Glen Richards and Scott Smart are to make a surprise return to the MCE British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park this weekend after being called up to replace the injured Richard Cooper and Mitchell Carr at Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki.
Richards and Smart have amassed five national titles between them during their long careers, as well as accumulating 342 race starts, four wins and 16 podiums in BSB alone. They were also team-mates back in 2004 with Hawk Kawasaki.
Richards' return comes after he called time on his a successful career at the end of the 2013. Despite this, the Australian is looking forward to getting back onto a full Superbike having not competed in the series since 2011.
"I am really looking forward to getting out there again this weekend. I last rode a Superbike in 2011 and that was in Evo, so I think it will be a case of seeing what we can do this weekend. I am going into the weekend with an open mind and myself and Smarty are both going in at the deep end together so at least I am not a lone ranger!
"I really wanted to have a few rides this year, so to be out in Superbike again is exciting, even if it is a bit crazy to come back out straight away into a triple-header at Oulton Park! There is one thing I will say, though, and that is I don't care what happens as long as I beat Smarty!"
Having taken time out from racing to concentrate on his new role as technical director for the World Superbike Championship, Smart is excited to be returning to Superbike competition to ride the bike he was originally approached to compete on before his new job was offered.
"I am excited about the weekend because although I have ridden the bike for a handful of laps recently, I haven't raced since last year, but I suppose a baptism of fire is the best way! It isn't going to be easy, but I am looking forward to working with the team and Glen because this year is the tenth anniversary of us being team-mates at Kawasaki in 2004 and that in itself is cool.
“We both don't want to be beaten by one another, so we will be pushing each other on. I think both myself and Glen are of the belief that if you are going to do something you might as well commit yourself in style and where better than at one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar, Oulton Park!"
Smart and Richards replace Cooper and Carr, the former – who was in contention for a Title Showdown spot – injuring his wrist in a crash during qualifying at Thruxton, while the latter is yet to recover from injuries sustained in an accident at Snetterton.