How would you sum up your season so far?
It’s been a great start. I’ve been in the top ten every race apart from one when I had a technical problem which was a shame. The target at the start of the season was to carry on the momentum from last year and to try and get into the top six ready for the Showdown. We are playing the long game.
Would you rate this year’s BSB line-up as the strongest ever?
It’s always strong and it always throws up a few surprises. Last year there were seven different winners in the first eight races. Shane Bryne has dominated so far but if you look at the line-up things can change. James Ellison and Ryuichi Kiyonari have come back to the Championship. ‘Kiyo’ hasn’t had a lightning start but you never know with him, something with suddenly click and he’ll be winning races again. Josh Brookes is definitely a championship contender this year alongside Alex Lowes so it is as strong as it has ever been. There are also a lot of riders on fast bikes who will need time to learn how to ride those bikes. I think the boys who have made a strong start still have a bit of momentum from last year having rode the same bike.
Having started racing almost 20 years ago, are you still enjoying competing?
I love it. I’m in a lucky position in many ways. Nowadays I don’t get paid to ride a motorbike so I don’t have the pressure on me that I would have had in the past. I’m doing it because I love it and I ride for a great little team. The result we had last year together as a team has given us another year of racing and I am going to grasp that with both hands and do a good job for them.
This weekend’s round is at Oulton Park and you won a race here last year. Does this circuit hold fond memories for you?
It’s one of the most exciting tracks you’ll ever race around in the world, let alone in England. The crowd always turn out in their droves to support the BSB. It’s one of the most enjoyable races of the year and we’re lucky enough to go there a couple of times during the season. I was fortunate last year because conditions played into my hands. I was hoping for a podium and it turned into a win which was absolutely mega after more than a decade of a BSB winning drought. The forecast looks good and I’m so excited.
Michael Rutter will be making his 400th BSB appearance this weekend, is he someone riders in the grid look up to?
It’s immense and people probably don’t know this but when I first started racing I was on a race school and Michael Rutter was my instructor! That’s how long he’s been doing it and he’s been a true professional all those years and somebody that a lot of people have admired, including me. I’m honoured to be on the grid next to him. I think I have a few more races to go yet before I get to 400 but it would be nice to think I can race for a few more years and catch him up.
Chris Walker is the rider of the Dickies Number 9 in the 2013 MCE British Superbike Championship. Watch all the race day action LIVE on British Eurosport 2 HD from 12.30pm on Monday 6 May.
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