The BSB Showdown gets underway at Oulton Park
With less than a week’s respite since the ninth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone, racing resumed at Oulton Park this weekend (14-16 September), the series’ second visit to the Cheshire circuit. And, now with just three rounds to go until the final event at Brands Hatch in October, it was all eyes on the ‘Showdown Six’ riders and who would edge that little bit closer to the championship title.
For those who are unfamiliar with the rules of the British Superbike Championship Showdown, this format was first introduced in 2010 to help prevent a rider making a runaway victory. The top six riders after the ninth round are awarded points based on their podium finishes before competing over the last three rounds (seven races) for the title.
Heading into the first of the Showdown races at Oulton Park were Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki), Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha), Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki), Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) and Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW). This was particularly good news as three of those top six riders are supported with Evotech Performance quality parts.
Race one began in dramatic fashion for Glenn Irwin as he suffered a delayed start due to a problem on the grid. Starting from the back of the pack was never going to give the Be Wiser Ducati rider the advantage he needed to make headway in the Showdown, but a heroic battle through the field did see him finish the race in a respectable 12th position. Josh Brookes’ Showdown also didn’t start the way he’d hoped as he crashed out of the race (unhurt) at Knickerbrook on the sixth lap. This left Peter Hickman as the only Evotech Performance-supported Showdown rider still in contention, taking tenth place at the chequered flag.
It was Jake Dixon who claimed the opening victory in the first Showdown race, making a small dent in the points advantage of current standings leader Leon Haslam, who ended the race on the third step of the podium after Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati) in second. Outside of the Showdown, Evotech Performance-supported Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) finished fourth, Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) was fifth and Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) finished in seventh place.
In the second Showdown race of the day, Dixon celebrated adouble victory resulting in him reducing Leon Haslam’s lead in the standings by 14 points after round 10. However, Haslam had given him a good run for his money, this time switching places on the podium with Bridewell so they took second and third places respectively.
Brookes and Glenn Irwin managed fifth and sixth place finishes adding to their Showdown tallies, while Hickman finished in eighth. Meanwhile, Mackenzie finished fourth and Andrew Irwin was ninth, while Laverty couldn’t replicate his top-five finish from race one, crashing out on the fifth lap.
At the end of the first Showdown round, Haslam leads the field, with Dixon second and Brookes third. The next round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship is the penultimate round of the Showdown at Assen, The Netherlands (28-30 September).
British Superbike Championship standings after Oulton Park:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 604
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 573
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 530
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 530
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 524
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 520