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MCE INSURANCE BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Final round - Oulton Park - 8/9/10 October
HILL HEADS TITLE FIGHTERS INTO TRIPLE RACE SHOWDOWN FOR THE CROWN
Tommy Hill has a slender advantage over his five Title Fighter rivals going into the triple race final round Showdown for the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown but, facing what is effectively a winner takes all scenario, the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider, has been working hard to ensure that he is fully prepared for challenges to his supremacy.
Going into the action at the Cheshire circuit, Hill has an eleven points advantage over Josh Brookes who powered back into real contention to take the title for the first time with determined riding aboard his HM Plant Honda despite the difficult weather conditions at Silverstone where he took second and third placings.
Brookes however also faces an in-team threat to his hopes in the shape of the former two times British title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari, who with a second place last time out, moved within four points of the Australian. The Japanese rider is four points clear of Michael Laverty riding Relentless Suzuki whose team-mate Alastair Seeley starts sixth in the rankings, with an uphill struggle if he is to take the silverware.
Michael Rutter, aboard the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati, is sandwiched between the two Relentless riders in the standings and is convinced he can make the ground lost by tumbles when well placed in each of the Croft and Silverstone rounds.
There are 75 points at stake in these races, and that should ensure that the title fight goes all of the way to the last race of a hectic campaign, and Hill, who took no chances in the damp of the previous round at Silverstone, finishing eighth and fifth, believes now that attack is the best policy. "I am going out there to win all three races and get the job done," he explained. "I am not going into these races to defend."
They are bold tactics but Hill is not one to concern himself with mind games. "People tell me it is my title to lose, the other Title Fighters will say that it has become a mental game. I have been training harder than ever since Silverstone and I am determined to leave Oulton Park as the champion."
Brookes is approaching the races in the same way as Hill. "I will just do what I have done at every round, turn up with the intention of winning - all of us will be riding at the top of our game but simply in my own my mind I have to win."
The leading duo in the title stakes are set for a terrific duel for supremacy, but Kiyonari, who has a good record at the circuit is keen to re-inforce his bid for the title. "They will be tough races, we all want to win and I will be pushing as hard as I can."
Then there is Laverty, returning to the scene of his maiden BSB race victory scored in the third round back in May, but who is on the back-foot after a tumble last time out. "I'm still angry about that mistake because but for that I could have been leading the championship.
"I am the underdog and I am gunning for victories," Laverty warned his rivals, and those sentiments are echoed by Rutter. "My crash at Silverstone was annoying, but now I am focussing on trying to win and score are many points as possible - with three races it is going to be a bit of a lottery." Seeley is the outsider in the title stakes but he is full of fight: "It's going to be hectic with pushing and shoving but we should be up there at the sharp end and you never know what might happen."
There is more to these races than the focus on the six title fighters, with other riders keen to prove a point or two, among them James Ellison whose season was wrecked by injury but who bounced back to score a brilliant victory in the Silverstone round while his Swan Honda team-mate Stuart Easton is keen to repeat his winning ride of the earlier visit to Oulton Park. Add in the exciting style of teenage French rider Loris Baz together with that of Simon Andrews aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki and frantic action is assured.
That is also the case in the chase for the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO title in which Steve Brogan needs a return to winning ways aboard the Jentin BMW to stay ahead of his Splitlath Aprilia rival Hudson Kennaugh who starts the final round only eight points down.
Championship standings going into this round:1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 589
2.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 578
3.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 574
4.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 570
5.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 546
6.Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 529For the record
Superbikes on track
Friday 8 October
10.50-11.40 and 14.20-15.10 Free practice
Saturday 9 October
09.35-10.15 Free practice
12.05-13.01 Swan Combi Roll for Pole
16.30 Race one - 16 laps
Sunday 10 October
12.00-12.10 Warm-up practice
13.35 Race two - 16 laps
16.35 Race three - 16 laps (followed by championship presentation)
Superbikes on television
Saturday 9 October
British Eurosport 2
12.00-13.45 and 15.45-17.15 Live raceday
Sunday 10 October
British Eurosport 2
12.15-17.45 Live raceday
(full television listings www.britishsuperbike.com)
Superbike lap record
Ryuichi Kiyonari 1m 35.436s, 101.54mph (2006)
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship - Round 3 - 3 May 2010
Race one - 18 laps
1 S Easton, Swan Honda
2 T Hill, Worx Crescent Suzuki
3 J Laverty, Buildbase Kawasaki
Race two - 15 laps
1 M Laverty, Relentless Suzuki
2 M Rutter, RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati
3 T Hill, Worx Crescent Suzuki