Motorsport Vision chief executive Jonathan Palmer says the 'shootout' system used in the British Superbike Championship for the first time in 2010 is here to stay after the success of the rule change last year.
The controversial decision to implement a system similar to that seen in NASCAR's Chase for the Title divided opinion before the season got underway but ultimately led to a dramatic season finale at Oulton Park – where a hat-trick of victories for Ryuichi Kiyonari saw him secure the crown for a third time.
Insisting that the way the title was decided vindicated the decision to bring in the rule, Palmer said that the way fans had embraced the shootout meant it was a system that would now remain.
“There is no question that the decision was vindicated, partly because of the crescendo of excitement that came at the end of the year with the title fight going to the wire – which was always the intention,” he said. “But what is also important, aside from that fact, is that the gate for Oulton Park was bigger than ever which was clearly a consequence of the fact that the title went to the wire. The TV audience was bigger than the previous rounds for the same reason but perhaps most significantly, we did a survey at the final round and also online with our ticket customer base to ask if they thought the showdown concept was a good thing or a bad thing.
“The response was overwhelmingly that it was a good thing so the fans voted with their opinion and by attending the events. There is no question that it worked and it is here to stay.”
After another strong season for the series under the leadership of MSVR, Palmer said that BSB was in good shape for 2011 and would continue to hold a position as the biggest series in the UK.
“British Superbikes has been a huge success,” he said. “It is the countries biggest motor racing championship, bigger even than the BTCC in terms of spectator numbers, and it has thrived under Motor Sport Vision Racing. Stuart Higgs the series director does a great job with it and we are oversubscribed for the main British Superbike Championship this year. Last year saw a superb finale and I think there were six riders who could have won the title going into the final round at Oulton Park. It was a spectacular end to the year and Kiyo ultimately won it.
“It is unbelievable racing and British Superbikes is the biggest Superbike championship in the world in terms of numbers, with six or seven manufacturers and some top riders - it bigger even that World Superbikes or any other national class. It is a credit to the position that the UK has with some great circuits and we are working hard to promote it and make it the place to be.”