The 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship will be decided this weekend (October 13/14/15) in a thrilling triple-header decider at Brands Hatch in Kent with Leon Haslam holding the advantage over 2015 title-winner Josh Brookes and local hero defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
In an incredible season there have been ten different race winners, six further podium finishers and all of the six manufacturers involved in the championship have celebrated victories. With just one round remaining, it’s the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider Haslam who leads the way by 32 points.
‘The Pocket Rocket’ has finished runner-up three times before and after winning two of the first four Showdown races has edged ahead, but he knows that with 75 points available from the three races on the Grand Prix circuit, he needs to maintain this momentum to lift his first title crown.
Haslam’s closest rival is Brookes as the Australian has propelled the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team into title contention for the first time. The 2015 champion was back on the podium at Assen and remains bullish about his hopes of adding to his previous title at this weekend’s round.
Local hero Byrne knows that he needs to make a strong comeback this weekend if he is going to defend a title for the first time; the five-time champion returned to the podium at Assen, but needs a repeat of his winning performance at the Kent circuit in July.
Jake Dixon still has a mathematical shot of becoming the youngest ever MCE BSB title-winner for the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team; he holds fourth in the standings but he could still change the title outcome. Peter Hickman and Jason O’Halloran complete the Showdown six and both will also want to end their seasons with victory at Brands Hatch.
The triple-header will also decide the Riders Cup champion with Christian Iddon leading the way in seventh place ahead of race winners James Ellison, Luke Mossey and Dan Linfoot, whilst local rookie Bradley Ray is also ready to fight for a podium return.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 612
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 580
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 579
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 558
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 549
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 526
For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
JG Speedfit Kawasaki
Championship position: 1st
“Brands Hatch is three races so it was always going to go down to the final. It is a circuit that both Josh and Shane go well at, Josh got the lap record mid-season and Shakey won both races, so for me to go in with a point advantage is a big weight off my shoulders, however finishing second or third to them isn’t easy either.
“I am super excited for the weekend because in the Showdown it is a case of so far so good for us. I felt like to be honest we should have won all four races so far and I have to approach this weekend as any other. It is all to play for and we need to attack like we always do. We need three solid results because it can all still change.
“Brands Hatch has an unbelievable atmosphere – on those last few races there are going to be some big moves being made, I really can’t wait to get started!”
Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha
Championship position: 2nd
“The emphasis at Brands Hatch is going to be more for me to win and then hope that we are lucky as mathematically there is a gap in the points between myself and Leon. We can only focus on the job we can do and that is to go to Brands Hatch and try and win all three races.
“Any position this season is hard to achieve as it is so close but we need to bring the most energy, focus and determination to Brands Hatch and hope that we have that luck.
“I think looking ahead to the weekend we should all reflect on the battle between Tommy Hill and John Hopkins because I think the final round will be reminiscent of that. Whoever it is between at the end I think the racing is going to be brilliant and it certainly won’t let the fans down!”
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne
Be Wiser Ducati
Championship position: 3rd
“I am really looking forward to Brands Hatch; everyone knows how much I love the Grand Prix circuit. In some ways I guess the pressure has gone a bit. I have been in a position before when there has been nothing between us in the points and the pressure to beat a certain rider or finish in a certain position is immense.
“Realistically all I can do is my best and I always want to go and win races and there are three chances of that at Brands Hatch. I can still win three races and if Leon has three good finishes he will win, but anything could still happen and if it does then all of a sudden it is thrown wide open again.
“One thing I really want to do is to defend a title; I love Brands Hatch and I am coming to the final round to do the best job I can and we will then see what happens.”