garage he doesn’t actually do anything, he’s got guys who do the job for him and that’s why Birdy knows what it takes to win a championship and Mark doesn’t.”

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

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