By Philip Wain
The scenic Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire is the next stop on the British Superbike Championship calendar and the ‘Party in the Park’ should certainly live up to its billing this Bank Holiday weekend.
With its origins dating back to 1934, the circuit’s layout has remained almost untouched since 1962, the only change being the chicane just before the Mountain, and with its dips, crests, sharp changes in gradient and narrow in width, it was once nicknamed a mini-Nurburgring.
Without doubt, it’s one of the most unique circuits, not just in the UK, but in the world and whilst it may not have the infrastructure of other circuits, its place in the Championship is vital and with over 40,000 fans expected on Bank Holiday Monday, it remains the most popular meeting on the calendar.
Championship leader Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) currently enjoys a 25-point advantage over Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), with the gap 14 points in the podium credits, and with both having recently tested at the venue, they should again be the favourites for honours come race day. The duo are undoubtedly the class acts of the field and there’s no reason why this weekend should see any changes in that particular statement.
Further back, Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) is sitting in third overall with three podiums to his name and with Cadwell being the team’s local circuit, he should be even closer to the front and, possibly, repeat his win from Snetterton in July.
Despite a disastrous meeting last time out at Brands Hatch, Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) still sits in fourth overall but two points at the Kent venue was a poor return especially after he’d won prior to that at Thruxton. Consistency is clearly an issue but if it all comes right on race day, the Northern Irishman should be in the hunt.
Cadwell and the next round at Oulton are the final two rounds before the Showdown commences so that gives the riders just five races to cement their spot in the top six and Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing), James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW), Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki), Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) and Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) are all battling with Laverty for fourth to sixth place.
There’s also been a flurry of activity off track with a number of rider/team changes and Stuart Easton (Moto Rapido Ducati) and Danny Buchan (Tsingtao MSS Kawasaki) both make their debuts for their new teams with Howie Mainwaring having a one-off ride for ePayMe Yamaha team. Meanwhile, Bennetts Suzuki are down to just one rider with former champion Ryuichi Kiyonari being sacked after the last round.