Ryuichi Kiyonari takes a slender seven points advantage into the Bank Holiday Monday ninth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park but the Japanese rider is expecting tough challenges to his supremacy from both his HM Plant Honda teammate Josh Brookes and Worx Crescent Suzuki rider Tommy Hill.
The return visit to the undulating Lincolnshire circuit, with its unique ‘mountain’ section comes at a crucial point in the series, as it provides the cut-off point for the deciding the six rider who will be become the ‘title-fighters’ over the final seven race Showdown.
The leading trio are already through to this stage, together with RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati rider Michael Rutter and Michael Rutter aboard the Relentless Suzuki but all five are focussed on the need for a strong performances as they chase top three finishes and the all important ‘podium credits’ which could be decisive in the outcome of the country’s premier crown.
In terms of these credit points, Kiyonari currently has the edge, three clear of the rest, and on his, and his team’s home circuit, he is gunning for a repeat of his earlier victory there to boost his hopes of taking the British title for a third time.
Brookes will be feeling refreshed after a quick trip back to Australia in between rounds, including a visit to the Queensland Raceway round of the Australian Superbike Championship.
The top five have their agendas sorted, but just adrift of them, there is a three into one scrap for the remaining place among the title-fighters with Alastair Seeley riding the Relentless Suzuki well placed to go through, though he cannot afford any slip up as he is only just ahead of the consistent John Laverty riding Buildbase Kawasaki while Swan Honda’s Stuart Easton is the outsider.
Easton is hoping for a change of fortune at a circuit where in two previous visits, first in pre-season testing, and then in the fourth round back in May, he has crashed, hampering his efforts but now the former British Supersport Champion is determined to set the record straight.
“I know that I still have an outside chance of getting in the Showdown, but anything can happen, so I really need to get my head down and finish ahead of Alastair Seeley and John Laverty – hopefully for me it will be a case of third time lucky,” said Easton.
After these two races, the top six in the standings will have their current points score deleted and each be credited with 500 points, plus the podium credits accumulated to date, rewards for heading the action in the opening three quarters of the season. They then score points in the normal method in the final races, with the champion crowned at Oulton Park in October.
Those not making the cut-off will be riding for pride and points to fill the rankings from seventh down, with riders including James Ellison, a pre-season title favourite riding Swan Honda, whose chances were wrecked by injury, Simon Andrew aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki and Dan Linfoot on the Motorpoint Yamaha all keen to impress and finish races ahead of their title chasing rivals.
And, the action will be equally intense in the battle for honours in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class where former South African champion Hudson Kennaugh, now riding for Splitlath Aprilia has a lead of just two points from Liverpudlian Steve Brogan aboard the Jentin BMW.
Brogan had the better of the earlier visit to Cadwell Park, winning both races, while Kennaugh was not far down, taking second and third placings, to set up a real duel for supremacy in the final stages of the series.
The packed racing programme also includes rounds of the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship; SpeedyRetail.com British 125GP Championship; Metzeler National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championships together Henderson Harley Davidson XR1200 series; Triumph Triple Challenge and the International Classic Grand Prix UEM Cup.