Flying the flag | 6 riders to boost Britain's waning WorldSBK numbers

Britain's once healthy representation in WorldSBK will be halved again for 2022... so which homegrown would-be superstars are poised to form the next wave?

Rory Skinner - FS-3 Kawasaki

There was a time not long ago that Britain’s domination in WorldSBK - both in terms of success and grid numbers - was almost embarrassing. 

Thriving on the back of a strong production-orientated domestic approach and providing a home for those who didn’t quite make it on the GP stage, the abbreviation ‘GBR’ was everywhere you looked..

But in the year Jonathan Rea stands on the verge of ceding his WorldSBK crown for the first time in six years, British representation has whittled right down. Indeed, while Rea, Alex Lowes and Scott Redding ensures a quality trio to fly the flag in 2022, we will bid farewell to Tom Sykes, Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies.

With Turkey poised to celebrate its first WorldSBK Champion, more Spaniards incoming and Italy enjoying a resurgence too, who will be at the forefront of Britain’s next wave of WorldSBK stars?

Tarran Mackenzie

New British Superbike Champion Tarran Mackenzie 'should' have been heading to WorldSBK in 2022 but after his Go Eleven deal fell through, he will now defend his hard earned BSB title this year.

On the plus side, WorldSBK remains very much part of Mackenzie's 2022 schedule having confirmed at least three outings as wildcards (Donington, Assen and most likely Portimao) and while he doesn't have a 'confirmed' deal for 2023, a good showing on the upgraded McAMS bike will put him right in the window to become the latest BSB-to-WorldSBK star. 

Mackenzie has time on his side and is well liked by Yamaha itself having been kept on as its reserve if it ever needed one. With GP podium winning father Niall both in his corner and ear guiding him, Mackenzie has all the credentials to be another international success story for BSB.

Jake Dixon

While Jake Dixon’s unconventional move from BSB to Moto2 was admirable, things haven’t quite come together for the youngster, who mounted a shock BSB title challenge in 2018 on a privateer Kawasaki.

Though there have been flashes of form in the intermediate GP class, Dixon’s tendency to both crash and injure himself has stopped him from really making the impression he perhaps needs to come good on hopes of becoming Britain’s next MotoGP star. Nevertheless, he gets a fourth season in Moto2 this year with on a GASGAS-branded Kalex run by the Aspar team he made his GP debut with in 2019.

However, his rapid rise in BSB and now his experience of electronics and European circuits would surely make him an ideal candidate for WorldSBK if given the chance.

Rory Skinner

There is a lot of buzz around Rory Skinner and it is not hard to see why. Once touted for international success by plying his very junior days in Spain, Skinner - still only 18 - instead returned to the UK, trounced everyone in British Supersport in 2020 and proved competitive in his first year of BSB.

A double podium winner on home soil at Knockhill, that performance bodes well for his second BSB season with FS-3 Kawasaki in 2021 when he will have experience on his side this time. 

Given teams in WorldSSP were chasing him for 2021, expect WorldSBK teams to chase him for 2023.

Tommy Bridewell

So… Tommy Bridewell is not in the first flush of youth. But he is one of the few riders that seems to get better with age. Always considered a rider with good potential but with a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Bridwell has shone on Ducati machinery these past couple of years.

It’s easy to forget Bridewell spent time on the European stage in Superstock, while his impressive results as a stand-in for Eugene Laverty at Go Eleven Ducati in 2019 showed what he could do if given the chance.

Whether he wants to is a different matter, with Bridewell admitting he finds it hard to adjust to WorldSBK’s electronics, but he is one rider that surely deserves a willing chance.

Danny Kent

We’ll gloss over some of the more unsavoury aspects of Danny Kent’s career collapse in the years after winning the 2015 Moto3 World Championship, but his discipline in rebuilding it since deserves credit.

This year Kent made his Superbike debut with Buildbase Suzuki and proved a match for Gino Rea, scoring a podium on the dated Suzuki GSX-R1000R just before a crash and a hip injury curtailed his season.

One to watch if he gets another BSB deal in 2022, Kent’s international experience could make him an attractive choice for 2023.

Tom Booth-Amos

The British flag isn’t just flying lower in WorldSBK. There is currently no representation in WorldSSP and just the one in WorldSSP 300. 

Fortunately that one rider - Tom Booth-Amos - was competitive, finishing runner-up in 2020 to put the disappointment of his Moto3 foray in 2019, where he ended the year with the ignominious title of crashing more than any other GP rider.

Finding his groove in production racing, Booth-Amos could become Britain’s next low-fi riser through the ranks of the WorldSBK support programme.