British Superbike Championship

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British Superbike Championship
The official British Superbike logo
CategoryMotorcycle sport
CountryUnited Kingdom
Inaugural season1988
Riders37 (2016)
Teams19 (2016)
Constructors6 (BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha)
Tyre suppliersPirelli
Riders' champion2022 - Bradley Ray
Current season

The British Superbike Championship (BSB), currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, is the leading road racing superbike championship in the United Kingdom, and is still acknowledged to be the premier domestic superbike racing series in the world.[1][2]

The championship is managed and organised by MotorSport Vision,[3] who also own many of the circuits the series meets at. The Series and Race Director is Stuart Higgs, with event marshals provided by the Racesafe Marshals Association.[4]

The series typically races over twelve rounds from April to October, with the series concluding in a three-round 'Showdown,' where the top six riders are awarded points based on their podium finishes from the previous nine rounds and then compete over three rounds and seven races for the title.[5] The Showdown format was introduced in 2010 in order to prevent a rider from making a runaway victory in the championship.

From 2008, the championship followed the Superbike World Championship in appointing Pirelli as the single control tyre supplier.[6]


2006 British Supersport Race at Thruxton Circuit

The British Superbike Championship began in 1988, with bikes conforming to 750cc TT Formula I regulations, which the championship used through to 1993, when Superbike regulations were adopted.

Niall Mackenzie was the most successful rider of the 1990s, with three titles. Other past champions include Neil Hodgson, Australian Troy Bayliss and Steve Hislop. Chris 'the Stalker' Walker has finished as runner up 4 times. Many riders from the series have gone on to race in the Superbike World Championship or MotoGP.

The 2006 British Superbike Championship was won by Ryuichi Kiyonari, in what was one of the most exciting climaxes to a British Superbike season in years. Kiyonari fought off the challenge of Ducati powered Leon Haslam and Gregorio Lavilla at the final round in Brands Hatch in front of a capacity crowd and a reported 1.5 million live TV viewers, with Kiyonari and Haslam each winning one race, and Lavilla crashing and having an engine problem in both races.

The 2009 British Superbike Championship was mainly dominated by the Yamaha of Leon Camier who set a new record of 14 race wins in a season at event eight of twelve, such was his domination of the championship, beating the previous record of 13 by Niall Mackenzie in the 1997 season.[7] Guintoli, Brookes and Richards all missed races, allowing Stuart Easton of Hydrex Honda and Simon Andrews of MSS Colchester Kawasaki to challenge.

It was claimed that BSB was the biggest supported British racing series,

During 2009, 368,000 people attended BSB events across the country and 8,000,000 fans watched 310 hours of television on the live Eurosport and delayed ITV coverage[8]

For 2010, the Privateers cup was replaced by the Evolution Class. MSVR stated that "It will be open to anyone in the series from the official manufacturer-backed teams through to independent entries and will allow homologated machines with full Superbike racing rolling chassis to retain the very important visual impression but engines will have to be built to very stringent "Stock" regulations. Along with standard engines a series specified control ECU device that eliminates any form of traction control, launch control and anti-wheelie devices will be compulsory"[9][10][11]

Qualifying was also altered, with the "Roll for Pole" only setting the grid for race one of each weekend. This is due to the race two grid being set by the fastest laps of each rider in race one. Also introduced is a "second chance" system if a rider crashes on lap one, that rider will only drop eight places from where they started the first race. At the pair of triple-race meetings, the same rules apply for race two, but will also be applied for race three.[12]

Playoff Era (2010–present)[edit]

Perhaps the biggest rule change was the dividing of the championship into two parts, similar to the system used in two major automobile racing series in the United States – the NASCAR Playoffs, and National Hot Rod Association's Countdown to the Championship.

