BIKE legend James Whitham insists Stuart Easton has the talent to go right to the top – but only if he can get Lady Luck back on his side.
The Hawick rider looked all set to have his best-ever year in the British Superbike Championship this season as he had climbed up to third in the standings after the first three rounds of racing. But a dreadful crash at the North West 200 in May that saw the 28-year-old suffer multiple injuries including broken legs and a fractured pelvis, ruled him out for the year.
And, while Easton has been in hospital beginning the long road back to recovery, Shane Byrne, Tommy Hill and John Hopkins have been gearing up for the Showdown for the title, starting this weekend at Donington Park.
But former British champion Whitham is adamant that if MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider Easton were still fit and racing this year, he would be more than a match for all three of them.
“Stuart’s still lying inside the top 15 in the BSB so that tells you everything you need to know about the guy and how he was riding,” said Whitham – speaking from the Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man.
“Stuart would have been an outside bet for me to win the whole thing this year if he was fit, he’d have certainly made it into the top six for the Showdown.
“He’s one of those blokes, like Steve Hislop in his time, that if things just click he can beat anyone, he’s that talented.”
n The 2011 Manx Grand Prix Festival features the Manx Classic and Two Day Trial, The VMCC Rally’s and Festival of Jurby and the Manx Grand Prix Races. For more information go to www.mgpfestival.com or for more information on visiting the Isle of Man go to www.visitisleofman.com