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BRITISH IS BEST! 2018 BSB PREVIEW IEW

By now, you’ll know the results from pre-season testing, and the opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship which took place at Donington Park over Easter. Well, take no notice of it…

RACE FEATURE

Okay, that might be going to extremes to prove a point but when you consider that Shane Byrne missed out on scoring any points at the corresponding meeting in 2017, due to knocking himself out in practice, and arch-rival Leon Haslam did the double to leave with a 50-point advantage, yet Shakey won the title and Leon finished third.

Bennetts BSB is nothing if unpredictable and last year’s title race was the most dramatic in recent history, just about usurping the battle between Tommy Hill and John Hopkins for the 2011 crown. Back then, Hill pipped Hopper by six hundredths of a second to seal the deal in the closest finish since the series was morphed into the modern format back in 1996. Yes, last season was a vintage year in BSB without a doubt. It had just about everything to justify the pre-season hype of ‘best yet’. And it duly delivered with an endless flow of cliff-hangers that no one could have predicted.

This year promises to be just as exciting though, as another star-studded cast has been assembled, each with their own and very different agendas, but with one common goal at heart; to be crowned Bennetts British Superbike champion as dusk falls at Brands Hatch this autumn. Insurance giants Bennetts are back as title sponsors of the series which will see the established stars take on the young up-and-comers while a smattering of talent returns from the World Championship to do battle. There are a few riders making the step up to the Bennetts BSB from the support classes trying to make their mark and expect a few familiar faces to join the 28-strong grid as wild cards during the season.

BE WISER DUCATI SHANE BYRNE AND GLENN IRWIN

Shane Byrne is back, fighting fit at 41 and determined to win title number seven. He remains with the ultra-successful Paul Bird Motorsport team running the factory-backed Panigale R on which he’s taken two titles in a row. Shakey is the most successful rider in BSB and is more determined than ever, so rule him out of the hat-trick in as many years at your peril, especially with a V4 at his disposal for 2019. As for team-mate Glenn Irwin, he aims to build on his maiden victory in BSB at Silverstone, as well as his superb victories on the roads. Injury ruined what should have been a brilliant season for the Ulsterman and he should be capable of maintaining a championship challenge in his third year with the Cumbrian team.

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About Fast Bikes

In this month's issue of Fast Bikes ... - Top 10 UK Blasts 11 pages of listed mapped & rated rides - BSB preview the teams, the bkes, the drama - Ducati V4 First UK road test - Hone your riding senses - Buy a used CBR600F sport - Making sense of fork legs - Master Oulton park - Middleweight Maestros KTM 790 Duke and Yamaha Mt-07 - Win helmet & gloves