Opinion: Superpole success for BSB

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The fifth round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Snetterton marked the first time organisers’ were able to roll out the all-new Superpole format for qualifying.

With the Q1 and Q2 sessions remaining the same, whittling 30 riders to 18 and then nine with those riders then going through to a one-lap shootout session, in which they’d each get a warm-up lap, a flying lap (which would dictate their qualifying time) and a cool down lap.

We’d been waiting for the introduction of the new system all year after a few wet qualifying sessions and two rounds being held at circuits deemed too short to safely execute the one-lap format.

It didn’t disappoint. I was always a fan of one-lap Superpole back in the day. If I’m honest, I don’t get why it was ever scrapped. There’s something about being able to see every inch of each lap I just enjoy – this way you get to see how many apexes they nail, or miss, and catch every little hint of a mistake. You aren’t restricted in what you see on TV by a director in the back of a truck (the same director who will show you the race winner’s missus blubbering in the garage while the rider in third takes a massive lunge for second place at the final corner). We got to see Danny Buchan nearly highside himself to the moon on his lap in real-time, likewise with Shakey nearly tucking the front at the chicane.


Best of all, you don’t know who will be on pole until the last man crosses the line, whereas with the more commonly-used group sessions, because of a limited number of tyres, the result is often obvious way before the end of the session as certain riders may have used up all of their rubber.

I won’t say the new system is perfect because it’s not. I saw a number of tweets from fans trackside saying it was a little boring and monotonous as all they’d see is a bike zoom past every few minutes, where in a group session there’d be much more action to see and I think this is a fair point. However, even if you’re just there for the Saturday, you’ve already had FP3, Q1 and Q2 of more action so it doesn’t hurt to spice it up? Get yourself in front of a big screen or, even better – head to the paddock where you can grab a spot next to the new ‘Victory Circle’ and watch the session with the riders who have already completed their laps?  

We put the question to our Twitter followers, who came out 53% in favour of the new format. 


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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing