Kieran Clarke will undertake his biggest racing challenge to date this weekend, as he competes in the first round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone on Sunday [28 March].

At only 18 years of age, the youngster has secured himself a ride with Colin Appleyard's renowned team, which will run a factory-supplied Yamaha R1.

Clarke started riding competitively at the age of seven and gained many British motocross championship titles before a spate of serious injuries forced him to hang up his boots and focus on road racing. In 2002, he competed in six rounds on the British Junior Superstock series, fighting tough battles and securing valuable results along the way.

Last season, Clarke completed his first full season on a road bike in the fiercely competitive R6 Cup series set up by Virgin Yamaha team manager Rob McElnea. With each rider competing on a standard R6, the series was targeted at aspiring champions aged between 18-22, and Clarke's confidence and skills grew stronger as gained better results.

His first win came at Rockingham Motor Speedway at the beginning of July, in what was later described as one of the best races of the year. That success gave Clarke a taste for winning and made him more eager to go out and do it again. Running alongside the Donington Park Moto GP an in front of 80,000 people, in July, he dominated both support races and, never stepping off the podium thereafter, he managed to finish third overall in the championship. And his good year didn't finish there, either, as, in December, he was named as the ACU Academy Rider of the Year.

This season now brings a new task for Clarke and his team as he prepares himself for the big step into the fiercely competitive British Superbike Championship. Labelled as one of the toughest national championships in the world, having produced world champions such as Neil Hodgson and Troy Bayliss, Clarke is eager to be a part of the action.



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