The British Super bike competition is seen as one of the best, if not the best, domestic bike race in the world. It is a hotly contested tour that also has a novel scoring system that means that no rider can run away with the championship.
The riders start in April and the championship ends in October with the Showdown. This Showdown is a series of three on the day heats that determine the overall champion. The whole season leads up to this with riders competing to get in to the showdown and a chance to win. It doesn’t matter if you’ve led the championship by one hundred and fifty points going into the showdown everything is up for grabs. Win it and win the championship.
It wasn’t always this way though. The format followed the regular path of most Championships since its inception in 1988. It featured 750 cc bikes that have immense power and the racing is fast and close throughout the entire season. Many of the riders have gone onto become riders in the World Superbikes to join the ranks of the likes of Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner.
However, the British Superbike is so well supported at home featuring over 369,000 people coming to events over the season and a viewing figure of well over a million for the showdown finale. Many of the spectators are avid bike fans and will leave with some merchandise from the day and will probably been seen wearing hot weather motorbike jackets to enjoy the races. These figures are unheard of anywhere else in the world, so with this level of support its easy to see why some of the riders do not feel the need to move on. It does means that riders that dream of being a World Superbike contender generally eye the British superbikes as a way to breaking into the discipline and show off their skills. Therefore, you get a mix of the ambitious new things next to the wise, seen it all and a little bit comfortable established rider.
The field is not confined to just British riders though and so Australian and Japanese riders have all been successful at the sport. The are some big names there. For examples there is Rocket Ron Haslem for example and his son Leon showing that the sport has strong family connections. There is also the famous and very popular Shane “Shakey” Bryne who was always very solid on the track despite the nick name. The big names in motorcycle sport all put in teams or provide bikes, but the field is also open to the privateer’s class where those who enter do not currently have the backing of a big name and don’t have sponsorship. There is a separate competition class for them to compete in.
UK circuits used are the standards of Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Donnington Park but such is the popularity of the race that it crosses the North Sea to the Netherlands and TT Circuit Assen.