British Superbike Champion John Reynolds heads to Knockhill for the eighth round of the 2002 Championship confident he can win the hearts of the Scottish racing fans - and two races to boot.

Reynolds won both races at the tricky but fast Knockhill track last year on his way to claiming the title. In 2002 he will be racing on the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike and wants to add to the single win he has earned this year at Brands Hatch in June.

As an extra boost to the Champion, he will be joined at Knockhill by fans-favourite and home GP legend Niall Mackenzie, who will be advising him from the pits on set-up and tactics. Also in the Reynolds corner will be Suzuki's 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz. The American hero is returning to the UK to attend this round on special request from Mackenzie and the circuit owners. He will be meeting the fans at the Suzuki Village, which makes its first appearance at the track, and is keen to put on a few demonstration laps riding a GSX-R1000.

Reynolds said: "Knockhill is a great track and the Scottish fans are amongst the best in the world. They know their racing and they have been kind to me in the past - their support helped me to a double victory last year and I'm sure they'll be cheering me on again on Sunday."

"Having Niall in the team will certainly help, this is the track where he learnt his trade and what he doesn't know about it isn't worth knowing. I'll be listening to his advice. And having Kevin along will be a bonus. We all know that on his day he was unbeatable and it'll be great to have him cheering for a Suzuki win."

A left-wrist injury means that Reynolds' regular team mate Karl Harris will have to miss the Knockhill round. The plucky Yorkshireman had hoped to make his return to racing at Knockhill but has wisely decided to sit it out and heal fully before racing a bike again. He will be back in contention for the podium at Thruxton in August. At Knockhill he will be replaced by Isle of Man TT hero David Jefferies, who recorded two top 10 finishes in the last round at Rockingham.

Jefferies noted: "It's a pleasant surprise that I'm getting another chance on the Superbike. One round wasn't enough if I'm honest. Just as I was building my confidence and speed, the weekend was over. I'll be starting from a better position at Knockhill and hoping to get into the top six."

Team manager Paul Denning concluded: "This is going to be a great weekend for Suzuki. Even though Niall is only our development rider and won't be racing, he will be a big favourite with the fans. Kevin is equally as popular and I'm sure their support will rub off on our two riders on the track and help them challenge for the podium."

"John has a good track record here and the Suzuki is continuing to improve on a race by race basis. It's won at Brands Hatch in the South and it's capable of winning at Knockhill in the north and no-one will be trying harder than John and his crew."

"It's disappointing that Karl isn't racing again but he will be trackside giving support. And we are very lucky to have a stand-in rider of David's abilities to call upon. I'm sure he'll do himself proud when the flag drops on Sunday."

Superbike racing starts at 1.30pm on Sunday July 7th.

 

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