Christian Iddon’s racing career is probably far more decorated than you initially realise, and in 2015 he will ride for the new Halsall Suzuki team aboard a GSX-R1000 prepared with the expertise of Jack Valentine. He popped in for a chat before jetting off to Spain to begin testing for the forthcoming season.
2015 will be Christian Iddon’s first full season in British Superbikes after a development role last season in the world championship, and World Supersport, British Supersport, and British Superstock rides before that. Not to mention the nine British Supermoto championships and school boy motocross antics growing up. But road racing was always the end goal.
“The plan had always been to go road racing,” Christian Iddon explains. “I’d done motocross growing up and won me a British championship. But I was never going to be world champion. I wanted to go road racing but it was too expensive, so supermoto was a way to go road racing without going road racing.
“But the plan was never to do supermoto for as long as I did, but I got quite good so I kept at it. I got nine British championships, but the plan was always to go road racing.”
Iddon took his first steps into road racing in 2008 with one outing in the junior superstock series, eventually making the switch full time in 2010. Stints in British and World Supersport followed, which all yielded podium finishes, as well as World Superbikes, but the chance to ride for Suzuki in BSB after losing a ride on the world stage was too good to pass up.
“The move to BSB came quite late to be honest. It was very late in the day when I started to explore options and obviously there’s not many championships I wanted to look at. There was obviously World Superbikes, and BSB is just about one of the only national championships I wanted to look at simply because of how good it is and kudos of it.
“How strong it is as a championship doesn’t make it easy for a rider, you could be better off in another championship if you just wanted to walk in and do well. BSB is one of the top ones.
“I’d been milling around the paddock and I’d spoken to Jack [Valentine] just out of courtesy initially, letting him know I was around, then he phoned up and implied how things were looking with Suzuki, which was a big game changer for me. There are lots of teams in the championship who are all good but there’s not a lot to choose between them but Suzuki’s involvement elevated the option above the rest and tone of conversation changed. I was definitely keen. And the link between Jack and Suzuki was big for me. He’s been around and knows the score.”
With the opening round now not too far away, the team have a detailed testing programme ready, when Iddon will get his first chance to swing a leg over the team’s GSX-R1000 superbike. But he’s also keeping himself handy with some winter fitness work.
“The team have a predetermined test plan,” Iddon explains. “The first day will be a bit of a shakedown for the bike and for me, a chance for me to get my head back into gear. I’ve not raced since Assen last year.
“But I’ve been riding over winter. I’ve got one of the new RM-Z450s that’s going to be getting some hammer. So I’ve been riding plenty to get my head and body back up to speed.
“I’ve ridden a bit of trials too over winter. I ride any bikes I can get out on and with the winter we’ve had it’s been a lot of trials. But I get so bored riding trials because I’m rubbish and it’s too slow. After half and hour riding trials bikes over rocks I get bored. I rode one around my mate’s motocross track and had a go at clearing these doubles. That was more like it.
“But I’m going out to Spain to get some motocross, supermoto and some dirt track practice in and work on my fitness.”
With testing set for March, Iddon’s confident, if a little coy, about his expectations this season.
“I’m confident about the season ahead, definitely. But I don’t like to say what my specific goals or targets are to be honest. But I’m confident that the bike and team is more than capable. Everyone’s seen what Josh Brookes did on it and he came close to the title on a number of occasions. And last year – okay it was a steady start – but what Josh Waters was doing on it in the wet and in the dry at the end of the year shows it’s easily more than capable.
“I’ve been on development bikes the last couple of years and this certainly isn’t that so we can hit the ground running. We have a good test plan, Jack knows his Suzukis and he knows his stuff, so we’re good to go.”