The first nine meetings (19 races) form the "Main Season" of the championship, before the final three meetings (seven races) make up "The Showdown". The championship change has been introduced after Leon Camier clinched the 2009 title with four races to spare, thus introducing a crescendo of competition.[12]

The normal FIM point-scoring system still applies, with 25 for the winner and a single point for 15th. At the end of the Main Season, all riders then drop their two worst scores, which must be from events they have at least qualified for. From this points order, the first six riders in the championship standings will be elevated to a new base level and become the Title Fighters for the final three events and seven races of the championship.[12]

The playoff format is similar to the 2007-10 NASCAR Playoff format used in their premiership, based on a six-rider format, but offering bonus points for any finish first to third, unlike NASCAR's format which only rewards wins. Each Title Fighter will start The Showdown with 500 points, plus additional points for each podium position they have obtained in the Main Season; 3 for a win, 2 for a second, and 1 for a third, termed "Podium Credits".[12] Using the first nineteen races of Camier's 2009 campaign, Camier would have had 547 points due to his fifteen wins and a second place out of the first nineteen races of the season.

The standard points scoring format from the Main Season then continues for The Showdown, with all points scores from the final seven races counting.[12] All riders outside of the Title Fighters continue to race for the BSB Riders' Cup, continuing to add to their points total from the end of the Main Season. This also applies to the new Evolution class.[12]

For the 2012 season, MSVR announced a number of changes to the technical regulations to enhance the spectacle of the British Superbike Championship. The championship was to be limited to 32 entries, 16 two-bike teams. This was intended to be a way to reward the teams that have raced in BSB, year in, year out. Teams within the current BSB were invited to enter their two bike teams initially, with teams who wish to graduate to the BSB class having to buy an entry.[13]

For the 2014 season, the playoff bonus points system was changed. Riders earned five points for a win, three points for second, and one point for third.[14]

For the 2021 season, the playoff system was adjusted again. Eight riders, up from six, will now compete in the playoff.[15]


Being a national championship, the British Superbike Championship has visited circuits throughout the United Kingdom, as well as European venues, over its history. In 2014, the series visits nine different tracks in England, Scotland and the Netherlands. These tracks are: Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit, Knockhill Racing Circuit, Thruxton Circuit, Cadwell Park, Donington Park, TT Circuit Assen and Silverstone Circuit.

In the past, the BSB has visited Croft Circuit, Mallory Park and Rockingham Motor Speedway in England, Mondello Park in Ireland and Pembrey Circuit in Wales.

Types of motorcycles used[edit]

Superbike racing motorcycles are derived from standard production models. In the past, however, manufacturers took advantage of loopholes in the rules to create "homologation specials" — motorcycles with low production numbers made especially for racing.

Motorcycles that raced in the British Superbike Championship include:

Withdrawn motorcycles

Race weekend[edit]

2 Race Weekend 3 Race Weekend
  • Practice 1 (50 Mins)
  • Practice 2 (50 Mins)
  • Practice 1 (50 Mins)
  • Practice 2 (50 Mins)
  • Practice 3 (50 Mins)
  • Qualifying (3 Sessions)
    • Session 1: All riders
    • Session 2: Riders Between 20-10 Knocked Out
    • Session 3: Top 10 Shootout
  • Qualifying (3 Sessions)
    • Session 1: All riders
    • Session 2: Riders Between 20-10 Knocked Out
    • Session 3: Top 10 Shootout
  • Race 1
  • Warm Up (20 Mins)
  • Race 1
  • Race 2
  • Warm Up (10 Mins)
  • Race 2
  • Race 3
  • For 2010 a change to the qualifying system means that riders will only "qualify" for race one, (or race one and two if it is a 3 race weekend). The grid for the other race will be decided by the fastest lap in the previous race.[8]

Support classes[edit]

Currently, the BSB is supported by four main support series. These being:

TV coverage[edit]

The move to ITV vastly increased the viewing figures by a reported 450% over the figures for 2005.[17]

During the 2006 season ITV1's BSB coverage attracted an average UK adult audience of 962,000 per round with a peak audience of more than 1.5 million for the cliff-hanger final leg at Brands Hatch[18]

Races were covered live by ITV and Sky Sports.

