Paddock Chatter’s British Superbike ‘Showdown’ Preview

On the eve of the final British Superbike round of 2014 Paddock Chatter gives its thoughts on the upcoming weekend of action.

Who will be crowned British Superbike Champion on Sunday afternoon?

Matt Dunn, Paddock Chatter co-editor: I don’t think I’ve ever been more torn in answering this sort of question, but my heart says that Kiyonari will win.

Can Kiyonari overcome Byrne for his fourth BSB title?
Photo: BMW Motorrad UK

Alannah Fellows, Paddock Chatter co-editor: I think Kiyo’s going to do it, but I also think it’ll be very, very close! 


Emma Guy, Paddock Chatter contributor: Shakey Byrne.

Steve Day, British Eurosport’s World Superbike commentator: Shakey Byrne.

Dave Neal, co-host of MotoPod: Possibly the hardest question of the week! Shakey is on home turf, but that hasn’t served him as well as you’d expect when it comes to the final round. It’s hard to see past him not winning at least one race at Brands Hatch, so I think the PBM Kawasaki man will lift the title.

Neil Morrison, Paddock Chatter contributor: Head says Byrne, heart says Kiyonari but I’ll follow my heart on this one (after much deliberation!!). Kiyonari.

Why?

Matt – Following his relatively dreadful time in BSB on the Honda during both 2013 and 2011, I was over the moon this year to see Kiyonari find his feet again. It’s clear how determined he has been to show not just everyone else in the racing community that he still has the pace to win the BSB Championship for a fourth time. Kiyo has acquired a new level of motivation and determination simply because of his 3 year ‘dry spell’.

Will it be Byrne or Kiyonari leading on Sunday evening?
Photo: Paul Bird Motorsport
Alannah – The way Kiyo’s ridden recently, I just think he’s been ruthless and produced some great riding. He won’t give up but will play it clever and pip Byrne to the line. 

Emma – Byrne is always consistent and I think his experience of the ‘Showdown’ in recent years will give him the edge. But on the other hand Kiyonari has proved to get stronger and stronger as the season has progressed so I wouldn’t write him off just yet. It would be good if Kiyo could win and get a BSB title for BMW.

Steve – Twelve points may not sound like a lot but it’s enough to make race one an extremely important affair. Kiyo knows that he has to take a few risks in the first, as he can’t afford to let Shakey extend that lead and then ultimately take control of the afternoons proceedings.

Dave – The twelve-point deficit for Kiyo means that he has to go out and win all three races in Kent, a tough ask in standard conditions against the confidence of Byrne and in the attentions of Messrs Linfoot, Bridewell and Brookes along with Ellison and the task becomes even more difficult. Josh Brookes took all three wins in difficult conditions last year and although early forecasts suggest a pleasant weekend is in prospect, he’ll still feature.

Neil – When it gets to this stage of the season momentum has a big say and Kiyo has that at the moment. Seeing how annoyed he was after losing race two in Assen showed just how far he has come this year. His form is somewhat reminiscent of his ’10 title too – easing himself in slowly before building up to an irresistible close. Byrne knows that he’ll need to beat him in at least one race, which could lead to something unexpected…

How will the weekend’s events unfold?

Matt – Seeing as the weather is due to brighten up for the weekend and the points gap at the top is so narrow, I fully expect a no-holes-barred approach with both triple BSB champions going all out for the win in each race. The only unknown is whether we’ll see the same Josh Brookes. Much like we saw in Silverstone, I’ve no doubt it’ll be between those three riders for the top spot. 

Alannah – I think it’ll all come down to the last race, I can’t see either of them making a mistake but they’ll win one each for the first two with the other a close second. It’ll go down to the last race, with some fantastic battles for the win. 

Emma – It is going to be a close battle between the pair and if they don’t let the pressure get to them I can see it going right down to the wire. But if there is some rain thrown into the mix it could be a different story and the title challenge could all be over by race 2.

