After nine rounds of frantic action, the six British Superbike Championship Showdown contenders were finally confirmed at Oulton Park at the weekend and, as expected, it went right down to the final race. Indeed, the outcome was in doubt right up until the closing laps but in the end it was Luke Mossey who became the sixth and final rider to make the cut joining Shane Byrne, Leon Haslam, Jason O’Halloran, James Ellison and Dan Linfoot.
Byrne, Haslam and O’Halloran had confirmed their places prior to the Oulton meeting with Ellison the fourth to do so after a brace of second place finishes in the first two races at the Cheshire venue. Linfoot all but did the same and it would have taken a miracle for him to miss out although a crash in the final race did give him some nervy moments.
Mossey, Michael Laverty and Peter Hickman were ultimately the three riders disputing the final position and all three had a chance to do it in the final race. As it was, it was Mossey who delivered with a second place finish which was his best ever result in the BSB category whilst Laverty was, arguably, the biggest loser.
The Tyco BMW rider had run in the top six for much of the season but a poor run of form, particularly at Brands in August where he only scored two points, ultimately cost him and saw the chasing pack rapidly close in. True, had he not crashed in the second race at Oulton, the outcome could have different but for BMW not to have any riders in the Showdown will be majorly disappointing for the German manufacturer.
The Superbike Championship will now be contested by two riders each from JG Speedfit Kawasaki (Haslam and Ellison) and Honda Racing (O’Halloran and Linfoot) plus Be Wiser Ducati (Byrne) and Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki (Mossey). Haslam and Byrne have comfortably more podium credits than anyone else, 46 and 43 respectively compared to next highest O’Halloran and Ellison’s total of 13, so will go into the final seven races as the undoubted favourites.
Haslam has considerable momentum at present after taking a stunning hat-trick at Oulton to make it four wins in a row and with the next round being at his local circuit, Donington Park, in less than a week’s time, he’ll be looking to press home his advantage.
Byrne had a weekend to forget at Oulton, taking a best finish of fifth, but the four time Champion knows how to win so certainly cannot be ruled out whilst the four remaining riders will be doing all they can to ensure it’s not a two-horse race.
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