Over the twelve BSB rounds, the 'live' ITV1 coverage attracted an average adult audience of some 11,552,000, which equates to an average viewership of 962,000 per round and 10.68% audience share with 317,100 attending the twelve rounds, with 270,000 viewers on "delayed" Sky Sports transmission

For the 2008 championship, the series was now live on British Eurosport, with highlights on Channel 4 within the next few days.[19] This was a step down from where the BSB had previously been having an effect on the viewing figures

The total UK BSB TV audience in 2008 was 7 million compared to 11 million in 2007 – which averages at 600,000 per round which was basically split 50:50 between Eurosport and Channel 4[20]

Scoring system[edit]

Current Points System
Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Points 25 20 16 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

British Superbike Champions[edit]

Season Series Rider Bike Team Notes
1988 750 cc / TT F1 England Darren Dixon Japan Suzuki RG500 (1) Padgetts Racing Dixon went on to pilot sidecars alongside passenger Andy Hetherington
1989 750cc / TT F1 England Steve Spray United Kingdom Norton RCW JPS Norton Racing
Superbike Scotland Brian Morrison Japan Honda VFR750R RC30 (1) Honda UK Murray Intl
1990 750cc / TT F1 England Terry Rymer Japan Yamaha FZR750R 0W01 (1) Team Loctite Terry now runs Diablo 666 Endurance racing Team[21]
Superbike England Trevor Nation United Kingdom Norton RCW JPS Norton Racing
1991 750 cc / TT F1 England Rob McElnea Japan Yamaha FZR750R 0W01 (2) Team Loctite
Superbike England James Whitham Japan Suzuki GSX-R Castrol Suzuki Team Grant
1992 750 cc / TT F1 England John Reynolds Japan Kawasaki ZXR750 (1) Team Green
Superbike England John Reynolds Japan Kawasaki ZXR750 (1) Team Green
1993 Superbike England James Whitham Japan Yamaha YZF750 (3) Fast Orange
1994 Superbike Scotland Ian Simpson United Kingdom Norton Rotary F1 (1) Team Crighton
1995 Superbike Scotland Steve Hislop Italy Ducati 916/955 (1) Devimead Whitham was suffering from/treated for Hodgkin's Disease, a form of cancer[22]
1996 Superbike Scotland Niall Mackenzie Japan Yamaha YZF750 (4) Cadbury's Boost
1997 Superbike Scotland Niall Mackenzie Japan Yamaha YZF750 (5) Cadbury's Boost
1998 Superbike Scotland Niall Mackenzie (3) Japan Yamaha YZF750 (6) Cadbury's Boost 387 points, 6 wins and 1 pole from 24 races
1999 Superbike Australia Troy Bayliss Italy Ducati 996 (2) INS GSE 394 points, 7 wins and 6 poles from 24 races
2000 Superbike England Neil Hodgson Italy Ducati 996 (3) INS GSE 422 points, 7 wins and 5 poles from 24 races

Privateer Cup Champion: Dave Heal (Kawasaki ZX-7R) (Myco Motorsports)

