The Bennetts British Superbike Championship contenders face one of the most decisive rounds of the season so far at Silverstone this weekend (September 7/8/9) as the final four Title Fighters will be decided ahead of the title-deciding three round Showdown.
Leon Haslam and Jake Dixon already have their places confirmed following the previous round at Cadwell Park, but the final four positions will be decided this weekend as the leading protagonists take on the new challenge of the National circuit and three 30 lap races.
Glenn Irwin holds third place ahead of this weekend and is the first in line bidding to secure a Showdown position for the first time. The Be Wiser Ducati rider has been a podium finisher this season and would love to replicate his debut Superbike victory from last year as he aims to seal his place.
Irwin holds a 13 point advantage over 2015 champion Josh Brookes as the championship arrives at Silverstone, but the Australian has the most Showdown experience of all his rivals having lined up in the end of season title fight seven times before. The McAMS Yamaha rider had a tough time last time out at Cadwell Park but had won three of the four races from the two rounds prior to his weekend in Lincolnshire.
Donington Park double race winner Bradley Ray had a resurgent performance at Cadwell Park which fired him back into Showdown contention and the Buildbase Suzuki contender has a 33 point advantage over sixth placed Peter Hickman, who leaped ahead of Danny Buchan last time out.
Hickman is in the danger zone in sixth place with just seven points between the Smiths Racing BMW rider and Buchan who is pushing for a first Showdown position for the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki team.
However Buchan has Christian Iddon in close contention too as the Tyco BMW rider sits eight points adrift ahead of the three races this weekend with a maximum of 75 points up for the taking.
Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran holds the final place in the standings top ten and is pushing to regain the ground he lost due to injury earlier in the season in a last bid to be in Showdown contention.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 330
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 230
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 187
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 174
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 159
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 126
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(Be Wiser Ducati)
Current position: 3rd
“Cadwell Park was actually really difficult with the shoulder injury, I knew it wasn’t going to be great but I had to score the points. To have finished only a second off the win in race one was a big surprise and race two was always going to be tough as I had been trying to rest the shoulder as much as possible, but there is only so much you can do. I knew that anything could happen though and you could potentially get a podium so I just didn’t give up.
“Silverstone should be an easier track for the injury and we have also had three weeks break so it should feel much fresher. I have had laser and physio and have done everything possible ready for the weekend.
“I think we can hopefully achieve what we know we can and have a strong weekend as I feel like Lady Luck has deserted us a bit recently. I have good memories of Silverstone last year with my first race win and I am looking forward to it. It is about going out, enjoy riding and see what happens to try and close down the guys ahead of us.
“The Showdown has to happen for us, I always want more and expect more, so I need to tick it off the goals, it is important we don’t get too hung up on it and get the best results we can.”
Current position: 4th
“It has been a disappointing season so far. I think you can only really understand the situation if you are a part of our team and it would take a novel of thoughts to bring everybody up to date on how things are ever changing and the circumstances that bring certain results.
“I absolutely have no interest in looking at the points before the weekend – all I want to do is win races. The only thing I am focusing on is trying to do what I do every weekend and that is bring the bike up to a level where I can be competitive against the guys out on track.
“I need to win, that is it and that is the fact of it. I am not trying to salvage points, not trying to think about what I need to do to get in the top six, I am past all that and I literally just want to win races.
Current position: 5th
“With how it panned out at Cadwell Park we have got a little breathing space going into the next three races, so we have to try and do a good job in the first race on Saturday to try and secure it as much as possible before Sunday.
“My aim is to try and beat Buchan by as many points as I can in the first race and if I don’t beat Hickman that isn’t so bad as he is in sixth at the moment, so we can swap places and still be in the Showdown.
“In race one I will need to use my head a little bit to either secure a place in the Showdown or get close to it. I will be giving it everything we have got to try and get the place and as many Podium Points as possible.
“To be in the Showdown would be unbelievable; to be in it and going in to the final three rounds in contention in only my second year in the championship at 21-years-old would be great.
“I can’t see why we can’t be in with a shout of wins and podiums over the final rounds – you have to use your head a little bit but I have a lot less to lose than the likes of Haslam; at the end of the day it is going to be the Showdown that decides what happens.”
(Smiths Racing BMW)
Current position: 6th
“The pressure is on all of us for Silverstone really. It is only seven points from me to Danny and 15 to me Christian, whereas last year I went into the round with a 30 point lead over seventh so last year I was a bit safe – this year I am definitely not safe!
“The only good thing for me is Silverstone has been good to me in the past so fingers crossed it all goes good for us. I have to take it race by race, it is going to be interesting with three races and the points that are available, I have a bit more of a cushion over Jason but I need to stay ahead of Christian and Danny. I need to be ahead or one place behind them as it would still mean I finish in front.
“I think the pressure is more on them as they have to be in front of me! They have to pull out a good result to overhaul me and I have to pull out a result to be in front of them….”
(FS-3 Racing Kawasaki)
Current position: 7th
“The goal is obviously to go to Silverstone and try and get into the Showdown, but I haven’t thought about it too much.”
“I am going to play it smart at Silverstone. I have been in this position before and I have had the pressure when I have been fighting for the title in Superstock where you have a really important race and I think I perform in those circumstances. I always say you either sink or swim and to me I am a swimmer!
“I have made this hard for myself or harder for the team but it is like anything in this championship – anything can happen. There can be a crash, a bike failure, weather, anything and with three races you just never know what to expect – that is the beauty of bike racing.
“To be in the Showdown would mean a lot and would be a reward for the team and all the hard work they have put in, it shows that consistency pays off and it would be the biggest thing for my career so far. It will be what it will be as long as I give it one hundred percent you can’t give it any more. I am hoping we do it – its seven points from three races!”
Current position: 8th
“I am outside the top six currently so we get to Silverstone with nothing to lose, I haven’t actually looked at the points’ situation because I know who I am racing against and I have been aware of that since Cadwell Park. I just figure that I know it is possible and I am not that far away and if I just race the best that I can that is all you can do.
“Obviously if we are still in contention coming into the last race then you have to start being a bit clever about life and we will cross that bridge when we get to it. But that is the way I am approaching it. At the moment nothing exists after Silverstone, so of course this is an important weekend.
“It is a completely different season to last year, even though we are in the same position trying to get into the top six. I have got myself back into Showdown contention by just being consistent and pounding out the laps as best I can.
“The Showdown is the only goal right now and then after that you reset to whatever scenario is in front of you and what you face next. It is a tough ask but we have to go to Silverstone and do the best we can as a team and the rest will take care of itself.”