Features 14 Sep 2022

Q&A: Local representation in BSB

Examining Australians competing in categories within the 2022 series.

Australia has a strong representation of talent in the 2022 British Superbike Championship (BSB), with a number of riders achieving success or breakthrough results in this year’s series. In the latest edition of Q&A, CycleOnline answers some key questions about our local representation across all categories, eight rounds into the current season.

Image: Supplied.

Q: Which Australians have achieved success in BSB this year?

A: Using the measuring stick of race wins or podium finishes – three riders. McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran has been victorious on seven occasions to date in the 2022 season, with an additional five podiums convincingly earning him a place in the Showdown. Billy McConnell (C&L Fairburn Properties/Jackson Racing Honda) sits second in the Superstock standings after eight rounds, just five points from the lead with race victories at Oulton Park, Knockhill and Brand Hatch. CFS Filtration No Bull Racing Honda Racing UK’s Brayden Elliott stood on the top step in race one at Donington Park and has scored four podiums this season. Elliott is fourth in the standings following challenges across recent rounds. A special mention also to Jacob Hatch (Kawasaki) who notched a pole position in Junior Superstock at Snetterton before unfortunately crashing out of podium contention in the race.

Q: How is Elliott faring after his early season Superstock form?

A: After scoring four podiums in the opening six races, Elliott has been unable to return to the rostrum from Brands Hatch. The number 51 finished P7 in race two at Thruxton – his strongest result at the venue, before crossing the line P8 at Cadwell where he felt he had the pace to finish higher but found it difficult to move forwards from 11th on the grid. During the most recent round at Snetterton, Elliott qualified on the second row but was taken out on the opening lap. Despite the recent misfortune, Elliott has still strung together his best campaign in the series so far and can look ahead to upcoming venues, Oulton Park, and Donington, where he has been successful already this year.

Q: Is Tom Toparis back on pace in Supersport?

A: Last year, two-time Australian Supersport champion Tom Toparis elected to undergo surgery to correct growth arrest in his right arm. The recovery ruled him out of racing altogether in 2021, and he made a return to professional competition late in August this year at round eight of the British Supersport Championship at Cadwell Park. The Astro JJR Host-IT Triumph rider notched a top 10 in the feature race during his comeback and went one better in Snetterton’s sprint race to finish P9. Not taking anything away from the number 77’s results so far this year – which are impressive considering his time spent away from competition – but there is more to come from him as he builds back to his true pace. Toparis has scored a BSB Supersport podium previously, 2019 in Assen during a wildcard appearance in the series and he has won in the German IDM Supersport Championship. As Toparis continues to bank race mileage and adapt to the Triumph, it won’t be surprising to see him progress towards the podium in the remaining races.

Image: Supplied.

Q: What is the Showdown and why did Josh Brookes not make the cut-off?

A: In short, the premier Superbike category in BSB consists of two parts, starting with a ‘regular’ season where the top eight riders in the championship following the eighth round qualify for the Showdown. The significance of that is the competitors who qualify are awarded a starting total of 1000 points ahead of the final three rounds, in addition to podium points for top three finishes throughout the regular season. If a rider misses the Showdown cut-off they have no chance of being awarded a top eight position in the series. For Brookes (MCE Ducati), a challenging season and enduring round at Cadwell Park put him at a deficit where he was mathematically unable to reach the top eight in the standings by the completion of Snetterton – the end of the regular season. It is the first time in his career that he has not qualified for the Showdown.

Q: Can O’Halloran achieve an elusive BSB title?

A: Yes, and to do so he will need to overcome the in-form Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) and defending champion and teammate Tarran Mackenzie. The number 22 is equal with Ray on the most number of wins this season and said from the early stages that his mindset this year was on the long game – being strong when it counted for the Showdown. Despite the previous two rounds being challenging, O’Halloran found a set-up step in the final race at Snetterton. The last time he did that (race three at Oulton Park, round two) he went on to win seven out of the following 12 bouts, standing on the podium when he was not victorious. Round nine at Oulton Park will be pivotal for O’Halloran as it’s the start of the Showdown, and it’s the only one of the remaining venues in this year’s championship that he has not won at this season. If he can leave the round within striking distance of Ray, he will be a very strong candidate for this year’s title considering his results at Donington Park and Brands Hatch (the final two circuits in the series) earlier in the year.

Q: Who else is competing in BSB from Australia? 

A: There is a host of Australian talent competing in BSB. Outside of those already mentioned, Seth Crump (Yamaha) is competing in Junior Superstock, currently P6 in the standings with two fourth-place finishes throughout the season. With a break in the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), Markus Chiodo (Tamworth Yamaha by Alpinestars Yamaha) ventured overseas and completed his first round in Superstock at Snetterton, qualifying 19th. Chiodo ran inside the top 10 during the race before throttle issues pushed him back, ultimately finishing P15. Also in Superstock, series regular Levi Day (Powerslide Motorcycles Racing Suzuki) is P12 in the points, achieving a season-best result of sixth in round eight.