At long last the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship gets underway this weekend at Brands Hatch in Kent, the start to what promises to be another superb season of wheel to wheel racing to determine the title.
Last season’s innovative rule change will remain in place, ensuring that no one runs away with the championship. Following the first nine events, the top six riders in the standings will qualify for “The Showdown” and become the “Title Fighters” for the remaining three events, battling it out to become champion. They will each be awarded 500 points, plus additional points for each podium they have achieved up to this point. Meanwhile the remaining riders will continue to contest the “British Superbike Riders’ Cup”.
As always race day at Brands Hatch will be broadcast live on British Eurosport on Bank Holiday Monday when you can join the commentator Jack Burnicle, who is once again joined by former BSB Champion James Witham.
Looking ahead to an exciting challenge for the championship, Witham says;
“There’s a lot of anticipation this year with riders returning to the championship, like former winner Shakey Byrne. He’s going to be quick, he’s tested really well and he’s with one of the top teams in HM Plant Honda. I think the fan’s favourite is Tommy Hill. After a good season last year, he’s swapped teams and he’s very confident.
“The defending champion Ryuichi Kiyonari is going to take some beating if he gets his eye in, but we know how fragile he can be, little things can put him off his stride so he’s by no means a firm favourite in the championship for me.”
One of the biggest stories pre-season is the arrival of former MotoGP rider American John Hopkins in the paddock and Whitham thinks he could be a contender;
“John Hopkins is a big coup for the championship. He’s a colourful character, he’s loud and he’s got the biggest baseball cap in the world! I can’t wait to see how he’s going to get to grips with the best, quirky British tracks. There’s no doubt the man has got the talent if he’s still got the fire in his belly and he can get his head around the circuits.”
Making history will be Jenny Tinmouth, the first ever female rider to contest the British Superbike Championship. Having finished third in the British Supersport Cup last season, Tinmouth also set a new record for the fastest lap by a female competitor at the Isle of Man TT event.
TV Times for Brands Hatch:
Monday 25 April
1230-1800 LIVE Race day on British Eurosport 2
2200-2330 Highlights on British Eurosport 2
Tuesday 26 April
1330-1430 Highlights on British Eurosport 2
Thursday 28 April
0830-0930 Highlights on British Eurosport
1930-2030 Highlights on British Eurosport 2
2030-2145 British Superbike Extra (support race highlights) on British Eurosport 2
Sunday 1 May
1730-1900 Highlights on British Eurosport 2