The Bennetts British Superbike Championship returns to Lincolnshire this weekend (August 17/18/19) as Cadwell Park gears up for one of the biggest events of the season, and with just five races remaining before the Showdown, it is set to be a crucial round for the title contenders.
JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam tops the standings ahead of Sunday’s two races, but he’ll face tough opposition to add to his winning tally as the battle to be in the top six rages and the fight to score the final Podium Points intensifies. Twelve riders have already celebrated podium finishes with a total of five different race winners proving how fierce the competition is ahead of this weekend’s Cadwell Park event.
Jake Dixon holds second place in the overall standings, scoring a double podium finish last time out at Thruxton for the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team as he bids to add to his Knockhill victory, but Josh Brookes has won three of the last four races and is definitely gaining momentum with the McAMS Yamaha team as he aims to add to his 2015 title victory.
Glenn Irwin missed out on the podium last time out at Thruxton for the title-winning Be Wiser Ducati team; but with just eight Podium Points between himself in fourth and second-placed Dixon, he is targeting a return to the top three this weekend to be in the best possible position ahead of the Showdown.
Donington Park double winner Bradley Ray has endured a tough run of races recently, but the Buildbase Suzuki rider is confident that he can turn it around this weekend following a positive test at the Lincolnshire circuit. He holds a narrow eight-point advantage over Danny Buchan who currently locks out the top six in the standings.
On the verge of making the cut for the Showdown six is Peter Hickman; the home hero of Cadwell Park claimed a spectacular double podium finish at Thruxton despite a kidney infection, and he has just seven points separating him from Buchan ahead of Cadwell Park.
With reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne still sidelined through injury, next in line to try and gain ground and close a top six place is Christian Iddon; the Tyco BMW rider has yet to stand on the podium this season and trails Hickman by 13 points.
Louth-based Honda Racing completes the current top ten with Jason O’Halloran; the Australian had been a podium finisher earlier in the season but a broken ankle sustained on World Championship duties had briefly halted his momentum. However, at Thruxton O’Halloran was back fighting for the podium and will be looking for nothing less than a repeat performance this weekend.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 280
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 198
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 168
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 163
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 119
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 111
The eighth round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Cadwell Park on August 17/18/19. For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
“For sure it was great to be back on the top of the step of the podium at Thruxton. Actually weekends like that indicate just how difficult it is to force a result and how close the competition is every single weekend. Basically we made a small change in between races but it showed to me the difference between not even being on the podium to getting a win, it’s that close.
“Cadwell Park is of course a completely different sort of circuit where bike set-up is crucial, certain bikes have favourable characteristics for the two halves of the track and you need a good set-up to handle the whole layout.
“I get quite a bit of attention for jumping the Mountain but that’s how I’ve always done it, perhaps it comes naturally to me with my motocross background. I guess it can be quite an intimidating part of the track to get wrong, so maybe some riders ride it in more of a conventional way.
“People talk about getting into the Showdown but I don’t really think about it, if I’m not in the Top Six then something’s gone really wrong with my season. Of course we need to close the gap on Leon in terms of Podium Points, and I think we are on the right course to achieve that…”
(Smiths Racing BMW)
“After everything that happened at Thruxton I am looking forward to Cadwell Park! I started Saturday feeling a bit low and during the day I started to feel worse, but still managed to do qualifying and thought I just needed an early night! Then on Saturday night I was whisked off to hospital and told I needed to rest and go on a drip as I had a kidney infection! When I woke up on Sunday morning I actually felt mint again and I left hospital then headed back to the circuit.
“I felt ok in the races, although I had less energy at the end, so I felt a bit disappointed as although we had two podiums, I feel the pace that we had was good enough for race wins and that isn’t something I would normally say with so much confidence.
“Traditionally Cadwell Park has been a good circuit for me, so I need to keep my energy levels up and be out pushing for wins again. I think the pressure at the moment is more on Brad and Danny than me, as they have the position to lose rather than the position to gain; Cadwell Park has been good for me in the past so I can’t wait!”