Belfast Telegraph

Danny Buchan determined to shine in Sunflower Trophy title defence

By Paul Lindsay

Reigning Sunflower Trophy champion Danny Buchan is counting down the days to this year's end-of-season event at Bishopscourt, where the British Superbike young gun will be hoping to defend his title.

The BeWiser Kawasaki BSB rider said: "I've been keeping an eye on the Northern Ireland weather, but wet or dry, I love the event and the people, and with it being the last race of the year for me I can really go out and enjoy myself."

Buchan has shown tremendous speed this year on his return to the British Championship's premier class after winning last season's Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc title.

Yes his early season has been littered with a number of high-speed incidents, but the Essex boy is the first to raise his hand and acknowledge his mistakes.

"We've had the pace all year and having to push did cause a few silly crashes, but we are learning," said the 22-year-old, who has steadied the ship in recent rounds with two podiums at Oulton Park, with only one non-finish in the past seven outings.

"Crashing is an expensive and a painful way to learn, but I feel we can now run in the top 10 consistently, as we have been showing recently.

"The podiums at Oulton are a reflection of the hard work from the entire team."

Looking ahead to the Sunflower on October 23-24, Buchan added: "I've five more races to concentrate on to finish the BSB season at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, then my focus will be entirely on the Sunflower.

"Firstly, I want to retain the Sunflower Trophy.

"I also really want the lap record that we were chasing last year and with having a Superbike at my disposal this year for the Sunflower, I think that's achievable."

No one has retained the Sunflower crown since Michael Laverty completed four consecutive triumphs in 2005, before adding his fifth and sixth wins in 2007 and 2010.

But Buchan is hoping for a top line-up to compete against at the end of next month.

"The event needs a little boost again like the days when the Sunflower had the likes of Jonathan Rea, Ian Lowry and Michael Laverty on the grid, so I'd hope they can secure the likes of (Alastair) Seeley at the very least," he said.

"I've had a look at his lap times from last week's Irish championship, so yeah, I'd like to race against Seeley at the Sunflower. Hopefully Philip Neill brings the Tyco (BMW) team."

Tyco BMW's Seeley is hungry for a Superbike ride at the Sunflower, where ironically the double British champion and 15-time North West 200 winner is yet to get his hands on Jim Finlay's famous trophy.

The Carrickfergus racer took his Superstock specification Tyco BMW S1000RR to Bishopscourt last weekend and all but cruised to two wins, despite having a couple of teething problems,

The 36-year-old's main focus in the coming weeks will be on challenging fellow Ulsterman Josh Elliott for the British Superstock 1000cc crown, but after that battle has been decided, the Sunflower's top prize will be firmly in his sights.

Young Elliott, who currently leads the British Stock 1000 series by 17 points, is also a target for the organising Hillsborough club, so thing are certainly hotting up for the October event which will bring the curtain down on the 2015 season.

Belfast Telegraph


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