Oulton Park in Cheshire will provide the backdrop for the final round of the British Superbike Championship this weekend. With 3 races taking place over the weekend, the race to claim the title is still wide open.
Images Courtesy of MNJ Photography
Due to rule changes this season, 6 riders are now in with the chance to take the 2010 crown. The riders fighting for the title in the championship showdown are:
1. Tommy Hill – 589pts
2. Josh Brookes – 578pts
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari – 574pts
4. Michael Laverty – 570pts
5. Michael Rutter – 546pts
6. Alastair Seeley – 529pts
Suzuki, Honda and Ducati are the manufacturers all hoping that their star can pull of the victories needed to take glory.
The first round of the championship showdown at Croft at the start of September saw Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty share the victories. While at a wet and slippery Silverstone a fortnight ago it was Michael Rutter who took a victory with Brookes, Kiyonari, Seeley, Hill and Laverty all scoring well in both races. Rutter who is wet weather specialist was unlucky in race two when he crashed after setting the fastest lap of the race.
Of the 6, only Kiyonari, Rutter and Laverty have won at Oulton Park before.
Tommy Hill will go into the weekend as the favourite, if he can maintain his form the title will surely be his. His performance in the early rounds of the season enabled him to build up a strong championship lead with the rest of the pack giving chase.
Ryuichi Kiyonari has won at Oulton Park 6 times in the past so will be more than happy to be at a track where he has good memories. As a former two time British champion he has been in this position before and will be gunning for a 3rd title.
Josh Brookes has been great throughout the season on the HM Plant Honda. If he can overhaul the points difference between him and Hill he will become the first Australian BSB champion since Troy Bayliss in 1999.
Michael Laverty will also be glad to be back at the track where he picked up his first win of 2010. Michael could take the title in his first season since moving back to the BSB paddock from the USA AMA Superbike Championship where he raced in 2009.
Alastair Seeley has the biggest points difference to make up, but he has backed up his dominant display in the British Superstock Championship in 2009 by scoring consistently well throughout the season and picking up a win at Brands Hatch.
The Worx and Relentless TAS Suzuki teams have been strong throughout the season. With the GSXR Suzuki celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and the Japanese manufacturer celebrating 50 years of International Racing in 2010, it would mark the occasion perfectly if a Suzuki could take the title.
Michael Rutter has been here before. Twice a runner up in previous years, many fans would love to see him lift the title. In the season that Ducati announced the withdrawal of its factory team from the World Superbike Championship a title win in BSB would be a boost for the Italian manufacturer.
So as the sun sets on the 2010 season we await to see who will be crowned the new king. Whether the rule changes are liked or not it has certainly provided a thrilling end to the season. Let battle commence!