2001 Superbike England John Reynolds Italy Ducati 996 RS (4) Reve Red Bull 536 points
2002 Superbike Scotland Steve Hislop (2) Italy Ducati 998 RS (5) Monstermob Ducati 452 points, 8 wins, 5 poles and 17 podiums from 26 races (1 DNF)
2003 Superbike England Shane Byrne Italy Ducati 998 F02 (6) Monstermob Ducati 488 points, 12 wins, 5 poles and 21 podiums from 24 races (1 DNF)
2004 Superbike England John Reynolds (3) Japan Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2) Crescent Q8 Rizla 446 points, from 26 races
2005 Superbike Spain Gregorio Lavilla Italy Ducati 999 F04 (7) Airwaves GSE Reynolds injured in pre-season testing. 461 points from 26 races
2006 Superbike Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari Japan Honda CBR1000RR (2) HM Plant HRC 466 points, 11 wins from 26 races
2007 Superbike Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari Japan Honda CBR1000RR (3) HM Plant HRC 433 points, 8 wins from 26 races
2008 Superbike England Shane Byrne (2) Italy Ducati 1098 (8) Airwaves GSE 474 points, 10 wins from 24 races, 5 poles, 3 doubles (1 DNF)
2009 Superbike England Leon Camier Japan Yamaha YZF-R1 (7) Airwaves GSE 549.5 points, 19 wins from 26 races, 9 poles, 4 doubles & 1 treble (1 DSQ)
2010 Superbike Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari (3) Japan Honda CBR1000RR (4) HM Plant HRC First season of NASCAR Playoffs-style points system.
2011 Superbike England Tommy Hill Japan Yamaha YZF-R1 (8) Swan Yamaha Championship down to last corner of the last race - won by 2 points overall and 0.006 seconds.
2012 Superbike England Shane Byrne (3) Japan Kawasaki ZX-10R (2) Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki Championship down to the last race at Brands Hatch.
2013 Superbike England Alex Lowes Japan Honda CBR1000RR (5) Samsung Honda UK Championship down to the last race at Brands Hatch. Three wet races.
2014 Superbike England Shane Byrne (4) Japan Kawasaki ZX-10R (3) Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki Took the title after challenger Kiyonari broke his collar bone during practice at the final round.
2015 Superbike Australia Josh Brookes Japan Yamaha YZF-R1 (9) Milwaukee Yamaha 703 points, 13 wins, 23 podiums & 6 doubles.
2016 Superbike England Shane Byrne (5) Italy Ducati 1199 Panigale (9) Be Wiser Ducati Championship down to the last race at Brands Hatch.
2017 Superbike England Shane Byrne (6) Italy Ducati 1199 Panigale (10) Be Wiser Ducati Championship down to the last race at Brands Hatch between Shane Byrne, Leon Haslam and Josh Brookes.
2018 Superbike England Leon Haslam Japan Kawasaki ZX-10R (4) JG Speedfit Kawasaki 699 points, 15 wins, 4 doubles, 1 treble and finished every race.
2019 Superbike England Scott Redding Italy Ducati Panigale V4 (1) Be Wiser Ducati Debut season for Redding after moving to BSB from MotoGP
2020 Superbike Australia Josh Brookes (2) Italy Ducati Panigale V4 (2) VisionTrack Ducati Season run behind closed doors (global pandemic) and shorter calendar. First non-Playoff format since 2009.
2021 Superbike Scotland Tarran Mackenzie Japan Yamaha YZF-R1 (10) McAMS Yamaha Playoff format returned and extended to top 8 riders.
2022 Superbike England Bradley Ray Japan Yamaha YZF-R1 (11) Rich Energy OMG Yamaha Playoff format for top 8 riders.


  1. ^ (30 October 2012). "MV Agusta tipped for BSB return".
  2. ^ "What is MCE BSB". Archived from the original on 1 July 2014.
  3. ^ "MSV takes over BSB". 20 February 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  4. ^ "Marshals' Association". Racesafe. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  5. ^ Official British Superbike Championship. "Rules and points". Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.
  6. ^ "British SuperBike - PIRELLI TYRE". 13 April 2009. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Teletext Holidays | Book a 2021/22 holiday today with low deposits".
  8. ^ a b [1] Archived May 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ [2] Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "BSB announces new 'Evolution' class for 2010". Crash Media Group. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  11. ^ "New BSB Evolution class for 2010". Brands Hatch; MotorSport Vision. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ a b c d e f "BSB set to intensify in 2010 with new rule changes". British Superbike Championship. MotorSport Vision. 3 February 2010. Archived from the original on 25 February 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  13. ^ "British Superbikes limited to 32 places for 2012". BikeSport News. 6 August 2011. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  14. ^ Patterson, Simon. "HBSB adjust Showdown format for 2014". Motorcycle News. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  15. ^ Newbie, Chris. "BSB Showdown Explained – All you need to know". Bennetts. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  16. ^ a b c "MSVR - MSV Racing - the race organising division of MSV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Buy Motorcycle Clothing, Motorcycle Parts and Motorcycle Accessories online safely and securely". MSG Bike Gear. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  18. ^ "Eurosport deal bad news for BSB? - Motorcycle news : Racing news". Visordown. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  19. ^ "British Superbikes Goes Live On Eurosport". BikeSport News. Retrieved 26 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ footnote text here
  21. ^ "World Endurance Racing". Diablo 666. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  22. ^ "James Whitham - What a Good Do!". 23 July 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.

External links[edit]