BSB: Is this the quickest year yet?
This year’s British Superbike Championship has really started to heat up over the last couple of rounds and it’s not just the battle between Shakey and Haslam at the front fuelling the fire.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, 13 riders lapped under the existing circuit lap record while Byrne, Haslam and Ellison were all underneath the fastest ever British Superbike lap set by Tommy Hill in 2011.
Haslam’s pole time would have placed him eighth on the World Superbike grid earlier this year and that’s without the special sticky rubber the WSB boys have at their disposal, not to mention the added electronic rider aids.
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Each year there’s a lot of hype that the upcoming season could be the most competitive season ever, yet this year that hype is turning into reality. We saw the oldest lap record in BSB history finally go when Leon Haslam bettered his ten-year-old time at Cadwell, and we’ve seen the fastest-ever laps of the last four circuits we’ve visited.
Initially it was just the qualifying pace, but over the last three rounds the ante has been upped as riders squabbled to get in to the Showdown. Race pace is now so quick that even the tiniest of mistakes are being punished more than ever. Look at Shane Byrne at Oulton Park last weekend – he was quick enough to win all three races but through bad starts and poor grid positions, he just wasn’t able to make his way through the dogfighting pack ahead.
The same happened to Dan Linfoot and Christian Iddon this weekend – both had pace to be on the podium as shown in race two, but after mistakes in the first race they were simply unable to recover as while they could match the incredible pace ahead, they just couldn’t better it.