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Dan Kneen aiming high in 2012

Sat, 04 Feb 2012  14:48


Kneen aiming high in 2012

Leading Isle of Man rider Dan Kneen is aiming high for 2012 and has switched to Suzuki power in all classes as he and the Marks Bloom Racing team launch an assault on both the International road races and the Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship.

The 24-year old will campaign both GSXR1000 and GSXR600 Suzuki machines during the season and will receive technical support from TAS Racing as he bids for glory on both the short circuits and the roads. He’s no stranger to the GSXR though having ridden both a K7 and K9 Superstock bike in previous years but it will be his first time on the 600cc version, having enjoyed success during the last four seasons on an R6 Yamaha.

Since becoming the first rider to win a hat-trick at the Manx Grand Prix, a feat he achieved in 2008, Kneen’s credentials have gone from strength to strength. On the roads the Braddan rider has become a regular fixture in the top ten at the Isle of Man TT, despite being up against much better financed teams, with a best result to date of 5th in the 2010 Supersport A race, as well as doing similar at the North West 200 and Ulster GP becoming the fastest newcomer in history at the latter when he lapped at over 129mph in 2010.

Meanwhile, he’s also established a reputation for himself in the British Championship paddock having taken 4th in the 2009 Metzeler National Superstock 600cc Championship and a close 2nd in the following years British Supersport Cup. For 2011, Kneen moved into the British Superbike Evo Championship on one of the all-new ZX-10R Kawasaki’s where, despite missing much of the early season due to injuries sustained in a testing spill at Jurby, he went on to score points in 8 of the rounds with a best finish of 4th at Brands Hatch.

It will be the 4th consecutive season that Marks Bloom, Chartered Accountants and Insolvency Practitioners in Kingston upon Thames, have supplied machinery for Kneen whilst other major sponsors of the team in 2012 include WEMOTO, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of on-line motorcycle parts, Slick Performance and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

A test programme is scheduled for early March with the main focus again being the Isle of Man TT Races and the Superstock Championship the chosen series for the short circuits. Other events on the calendar are the North West 200, Southern 100 and Ulster Grand Prix and Kneen is aiming firmly at stepping onto an International road race podium for the first time.

Speaking about the season ahead, Kneen said: “It’s great to have everything all in place so early and I can’t wait for the new season to start. Having new machinery is a terrific boost to all of us and we should be able to raise our game considerably. I’ve ridden Suzukis before and gone well and receiving support from the TAS Racing team will only strengthen our cause.”

“At the TT, I want to go quicker and improve my results so I’ve been doing more homework on the course and concentrating on learning it a bit more. I’ve done good lap times so far but it was a bit of a struggle on the big bike last year and I had to roll off in places so there’s definite time to be gained. The 600cc class is where I’ve had my best results but I was a bit unlucky last year as I was running 4th in the first race before it got stopped and 3rd in the second before the same thing happened but these things happen. It will be nice to be on a new 600 machine and if I could get a podium, that would be superb.”

“I’m really looking forward to contesting the Superstock Championship as well and the plan is to be running up the front from the off. 2011 was a tough year in the BSB Evo Championship but I learnt a lot and the Suzuki should be very competitive so I’m confident I can give a good account of myself.”

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