15 December 2014
BSB Rider of the Year vote: 10th – Howie Mainwaring
He scored his first BSB race win at the Brands Hatch finale, earning Howie Mainwaring a spot in your BSB Rider of the Year top ten...
10th – Howie Mainwaring
Average poll score out of ten: 5.8
Team: Quattro Plant
Bike: Kawasaki ZX-10R
Fastest Laps: 0
Best Finish 1st
Championship points: 82
Championship position: 14th
To say Howie Mainwaring's run to victory in the final round of the 2014 MCE British Superbike Championship came somewhat out of the blue is perhaps a disservice to a rider that had good reason for a season spent in the shadow of the title-challenging team-mate… then again, you'd have hardly picked him as the rider most likely to win a race for Quattro Plant Kawasaki in 2014.
After exceeding expectations with the shortlived MH Kawasaki team in 2013, Mainwaring rightly earned a plum ride with the competitive mid-to-front running Quattro Plant outfit alongside Dan Linfoot for 2014, but his year threatened to be derailed before it had even begun by a shoulder injury that kept him out of the opening two events and continued to aggravate him thereafter.
Getting his first top ten finish on the board by round six at Thruxton, Mainwaring came into the final round triple-header having peaked in eighth place at Assen – a stark contrast to Linfoot, who at this point was in contention to end the year in the overall top three.
Then came Brands Hatch… Wet weather specialist or not, the way Mainwaring carved a route through the field in dodgy conditions before hitting the front and holding on victory was not only remarkable in how unexpected it was, but just how easy it looked. Even better, Mainwaring's similar trick in race two – this time a third place in the dry – was considered by the man himself to be a more rewarding result. He'd have probably made it a triple podium but for a crash in the final race of the year.
They were performances that would have yielded standing ovations even if they had been achieved by Byrne, Kiyonari or Brookes et al., but the fact it came from Mainwaring – having only cracked the top ten on just three occasions prior to that in 2014 – makes the result more compelling.
For those that may cry fluke, it is worth pointing out that Mainwaring had been quick from the start of the weekend during free practice leading up to the races as well – both wet and dry -, while his success wasn't simply achieved by dogged defence, he did it by ascending through the order in style.
Obviously one round doesn't necessarily make the rider, but it certainly made the season for Mainwaring, so while 14th overall doesn't tell the full story, it certainly raises the bar heading into 2015…
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2013: 12th
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2012: N/A
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011: N/A
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010: N/A
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009: N/A
Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...
About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' British Championship standings, the BSB Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.
Over 30,000 votes were cast for the 2014 Crash.net BSB Rider of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of the top twenty from this year's BSB standings with a mark out of ten.
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