Will there be more of this action at Brands Hatch?
Photo: MCE British Superbike.com
Steve – Absolutely no idea! Like I said above, race one carries a lot of heat and we already know Kiyo will go for it (he has to). But if Shakey is able to follow him and pounce or force a mistake then it would ease any pressure going into the final couple of races. That said, this is bike racing and we are getting closer to Bonfire night so I expect a few fireworks!

Dave – There are so many variables that can be factored in over the weekend. The riders fighting for third in the championship could have some bearing on the matter but it seems, on recent form, only Josh Brookes has the outright pace to trouble the top two for a full race and is comfortably quick on the International circuit, that could be pivotal.

Neil – I can see Shakey getting one win, meaning something out of the ordinary will need to happen to give Kiyo the title. But barring Byrne’s dominant romp to three victories at Brands in 2012 something unexpected tends to happen at the final round. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of what we witnessed at Donington, Assen and Silverstone with one more big surprise thrown in.

Do you foresee anyone (or anything) beyond the top two influencing the results?

Matt – As for wildcard factors, one, which was announced on Wednesday, is Bryan Staring on the WD40 Kawasaki. With having limited experience of Brands Hatch compared to the rest of the field as well as only hopping on the bike for the first time on Friday, it’ll be a tall order to run up the front. I would expect Staring in the best-case scenario to be running with Bridewell, a continually recovering James Ellison, Dan Linfoot and Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Waters for the top 4, or perhaps final podium spot.

Alannah – Yes, I think Brookes will keep up with the top two and I’ll bet Ellison will be up there for at least one race, and if it’s wet then who knows, it could be anyone! 

Emma – I reckon Josh Brookes will land at least one podium in the finale. It will be nice if Milwaukee Yamaha could end the season on a high after another tough season in the championship.

Steve – Having just signed a new deal with Milwaukee Yamaha, you have to believe that Josh Brookes will be feeling relieved at securing his immediate future. A relaxed Josh Brookes is a quick one and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him win a couple!

Dave – Not unless the organisers have an ace up their sleeve like Leon Camier for example, no.

Neil – Rain! Having browsed several forecast sites it seems there is a possibility of rain on Saturday and Sunday. In that case it’s anyone’s guess. Also, there is no doubt Josh Brookes will be buoyed by the announcement that he’ll be staying in BSB for another year. He’s only showed glimpses of his potential in the ‘Showdown’ and – barring Ellison – it’s difficult to see any others interfering with the top two in the dry.

In British Supersport: McConnell, Gowland or Seeley?

Matt – It all depends on which Graham Gowland and which Billy McConnell turn up on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. McConnell had a bizarre couple of races at Silverstone and frankly, could have put the championship beyond Gowland’s reach. As long as McConnell remains consistent within the top 3 or four, given the Seeley, Irwin, Mossey and Stapleford factors, ‘Gowla’ may not be able to catch his team-mate.

Can McConnell hold on for his first BSS title?
Photo: Smith’s Triumph Racing
Alannah – I think McConnell’s going to do it, he’s got the slight upper hand and has won some great races under pressure this year. 

Emma – The Supersport title will go to one of the Smith Triumph boys. Gowland deserves to seal the title because he has really proved his capabilities out on track this season and has become a confident consistent rider.

Steve – Gowland has impressed me this year but after missing out so many times in the past, I’d love to see Billy claim the prize. He has worked so hard in this championship for years now and I’ll be rooting for him. However, Seeley knows how to see these things out and could be tough to beat.

Dave – McConnell has the upper hand and doesn’t need to win either race to take the title; as long as he gets on the podium in both races he’ll be Champion again. Easier said than done though…

Neil – Gowland has been so impressive all year, matching McConnell pretty much all the way. But some terrible luck and a few cracks showed at Silverstone. 18 points is one hell of a margin to peg back on a guy riding the same bike. I’ll tip Seeley for a few race wins and McConnell to bring the championship home.

Who will become the first winner of four British Superbike titles? Do you agree with the opinions above? Leave your thoughts below.
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