The British Superbikes are back this weekend, after a dramatic round at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
They head to Donington Park in the East Midlands, for the first of three Showdown rounds. Leon Haslam is at the top of the championship tree after rival Shane Byrne had a disastrous weekend. However, there are more riders than just those two. Let’s find out who our Showdown participants are in championship order!
1.)Leon Haslam, Aged 33, GB Moto JG Speedfit Kawasaki, #91
Leon Haslam snatched the championship advantage at the last round at Oulton Park, taking an incredible three wins to put him level on seven with Shane Byrne. The Derbyshireman’s 2016 campaign has been amazing, as he has 12 podiums, including the seven wins. He returns to his home circuit this weekend, having finished in the top two in all of the BSB races he’s been in at the track. He completed a Donington-double in 2007 on the Airwaves Ducati, and will be looking to do the same this weekend. Haslam hasn’t raced in the BSB series since it adopted the Showdown format, so whether or not that has an impact on his title hopes is a question that Leon himself will have to answer on track!
2.)Shane Byrne, Aged 39, PBM Be Wiser Insurance Ducati, #67
Shane Byrne relinquished the championship lead last time around after a terrible meeting at Oulton Park. The rider from Sittingbourne, Kent, has also won seven races this year but has only had 10 podiums compared to the Pocket Rocket’s 12. Shakey has had poor rounds at both Oulton Park meetings which is primarily the reason why he is now 2nd. But we all know what Byrne is capable of, so don’t discount him just yet!
3.)Jason O’Halloran, Aged 28, Honda Factory Team, #22
Jason O’Halloran has been something of a revelation this year. The Australian has fought back from horrific leg injuries sustained in a crash at Thruxton last season and this year he took his first win. The O’Show has been outstanding, as well as his win he has taken four further podiums and finished every race he’s entered. The former Aussie Supersport champion is positioned perfectly should the leading duo encounter some British Superbike turbulence. Could we have an Australian BSB Champion for the second year running?
4.)James Ellison, Aged 35, GB Moto JG Speedfit Kawasaki, #77
James Ellison – BSBs unluckiest rider. The former MotoGP star hasn’t half found it hard, but the gritty Cumbrian has fought tooth and nail and forced his JG Speedfit Kawasaki into the top six. Ellison has yet to win a race in the 2016 BSB championship but his consistency has been enough to propel him into contention. He won the first race of the British Superbike season last year at Donington Park so he knows how to get around the Nottinghamshire circuit. The question is whether or not he will apply that knowledge come Sunday afternoon.
5.)Luke Mossey, Aged 23, Quattro Plant Kawasaki, #12
Luke Mossey’s 2016 just keeps getting better and better. He not only booked himself into the top six at Oulton Park, but just hours before he became a father for the first time! Skywalker has taken four podiums this year and he will be looking to build on that this weekend. Mossey didn’t have a particularly staggering debut in BSB at Donington last season, but he took his first point. The question is now; will he be taking his first ever BSB race win?
6.)Dan Linfoot, Aged 28, Honda Factory Team, #4
Dan Linfoot of Yorkshire completes the line-up for this year’s BSB Showdown protagonists. Surprising still yet to win a BSB race, Linfoot’s consistency has done enough to embed him into the top half dozen. Despite coming so desperately close to a win at Snetterton, only to be beaten by teammate O’Hallaron, Linfoot has done enough, but now he has to start winning. He needs podiums at the very least. There is no room nor time for 4th place finishes in a championship as competitive as this.
Oh so close, yet so very far…
Just missing out in the showdown was Michael Laverty, who despite winning two races, only got two other podiums. He had four non finishes in the season and that will simply not suffice. He joins Tommy Bridewell, Peter Hickman, Christian Iddon, John Hopkins, Richard Cooper, Lee Jackson and Glenn Irwin in the fight to become best of the rest and winner of the Riders’ Cup!
There are 13 race winners on the BSB grid, with an unbelievable eight of them not getting into the top six. On top of that statistic, there have been six winners this year, which highlights the fact that wins aren’t much use without consistency.
The season is drawing to a close; the end is near with just seven races left. But who will take all the winnings as the sunset fades on the horizon? What drama will be presented to us before we can see who our champion will be?
I can tell you that we will be trackside bringing you the latest developments as they unfold in front of us at Donington Park this weekend. You can find exclusive interviews, photos from across all three days as well as competitions and hourly updates!
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