TEENAGE motorcycle racer Josh Corner is hoping for a good 2016 campaign after starting the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at Silverstone last weekend.
The 19-year-old, from The High Road, South Shields is set for a full season in the high profile championship which runs as part of the support package for the MCE British Superbike Championship.
After being sidelined for most of 2015 when a sponsor let him down and having to make deal with just except for three stand-in rides, the youngster has signed a deal to ride a new 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R machine with the NEI Motorsport team.
And he took to the track at the weekend for the first race, finishing a creditable 25th.
“It’s been a fantastic few weeks since I signed for NEI Motorsport, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind but we’ve all been working hard to get in the best place possible before the season starts,” he explained.
“Last season I managed to get three outings in Superstock 1000 which was never what I’d planned. I’d hoped to stay on the 600 a bit longer but as soon as I got on the 1000 last spring I just gelled with it instantly.
“This year I knew I wanted to be in Superstock 1000 full time, and I spoke to a few people. When I heard there was a chance of joining the NEI squad I jumped at it. They’re a really good team and they take it very seriously which is just what I was looking for.”
Corner had his first taste of his new machine at Cartagena in Spain last month before heading to Valencia for more track time. Then he returned to the colder climes of the UK to take part in the official BSB test at Silverstone.
“For me, being with a team which so committed is just incredible. Testing is always vital but it’s something that you don’t always get a lot of because of cost or because the team is too busy or whatever.
“What I loved instantly about this team was that they were as keen as I was to be out on track as much as possible. It’s given us all a chance to work together and most important, it has given me hours of track time, and the chance to really learn more about the bike, what its strengths and weaknesses are and where my strengths and weaknesses are too.”
And after getting the first race out of the way, Corner is now hoping that alongside his Essex team-mate Jesse Trayler, he can push for higher placings as the campaign develops.
He added: “The start of a new season is always exciting, but this is probably the most prepared I’ve ever been.
“I’m really happy that I’ve been able to take my trusted mechanic Martyn Phillips with me to the team and I’m feeling more confident than ever.
“This year the grid for Stock 1000 is something else. It has some very strong riders in there and I think we all know how hard it is going to be but I can only go out and do my best.
“I’m going to be throwing everything I have at it this year, I’ve got a strong team-mate and we’ll be pushing each other all the way.
“I’m hoping I can get a little bit of silverware before the end of the year.”