Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki
A perennial fan favourite, there were certainly a few misty-eyes when Chris Walker turned back the clock in 2012 with an unexpected return to the top of the podium, a popular win that proved he can still cut it at this level.
Of course, that victory at Oulton Park stands as one of the highlights for the entire season, Walker using every ounce of his experience to catch, dice with and beat several better fancied riders in tricky conditions to win his first BSB race in a decade!
It was also the first win by a full-time BSB Kawasaki rider since Scott Smart in 2003, even before Shane Byrne established some momentum on the eventual title-winning Rapid Solicitors ZX-10R.
Looking back, it's easy to forget that Walker very nearly didn't ride for the Pr1mo Bournemouth team in 2012, the 40-year-old signed, dropped and then re-signed before the season had even gotten underway.
As such, that Oulton Park win would prove vindicating, though Walker did perform admirably elsewhere and was rarely out of top ten contention during the season. Indeed, Walker might have fancied his chances of a run at the 'Title Showdown' had he not picked up a foot injury mid-season, a set-back that blunted his momentum, if not his determination.
In the end, Walker held on for ninth in the overall standings, even keeping Stuart Easton on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki at bay to finish the year as the second-best of eight ZX-10R riders in 2012.
Better yet, Walker will be back again in 2013 with the same team (under the Quattro Plant banner), but this time with Kawasaki UK backing for a renewed shot at that belated title…
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2012:
7. Michael Laverty
8. James Westmoreland
9. Barry Burrell
10. Ian Lowry
Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...