Superbikes: Linfoot out to scratch his seven-year podium itch
Dan Linfoot is determined to break his duck in the British Superbikes '“ and he has extra incentive heading into the 2017 calendar.
In seven years riding in the championship, Linfoot has yet to taste the champagne of a race victory despite producing a number of impressive rides at the front of the pack.
The 29-year-old, who lives in South Milford, came close to ending the long wait to take the chequered flag last season when he finished fourth in the standings – his highest finish to date.
His confidence has been given another shot in the arm over the winter with the release of a new bike by his former championship-winning team Honda Racing.
But it is away from the track where the additional drive to succeed has been delivered.
Linfoot’s first child was born last June and fatherhood has made for a few changes to his usual preparation over the winter period.
Linfoot said: “There’s been a different circumstance at home with the young ’un but that’s something that only drives you on to succeed in your work.
“It’s nice to come home to if you’ve had a bad meeting. The baby’s smile is the same whether you have had a good day or a bad day.
“The other thing is you just want to make them proud and support them.
“I love it.
“I feel as young as ever, I feel as healthy as ever and I feel as determined as ever to get the results required.”
The new arrival almost brought another new arrival to Linfoot’s house last year – in terms of a winner’s trophy.
Just a month after the birth, Linfoot came the closest yet to finding a place on top of the podium when he lost out in an intense battle with Liam Haslam at Knockhill by a mere 0.3 seconds.
It was the start of a positive finish to the calendar for the Knaresborough-born rider, who clawed his way back into the end-of-season showdown before finishing fourth in the standings.
“If I have another and it makes me faster again, I’ll keep having them,” Linfoot joked.
“It definitely has a positive on my desire and motivation.”
Seeing the chequered flag first remains Linfoot’s primary concern heading into the new season, which starts at Donington Park next weekend.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has been the dominant force on the grid in recent years, winning two of the last three championships.
The Londoner will start the season as favourite to retain his crown but Linfoot believes he has the potential to upset the odds and write his own piece of history.
He said: “I finished fourth overall last year so obviously I want to improve on that, be in the top three if not win it.
“Winning it is everyone’s goal. It’s a hard one to aim for but you have to aim for it.
“One thing is to get that first win, but it’s not just about that first win, it’s getting a few. I would be a little bit frustrated if I could only get one and couldn’t replicate it.
“The key is to win and to know what to do to win so you keep doing it.
“I would certainly like to have more podiums, more wins and go into the showdown with a much greater chance of winning the championship.”
Honda Racing’s commitment to design and built a new Fireblade machine has given Linfoot further confidence that 2017 will finally be the year he engraves his name onto a winner’s board.
Linfoot joined his team in Spain earlier this month for a final stint of pre-season testing ahead and has acknowledged the improvements made in the factory over the winter.
The new machine has five updates to its electronic system and boasts more power in the engine than any other bike Linfoot has ridden.
“It’s quite exciting for the team,” Linfoot said.
“They haven’t had something new like this for six or seven years.
“There’s 26 races in a season. You’re going to have your share of good luck and bad luck. We just need to be on 100 per cent on every round and in every session.”