Simon's Superbike dream

The world of British Superbikes is not a cheap or easy place to reach as a team, but Stowmarket's Simon Benbow is hoping to prove that it can be done - from scratch - in five years.

Stuart Watson

The world of British Superbikes is not a cheap or easy place to reach as a team, but Stowmarket's Simon Benbow is hoping to prove that it can be done - from scratch - in five years.

STUART WATSON spoke to the 30 year-old entrepreneur about his ambitious plans for the future with the newly formed SJB Racing.

SIMON Benbow loves motorbikes.

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He loves them so much in fact that last year he and his friend Mark Stinton decided they wanted to build a team capable of entering the British Superbikes.

The only problem was that the two of them didn't know how to change a tyre, let alone have the first clue about starting a team.

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If you happened to hear his grand visions down the pub on a Friday night you would dismiss them as simply yet another man's pipedream.

However, those that know the 30-year-old know better than to dismiss his dangerous spontaneity.

This is a man who, after spending eight years in the banking industry, decided on a whim to go self-employed and start his own landscape design business.

“I had a holiday, which was a rare thing at the time, and just decided on the spur of the moment that I wanted to do something different,” says Benbow very casually.

The risk paid off though and, after success with another painting business, he turned his hand to property development with yet more triumph.

“Everything I do is calculated to a certain extent, but generally if I want to do something I will make sure I do it.” You simply cannot fail to get swept along with his enthusiasm.

So far his energy has already got him off to a solid start in the Superbike dream. From literally no experience and resource, Benbow and Stinton have convinced major manufacturer Bracken KTM to give them two 990cc bikes and have attracted three top riders to SJB Racing.

The pair can now not only change a tyre, but also rebuild an engine. In addition Benbow has made valuable American contacts, while he has also developed GPS data logging for the team.

As a result, in their first full season, SJB Racing are already supporting the Bennetts British Superbikes in the KTM Superduke Battle and are being tipped as potential champions.

Explaining how it all started, Benbow said: “Me and my friend Mark (Stinton) go to the British Superbikes every year and we began to wonder whether there was a way for general punters like us to get into it as a team.

“Through my work as a property developer I happened to meet a solicitor called Matt Flynn on a corporate golf day and it turned out that he had given up motorbike racing just two years ago.

“He invited me to go a watch a friend of his called Ryan Harris race in a BSB Superstock meet and suddenly, watching things at the bottom end of the sport, everything seemed so much more achievable.”

By chance a slot at that very time became available in the KTM Superduke Battle at the 2007 Moto GP in Donnington and it was at that moment that SJB Racing was formed.

“We went out and bought all the gear; the bike, van, caravan, tools and flooring at around £25,000, and turned up very much as the poor guys of the paddock,” said Benbow.

“Matt (Flynn) raced well though and, as a result, we were invited over to Hungary to race in KTM's Battle of the Nations. After that we continued to race in the Superduke Battle for the final four rounds.”

With the season over in October, the trio of Benbow, Stinton and Flynn sat down and surveyed their whirlwind progress.

“I like a challenge and so that is when I came up with the five year plan of making the Superbikes,” Benbow explains in blazè fashion, but, as with much of what Benbow says, it doesn't take long for his fanciful ideas to be backed up by a ruthless businessman's head.

“The Superduke field is very strong - it has around six or seven ex-Superbike riders in it - so we decided that if we wanted to push on that Matt (Flynn) shouldn't continue riding.

“By this point we had already attracted a fair bit of interest in what we were trying to and, after the Bracken KTM dealer agreed to supply us with two bikes, we were able to persuade BMW endurance rider Richard Cooper to join us.

“The second rider to join was Ryan Harris, the very guy I had gone and watched with Matt.”

With the huge coup of Cooper, a man who is more used to racing at the likes of Le Mans and Daytona, SJB Racing are being tipped as potential championship challengers in their first full season.

Benbow, who also plays guitar in a band called The Dirty Angels during his hectic schedule, said: “Long term I would like this to be my full-time job. Being rich doesn't matter to me, I just want to be doing something I love.

“It's a constant battle, but the dream is to build ourselves up to the standard of a Stobart or Honda.

“I think we'll do it, but if we don't we'll certainly have a lot of fun along the way.”

So far SJB Racing have attracted sponsorship from Hudson Signs, Norwich Camping & Leisure, Loophole and Multi Power Sports Drinks.

If you would like to help support the team's journey, or would simply like more information on SJB Racing, please visit:

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