EHA Racing Aprilia mounted Joe Collier, took his debut win for the Irish team, which was also his first in the Pirelli National 1000cc Superstock class, last time out at Snetterton – moving the rookie into second place in the 2018 series standings aboard the In Competition prepared RSV4 RF.
Very much the quiet thinking man’s racer, the 24-year-old full time electrician and part time racer, very much signalled his championship credentials with that Norfolk victory on the Jewson and KGN backed EHA Racing Aprilia, which he is having a lot of fun riding.
“Yeah the Aprilia is a great package and the EHA Racing team do a great job putting the whole job together for me,” said Collier, who is developing a tangible propensity for Italian two-wheeled hardware, having won last season’s Ducati Cup series.
Last season the mild-mannered Leicestershire based rider had a couple of Stock 1000 outings on BMW machinery at Oulton and Brands Hatch towards the end of the season, and his experienced stand-in crew chief for those races Phil McLaughlin, said straight away, ‘that kid will win races in the Superstock class’.
Collier is racing under the watchful eye of Ian Newton, the former racer [and owner at In Competition who prepare the bike], who is Aprilia UK’s racing guru, as well as the ‘maestro di corse’ on the Superstock side of the EHA Racing garage. So young Collier is in very good hands within Edward and Gail Allingham’s EHA Group supported team.
Just thirteen points behind championship leader Billy McConnell [2014 British Supersport Champion], and five ahead of Tyco BMW’s Keith Farmer, the reigning British Supersport Champion and former Superstock 1000cc series winner and Juniorstock champion, it would be fair to say Joe in racing in pretty decent company this season.
If we add in his EHA Racing team-mate Andy Reid, who is also a race winner this season, with two top-steps in the class, and former championship Alastair Seeley and Josh Elliott also on the grid, Joe should feel pretty satisfied with the opening seven races of 2018.
“It’s probably gone a bit better than even I expected,” he said honestly. “The depth of field in the class is there for all to see, so to have come in and done so well, is satisfying for sure. But we need to keep going in the same direction and keep ourselves in title contention.”
Having ridden the BMW at the back end of last season, Joe also tested the In Competition prepared Aprilia RSV4 RF at Oulton park with Ian Newton on the spanners, and despite less than perfect conditions, his mind was immediately made up for 2018.
“The RSV4 RF Aprilia is an easier bike to ride and an easier bike to race,” he said candidly. “Once you have it set-up to your liking it seems effortless. It’s only when you are racing with others, that you realise how good the power delivery is and how well the chassis works. So yes, I’m pleased I’ve gone down the Aprilia route and delighted to be working with EHA Racing,” he said unequivocally.
Speaking of Edward and Gail Allingham’s team with the Irish heart, which is based in Essex and the bikes being prepared in Lancashire – with team members from all over the UK and Northern Ireland he said: “It’s a great team atmosphere. Everyone gets on and so far, it has been magic. It’s an Irish team for sure, but I think on race weekends the Irish are outnumbered two-to-one, so we have some good laughs.”
Of his crew chief, he added: “Ian [Newton] is obviously a big help and I’m really enjoying working with him. It’s a big team effort for sure; Ian is the Aprilia guru and is well supported by the lads on both my side of the garage and Andy’s. It’s working well, and everyone wants to win.”
Speaking of his new team-mate Andy Reid, whose gregarious personality is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Joe’s quiet approach, he added: “Andy and I get along really well. We are complete opposites but that seems to work. On track we have both been right up there and that’s great for everyone at EHA Racing and for Aprilia. Of course, you want to beat your team-mate – that’s for sure – but we also don’t want to be knocking each other off, so it’s nice to have strength in numbers challenging Billy and Keith this season.”
Joe was at the International North West 200 for the first time supporting Alastair Seeley on the EHA Racing Supersport machine recently, and loved every minute of it, but his focus is now fully on the next round at Knockhill on July 6/7/8th, where he believes he can again challenge for the top step.
“I do think Knockhill will be a good circuit for the Aprilia,” he said of the In Competition prepared EHA Racing RSV4 RF. “Yes, I think the usual contenders will be up there, and I’ll expect to see a few others like maybe Seeley and Elliott joining the battle, but that’s what makes the class so interesting for the fans. But I’m sure Andy and I will be doing our best to put both EHA bikes on the podium.”
Joe was taking to Paul Lindsay