Rory Skinner has rapidly ascended to the forefront of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship following his performances at Knockhill last weekend, when the rookies claimed a pair of podium finishes at only second event with the FS-3 Kawasaki team.
Skinner made his Bennetts BSB debut this season after a dominating title victory in last year’s Quattro Group British Supersport Championship, stepping up from competing as a privateer team with his father the year before, after taking the decision to join the class following title victory in the 2018 British Talent Cup.
“I never thought two years ago when we were running our own team in Supersport with a privateer Kawasaki, that now we would be standing on the podium at Knockhill with the factory Kawasaki team,” reflected Skinner. “That was never even on the horizon at that point; I suppose me and my Dad and everyone around me have always just taken it one-step at a time and race-by-race. We did look at the bigger picture, but it wasn’t the constant focus. We never put too much pressure on us, we just let me do the best job I could do and then see what happened from there.”
The podium was the first for the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR and the opening second place finish for Skinner was incredibly in only his fifth race in the Superbike class, showing his ability to rapidly adapt to the new challenge.
Speaking after reflecting on the past week, Skinner added: “Obviously getting the podiums on Sunday I knew there would be a reaction that would come with that, it has been hectic, but nice and I am so grateful for all the kind messages of support from people all over the world as well as in the paddock.”
Skinner had admitted before the weekend at Knockhill that he would have been happy with a top ten finish at the second round, but the young Scottish rider exceeded all expectations.
“The races were pretty crazy and with the schedule it was a hectic weekend, but it was the same for everybody,” reflected Skinner. “I said before the weekend that my goal was a top ten and that was a genuine, realistic target. I wasn’t underplaying it; if I had been in the top ten I would have been over the moon, the top five would have been amazing, but to be right in fighting for the win over 20-laps, I never ever thought that would happen!
“I am going to continue to keep taking it as it comes; there has never been any expectation or pressure, other than aiming for the top ten and then the top five, and then in the first race I had already achieved that, so the rest of the weekend was just a bonus!”
The Championship now heads to Brands Hatch for round three and the FS-3 Kawasaki rider is staying grounded despite his early season success.
“The confidence I have from Knockhill is awesome and a nice boost to competitively ride with the guys at the front," said Skinner. "For me if I can get in the Showdown that would be awesome, but it is still so early in the season and I have so much still to learn about the Superbike that I am under no illusions. I will give it everything I can and I have a great team around me, who will be giving me every opportunity.”