HADDINGTON’S Paul McClung has bid farewell to the club racing scene as he prepares for a full season in the British championships.
The Scottish favourite will contest the full Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship this year, which runs as part of the British Superbike Championship support programme.
The move follows a strong rookie season in Thundersport GB’s GP1 Elite series, where he notched up a string of wins and podium finishes to end the year in the runner-up spot, beaten only by double champ Lee Williams.
And this year he will take the next natural step, and will enter the UK’s top Superstock championship with his family-run team, once again fielding the BMW.
Last year, he scored points as a wildcard entry at Knockhill, where he chalked up two top 20 finishes, and this year he aims to pick up where he left off.
“I enjoyed Knockhill, I had a good couple of races there and I learnt a lot in just one weekend,” he told UK Clubsport. “The pace is very fast and there are a lot of very good riders, but I’m confident I can get in there and mix it with them.”
McClung’s full-time arrival in the BSB paddock comes a year later than initially hoped, but he feels now is the right time.
“The plan was to do it last year but I thought it might be too big a step so we decided to run in the Thundersport GP1 series instead. It was a chance to get to know the bike better, and also for me to learn some of the tracks.
“Coming from Scotland, I hadn’t ridden many of the southern circuits so it gave me a good chance to get to know them so they won’t be a shock when we go back.
“I feel now I’ve had a year on the bike, raced at more of the tracks and already scored points, I’d like to come in and be finishing around the top 15 and then aim for the top 10 as the season progresses.”
As a multiple Scottish champion, with everything from F125s to Supertwin and 600 titles to his name, the big move sadly means he won’t be a regular on home turf this year.
“I’d like to try and do a few Scottish rounds here and there, but I want to get some track days in on the weekends when we aren’t racing. I need to concentrate on the British series, so the focus is on doing whatever I can to be the best I can there.
“If I can get some local rounds in I will, but we’ll just to see how it goes – and how the budget is looking!”
*Main and action image: Jennifer Charlton
*Bottom image: Paul McClung