ROUND 10 OF THE BENNETTS BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND AT DONINGTON PARK. WITH THE ACTION AT OULTON PARK FRESH IN THE MEMORY, IT COULD BE QUITE THE WEEKEND IN LEICESTERSHIRE AS #GETYOURNEALDOWN EXPLAINS
…and suddenly the chase for the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship looked quite different…
I’ll tell you what, love it or loathe it (and I can think of at least one person that currently loathes it), the BSB Showdown doesn’t half create some drama! A model of consistency all year and when it came the crunch, it was two DNF’s in Cheshire and that’s the reality post-Oulton Park for McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran. It was hard to watch as the season-long points leader capitulated his lead in the standings to his teammate after an almost faultless season where only two DNF’s blotted his copybook in twenty-four races, and one of those wasn’t even his fault! Expect the Aussie to come out swinging at Donington Park this weekend.
English Scotsman, Tarran Mackenzie, had his best-ever weekend on a superbike at Oulton Park to wrestle the title lead from the O’Show by just two points going into his home round at Donington Park this weekend. Having never even stood on the podium there on a big bike, Taz finally mastered the undulating rollercoaster of a circuit, nestled in the heart of leafy Cheshire (it’s just the law, right?) rather than doing a great impression of a flea on a dog’s back around that demanding ribbon of tarmac. With three races at a circuit he loves, his Oulton Park performance has propelled him right into the Championship driving (riding?) seat.
Oxford Products Moto Rapido Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell take a bow, that Race 3 performance was sensational! To be fair, it WAS a bit boring of him just buggering off into the distance like that without a care in the world (when was the last time anyone did that at BSB in the dry?!) and channelling his inner Pecco with that scintillating opening lap! After a double win (shame about a tricky Race 1), Bridewell now sits just 7 points behind O’Halloran and 9 behind Mackenzie as Round 10 looms this weekend. The former R6 Cup campaigner also favours Donington Park and will be looking at nothing other than to stand on the top of the box in all three races to pile the pressure on the Yamaha pair.
What a weekend of ups and downs for PBM VisionTrack Ducati… Christian Iddon was back on the podium in Race 1, narrowly missed the podium in Race 2 and then was run off the track at Lodge by Mackenzie in Race 3 to finally recover to 12th at the flag. At 33 points adrift, Iddon needs to win all three races at Donington Park if he’s to claw back that early-season championship position before things went slightly awry for the Derbyshire Geordie. As for the other side of the garage, Josh Brookes continued his outstanding form of late, bagging two podium finishes (the top step still eluding the reigning champion this season) at Oulton Park but it will be the DNF that the Aussie will be rueing. Strong all weekend, it was looking good for Brookes to close the gap on the title leaders. How vital will that tip off at Druids be, come the last race of the season? Only time will tell…
In the race for the Rider’s Cup (not to be confused with the Ryder Cup, as that’s on this weekend, too!) FS-3’s Lee Jackson and RICH Energy OMG Racing’s Brad Ray both put in sterling performances across the three races in Cheshire. Sadly, for LeeBob, it was another DNF not of his doing as he tangled with Tarran Mackenzie in the closing stages of Race 3, ending up pulling grass and soil out of hard-to-reach places after having his handlebar taken away at Old Hall Corner, thankfully with no lasting damage to the Lincolnshire plumber. For Ray though, the subsequent 3-second penalty awarded to Mackenzie elevated him to third place and vital extra points in the chase for the best of the non-showdown contenders. Ray currently enjoys a 24-point lead over Jackson as the series heads to two tracks that suit both riders, with Ray picking up his first podium of the season around the National layout back in mid-August.
So, in a nutshell, then, it appears that O’Halloran, Mackenzie, Iddon, Brookes and Bridewell all need to win every race at Donington Park and Ray needs to finish ahead of Jackson three times to cement his aspirations for Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks, and vice versa. And with Glenn Irwin having good recent history at Donington Park, Peter Hickman with a point to prove as top BMW and Danny Buchan looking strong again, there are so many sub-plots to this championship, it makes Eastenders look like Sesame Street.
And if you thought Oulton Park was the pinnacle of drama, I suspect Donington Park is about to pass its beer over for the Cheshire track to hold…
Catch live coverage all weekend across Eurosport 2, the BSB SUPERPICKS App and TSL Timing as always https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/213904