The factory-backed Buildbase Suzuki team run by Hawk Racing (Steve and Stuart Hicken) will compete once again on Suzuki GSX-R1000R superbikes in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in 2021 and have today announced its riders with experienced British duo, Gino Rea and Danny Kent, on board replacing Kyle Ryde and Keith Farmer.
Tim Neave remains with the Mallory Park-based squad and will contest the National Superstock 1000 Championship.
31-year-old Rea originally joined the team as a substitute rider deputising for the injured Farmer mid-way through the compacted 2020 BSB season and has re-signed for 2021 having shown his credentials with an encouraging 4th place at Donington Park, just a shade away from his first BSB podium. He demonstrated consistency too by scoring points in 14 of the 15 races last year. Rea is the 2009 European Superstock 600 Champion and brings a wealth of experience to the team, having made his debut in BSB on a GSX-R1000R back in 2018. He’s competed in the Supersport World Championship, Moto2 and the FIM World Endurance Championship.
27-year-old Kent from Wiltshire brings experience from the world stage having won the 2015 Moto3 World Championship as well as dipping in and out of the British Superbike and Superstock championships over recent seasons. A debut, on a GSX-R1000R in 2018 saw a 12th place finish at the final race while a full season in Superstock 1000 last year resulted in Kent scoring one win and three further podium visits taking him to sixth in the final standings.
Finishing just five points ahead of Kent, in fifth place, was Tim Neave who remains in place with Buildbase Suzuki for 2021 and the young Lincolnshire man will compete again in the National Superstock 1000 championship having taken one win and a third-place finish during the 2020 season.
Rea said, “I’m really excited to be staying with Buildbase Suzuki for 2021. Hawk Racing is one of the oldest and most experienced teams in BSB and I’ve had a lot of respect for everyone involved since stepping into the championship, so I’m very thankful to Steve and Stuart for the opportunity to race for them again. Steve and Stuart are so passionate about their racing which makes it nice and a refreshing environment to be in. I’m looking forward to getting my head down and working hard to build on our results from 2020 and give the team the results they deserve.”
Kent said, “I’m really motivated and happy to be joining the Buildbase Suzuki team and I’m looking forward to riding the superbike. I think a lot of people will know that my career has had both the highest highs and the lowest lows in recent years, with 2019 being a particularly low point, so I’m really grateful to Steve and Stuart for this opportunity. Last year I had a good season in Superstock 1000, where I could spend more time learning how to get the best out of a 1000cc machine and prove to people I could still race a bike, and obviously I won at the last round. Moving to a superbike, I think my GP experience could mean I’ll manage quite well as I’m used to a stiffer chassis setup, racing swingarms, slicks, things like that, but I also know I still have a lot of learning to do; getting used to just the speed of the bikes, and some UK tracks I’ve either not been to or not raced at since 2007. But I also know I’m joining a team with a lot of experience and a proven record of winning races and championships. I’m setting expectations high: I’d like to be in the Showdown at the end of the year, so hopefully we can have a good winter and find a good direction with the bike setup, and I’m excited to get started.”
Neave said, “I’m over the moon to be staying with Buildbase Suzuki this year and I’m looking forward to another season on the GSX-R1000R. Remaining with the team fills me with confidence because I know we can build on a very successful 2020 that saw us take our first win together, and the goal this year is definitely to fight for the championship.”
Testing ahead of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike season is due to get underway on 13th April at Donington Park with the first of eleven triple-headers scheduled for 29th – 31st May at Oulton Park.