Top rookie joins Team WFR to boost 2012 British Superbike chances

James Westmoreland of WF Racing
James Westmoreland of WF Racing
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OSSETT-based motorsport team WFR may have one rider closing in on a national title but they already have one eye on the 2012 British Superbikes Championships (BSB).

Glen Richards, of Team WFR Honda, could win the BSB Evo Championship at Donington this weekend if he wins both his races and second-placed Barry Burrelll fails to score any points.

His potential title success, which has seen him finish on the podium in 16 out of the 19 races so far, would top off a fine campaign for WFR.

The team’s other rider, Graeme Gowland, is sitting in third in the standings ahead of Round 10 at Donington Park this weekend and could go even better before the end of the season.

But they’re not resting on their laurels and have recruited ex-Supersport front runner and Superbike rookie James Westmoreland to assist with the WFR 2012 development programme.

Westmoreland’s arrival at WFR will see the team return to having a three rider line-up for this weekend’s meeting in Leicestershire.

He will specifically help the Ossett team evaluate the performance of new regulation engines in their existing Evo superbike chassis ahead of the 2012 campaign.

Team WFR have yet to decide whether to continue with the Honda Fireblade engine that has brought them success this year.

But WFR managing director Myles Schofield is delighted to have Westmoreland on board to help assess their options for 2012.

“Obviously we have been delighted with the Honda Fireblade this year and our relationship with Honda Racing UK is excellent,” he said.

“It would be a big decision not to continue into 2012 with them but at the moment we have not finalised our plans. In any case, the current Evo bike will not have currency going forwards so it makes sense to develop a 2012 version as soon as possible.

“As it was, we had been hoping that either Glen or Graeme would be in a position to work on next year’s bike, but with Glen on the brink of the Championship and Graeme showing so much form on his current Evo bike, we have decided to let them continue in 2011 guise for the time being.

“It really is a stroke of luck that James has come available and although we had a number of potential candidates who could have stepped in to do the job, it was his known ability, knowledge of the circuits and an express agreement to approach the project in the right manner that led to him getting the ride.”

Although looking to end 2011 with title success for Richards, Team WFR is already looking to put together the strongest possible rider line-up to push for podiums and race wins in a one-class BSB grid next year.

The Australian rider can wrap-up the title this weekend but his biggest chance is likely to come in the penultimate round of the season at Silverstone at the end of the month.

Richards secured the British Supersport Championship with Embassy Racing in 2008 and will be looking for more joy at the famous circuit should he not leave Donington with the title.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.