Local lads' home comfort hopes
Local boys Scott Smart, Dennis Hobbs, Paul Veazey and Michael Hill are looking for a haul of good results as the British Superbike Championship makes its annual visit to the North today.
And with riders in just about all of the classes, there will be plenty for North fans to cheer on when the racing gets underway this afternoon.
In the Superbikes Smart, No 88, will be the man to look for, onboard his claret and cream Vivaldi Suzuki machine. Scotty, who lives in York, has had a strange tendancy to qualify in 12th spot for pretty much every race this year, but will be hoping to repeat his race win in the wet at Donington earlier this season.
"Croft is a great track and one where I've always had a pretty good time," he said. "At the moment we're not sure what the weather is going to do, but I'm sort of half hoping it rains.
"I'm good in the wet, and the bike likes wet conditions as well, so we'll just have to see how it all works out."
Hobbsy, meanwhile, could prove to be a major player in the Supersport race. Riding the distinctive white and orange Padgett's Honda, No 25, Hobbs has long been regarded one of the masters of his home circuit, and will be chasing that first victory.
"After getting second at Knockhill I went to Oulton and got a fourth, but that race was the hardest of my life and the one I've felt more proud of," he admitted to Burning Rubber.
"I had to race flat out from start to finish, and even though I didn't get on the box, I came in and felt more satisfied with my riding than I ever have done. I think that was perhaps the best race I've ever had.
"Croft is a place where I've always had a good track record, and I know it probably better than anyone else out there.
"If we've got a good pace this weekend there's absolutely no reason why we can't be up there at the front, and the win is definitely what I'm aiming for."
Paul Veazey has not had the best of seasons in his first year in the Superstock championship, but the 20-year-old from Teesside is hoping to finally get a good result. Veazey rides the green Astro Kawasaki machine, No 33.
"I love Croft, it's my home track and I've done all right everytime I've raced here, so I'm looking forward to it.
"This season has been pretty difficult so far, but there has to be a turning point in the year for me, and I'm hoping Croft could be where it happens. Fingers crossed we'll go well here."
Michael, originally from Norton but now living in London, is hoping to improve on the 14th place he got in the last round of the 125cc championship. Riding No 19, Hill has been excited about coming home all year.
"I've been pretty much counting down to Croft, I've really been excited about it because it's a chance to come home. I also love the track.
"I think it's a great circuit, very challenging and demanding, and I'm looking forward to gettin out there and trying to get an even better result than last time."
Krystal clear Chris
Gateshead's Chris Coates has been thrown a lifeline after getting a one-off ride with one of the top teams in the Superstock paddock.
Coates was left without a ride when his team Q Motosport vanished without a trace last month, and had thought his season was over. But Krystal Racing Space Air have stepped in and given him the chance to ride one of their Yamaha R1s after one of their regular riders decided not to race.
Chris got the call on Monday, and admitted that he's thrilled to get the chance to ride at Croft. "After the disappointments of the season so far I've finally got the chance to get out with a proven team on a proven bike on a track where things should go well," he said.
"To be honest, I thought my season was over after the disaster I had with Q Motosport, and I had pretty much given up for this year and was just concentrating on getting the funds together and sorting something out for next year.
"But Tony and the guys at Krystal have been great. They've helped me out quite a bit already this year, and I couldn't believe it when he called last week to ask if I wanted to race for him at Croft. They're one of the best teams in the championship and the bike is absolutely great."