The ten-round 2015 Hottrax Championship gets underway at Brands Hatch on March 21 and 22.
Topping the bill, as ever, will be the Hottrax Endurance series, incorporating the ACU National titles in both the 1000 and 600 National classes.
With Prime Factors Performance, last season’s 1000 National champions, moving on to compete in the Endurance World Championship, the way is clear for someone else to take the crown. Whoever it is, they will have had to do it the hard way again this season.
Go Racing Developments, third in the Championship last season and runners up in 2013, will have Andy Carpenter and James McBride on board for the opening, three-hour round of Britain’s oldest and best Endurance series
They will face tough opposition from Team Edge RST 2, comprising of TT star, Gary Johnson and 2013 British Superstock champion, Hudson Kennaugh.
Mark Clark, driving force in the Linxcel Trick Moto Racing team who finished runner up last season, heads up the new Seton Racing set-up, partnered by Andy Goddard, who was in the Pit Stop squad in 2014. Mark will be racing on one of the new R1 Yamahas, tuned by Phil Seton, who will be joining the team in future rounds.
Jim Laing and Kenny Paterson who only raced in one round last season at Knockhill, but the Scottish pair, under the banner of Scotbeen Racing, were the winners of the Knockhill round. They enjoyed themselves so much they immediately started making plans to race in more rounds this year and will be among the favourites at Brands.
Greg Allsop has left the Go Racing Developments line-up to join up with Motogrande Power Sport 600 runner-up. Richard Charlton in the new AC Racing squad. Allsop will ride his usual R1 Yamaha, while Charlton will be out for the first time on a Honda Fireblade.
Two youngsters, 26-year-old Jimmy Rose and Alex Olsen, 22, who will be racing for the Moto Breakers team in the British Superstock 1000 series, will be in action in the National 1000 class. Olsen, the 2014 Supersport EVO champion, raced once in last season’s Hottrax series, while Rose makes his Endurance debut.
T. Watson Bikes, Rick Dickinson and Tom Stephens, last season’s Clubman 1000 champions, will this year be running in the premier ACU National 1000 class.
The main rivals in last season’s National 600 championship look set to continue where they left off.
The 2014 champions, Team Edge beat arch rivals, Team Sorrymate.com, by just 28 points. Team owner Nick Edgeley has teamed up with Johnny Towers in his bid to retain the crown, while 2013 title holders, Sorrymate.com pin their hopes once again on Colin Norris and Warren Verwey.
The second Moto Breakers team, consisting of 21-year-old Tom Carne and Wayne Ryan who is just 19, will add some spice to the National 600 class. Both are making their debut in Endurance events. The young pair will contest the British Superstock 600 class this season.
Watch out for another interesting new team Fast Past Pits, made up of Lincolnshire brothers Harry and Matt Truelove.
Reigning Clubman 1000 champions Team Big Lads are back in action for 2015, but this time Joe Connolly and Bob Barton will be taking part in the new Modern Classic Endurance series on their big Aprilias.
Joining them in the Modern Classic Endurance category will be Peter Blomfield and Sean Scott as the Dirt Wash Racing squad. Blomfield was second in the Protyre Superbike series last year, with Scott fifth in the final table.
Phil Guillou is best known as a top 250GP racer, but this year he joins up with Larry Halliday in an Endurance team. Halliday competed in the Clubman 1000 class in 2014, but this season the pair will run under the banner of Council Racing on Triumph 675s in the Clubman 600 series. The plan is to run the full season, but that depends on the work commitments of Halliday, who works on the oil rigs.
Guillou has never raced in an Endurance event before, but more to the point he has never ridden a four-stroke. He spent last weekend (Mar 13 and 14) learning to ride his Daytona round the Kent circuit.
Last year there were three Team Army squads competing in the Hottrrax series. This season it is up to four, with Clubman 600 champions Team Army 2 moving up into the National 600 class and Team Army 1 and 3 remaining in the Clubman 1000 series.
Team Army 4, Andrew Day, Paul Godfrey and Leon Wilton make their Hottrax debut in the Rookie 600 competition.
There is a mixture of new and previous competitors in the support classes.
Christian Holt, winner of the Linxcel Pre-National 1000 series in 2014 moves up to the Powerbike 1000 series this season. He faces strong opposition including Steve Neate, who was sixth in this event last season.
Stuart Dawson, who was fourth in the 2014 Motogrande Powersport 600 series, returns in a bid to do even better this season. Dawson along with Graham Hornby are also going to be competing in the ACU National 600 Endurance for the first time at Brands Hatch.
Amongst the opposition at Brands will be the very talented Sam Cox, the 23-year-old from East London on the Jack Lilley Triumph Daytona.
Nick Edgeley, owner of the Endurance Team Edge RST 1 will use the Powersport 600 series as extra track time.
Elwyn Fryer, the reigning Formula 400 champion, will return in a bid to retain his title. Last season’s runner–up Ray Petty is back on his Kawasaki 400.
Fryer and Petty will team up for the three hour Endurance race on their nippy, but now elderly Kwackers, competing in the new Modern Classic class.
Owen Richardson the reigning Modern Classic Superbike champion, is hoping for an easier time this season. He had some cruel luck in 2014, but still took the title by a slender nine point’s margin.
Richardson will face tough opposition from Sean Scott, who was fifth last season, Ian Pattinson, who was tenth in 2014 and Joe Connolly, who moves up from the Superbike EVO championship.
Raymond Stagg faces an equally tough task to retain the Modern Classic Superbike EVO title he took in 2014.
Bob Barton and John Bolsover are among those who could give Stagg a run for his money.
With none of the top ten from last season’s Protyre Formula One lining up for the series this year, the path is open for a new champion. Darryl Holder could open a good lead at Brands.
David Stiff who was 4th in the 2014 Super Sport Pre-I returns for this season, with Rob Garland likely to do battle with him.
Garland will also race his Suzuki 650 in the Lightweight series.
Only Adam Shepherd out of the top 20 in last year’s Super Sport EVO lines up for the opening round of this season’s championship. Grant Collingwood will also be on the grid.
Johnny Towers, who partners Nick Edgeley in Team Edge’s National 600 Endurance squad, will be racing in the Super Twins for more track time.
Matt Lawson, last year’s Desmo Due Class A champion is out of this season’s series, leaving the men who filled second and third places in the competition Keven Ellis and Phil Daravulla, to battle for success.
It will not be easy for them though as the top three in last year’s Class B Championship, Andy Blomfield, Jim Brian and Andy Claridge are all moving up to take part in Class A.