Mark Heckles is eager to get his season back on track after an enormous crash ruled him out of contention for round six of the British Superbike Championship.

The 27-year-old Liverpudlian luckily escaped serious injury during the qualifying incident at Brands Hatch but is still feeling one or two aches and pains. Despite this, the hardy campaigner is now more than ready to tackle the challenges of Rockingham.

Rockingham (pictured) is Britain's newest motorsport venue, having only featured in the British Superbike calendar since 2001 and this weekend will be the first time that Heckles has visited the Northamptonshire circuit.

It will also be the first time that the Honda Racing VTR1000 SP-2 has been ridden on the meandering 1.74-mile track.

"It was really frustrating having to sit out the two races at Brands," said Heckles. "So I'm raring to get back on the Honda Racing VTR1000 SP-2 and make up for lost time. I've never even been to Rockingham - let alone competed there - but I've watched the races on TV and heard lots of good things about the place, so I'm really looking forward to it. I may not be 100 per cent fit just yet, but the bike is so strong and the team so focussed that I'm sure I can get a couple of good results on Sunday."

Team-mate Steve Plater is equally optimistic about his prospects for the weekend. Unlike his team-mate, the 30-year-old has previous experience of Rockingham and is aiming to build on the excellent podium finish he achieved at Brands Hatch.

"Rockingham is tight and twisty with chicanes and banked corners that are very fast," said Plater. "This can make it pretty tough to pass in a race situation but it's a good track and I really enjoy riding it. Last year was the first time I'd been there but I was still in the top four in every session, although I did crash in the races. I had a good result at Brands and the VTR1000 SP-2 is really starting to feel like my bike now, so I'm expecting to have a good weekend for Honda Racing."



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