In a rapid turnaround for all of the teams, round ten of the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Donington Park this weekend and it also marks the beginning of the ‘Showdown’, the seven race, three round section of the series that will ultimately decide who gets crowned champion come Brands Hatch in October.
With the last round at Oulton only concluding a matter of days ago, there’s been little time for the riders and teams to regroup and reassess but that’s exactly what they need to do. Situations and goals have changed and there’s now just six riders in the position of taking the title – Leon Haslam, Shane Byrne, Jason O’Halloran, James Ellison, Luke Mossey and Dan Linfoot – with the remainder going for the BSB Rider’s Cup.
Haslam arrives at his local circuit, one where, apart from his Dad Ron, he’s put in more laps than anyone else, in the driving seat after taking four successive wins. He’s moved to the top of the Championship and has hit top form at the right time but he’ll be taking nothing for granted especially as technical issues still haven’t left the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team completely, team-mate Ellison retiring from the final race at Oulton.
His advantage over Byrne is just three points, courtesy of picking up slightly more podium credits in the opening nine rounds, and the Be Wiser Ducati rider will be keen to reassert his challenge after a disastrous time of things at Oulton. The four-time Champion set the fastest lap ever seen at the Cheshire venue during qualifying but left with just a best finish of fifth to his name. He’ll want to get back to winning ways immediately this weekend.
Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) looks the most likely of challengers to the duo but he’s over 30 points adrift of Haslam and Byrne and will be hoping they both have a DNF somewhere along the line so he can take advantage. The same applies to Haslam’s team-mate James Ellison whilst Dan Linfoot on the second Honda and Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) have even further ground to make up.
However, as we’ve seen all year long anything can happen in BSB – and most probably will!
In addition to the main Championship being fought between the top six riders, the race now also starts for the BSB Rider’s Cup, awarded to the rider who ends the season in seventh overall.
Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) currently holds onto the position with 168 points but that puts him just six clear of Peter Hickman on the third JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) is only a further five points adrift with Tommy Bridewell (135) and Christian Iddon (132) also having major designs on gabbing the silverware.