Shane 'Shakey' Byrne could be crowned the 2008 Bennetts British Superbike champion this weekend at Croft, an event the Zurich-based Londoner will start with a 110 point lead over nearest rival Tom Sykes.

Byrne may not have tasted the winner's champagne since victory at Mallory Park back in June, but consistency is the keyword of his season, with only one blemish, a tumble at Knockhill.

That apart, he has finished every race in the top three and that record has put the title comfortably within his reach and two top two finishes in this round could see him crowned champion.

"I know I can't afford to drop more than ten points to Sykes so first up we are going to have to work hard to get to the front and then think about wrapping up the championship after that," explained Byrne, the BSB title winner in 2003. "Winning the championship at Croft is a possibility, and that would be fantastic.

"However Croft is not a favourite circuit of mine but I don't dislike it either; it has not been particularly kind to me in the past but hopefully my luck might change there this year."

Among those aiming to give the Airwaves Ducati rider a tough time will be Sykes and Cal Crutchlow, who go into the action at the North Yorkshire circuit buoyed by their world class form of last Sunday.

Then, Sykes led the opening World Superbike race at Donington Park but the Rizla Suzuki rider had to settle for second best to twice champion Troy Bayliss while Crutchlow, aboard the HM Plant Honda, ran former twice British champion Ryuichi Kiyonari a close second next time out.

"I've taken a podium at World level, we've gained some valuable wet settings and I'm now looking forward to Croft where I want to add to my three victories in the British Championship," said Sykes. "Riding in the World Superbikes at Brands and Donington has been a brilliant experience and I will be using that to the full."

Crutchlow is also intent on building on his strong performance that impressed the World Superbike regulars: "I was confident that I could catch Kiyo, but the conditions were not good and in the end decided that discretion is the better part of valour and took second, but now I want more strong results starting at Croft."

Together with Cadwell Park double winner Leon Haslam, who also showed well in the WSBK action at Donington Park, Sykes and Crutchlow are currently scrapping for the runner-up spot in the title chase.

Byrne's team-mate Leon Camier is also expected to be at the sharp end of the action, with Karl Harris also intent on a strong run aboard the Rob Mac Racing Yamaha.

Stuart Easton and Billy McConnell are also keen to make am impact on the race with Michael Rutter chasing a second victory of the campaign aboard the North West 200 Ducati.

A team with local connections is the Teesside-based Hydrex Bike Animal Honda squad, run by Shaun Muir and fielding James Ellison and Guy Martin; they will be looking to add more silverware to what has been a reasonably successful season to date.

Former MotoGP rider Ellison, from Kendal in the nearby Lake District was a revelation at Donington Park for the World Superbike meeting, coming home in fourth place.

As well as the BSB crown, it is also possible that another couple of titles could be decided with Ulsterman John Laverty (Buildbase Ducati) on the brink of claiming the BSB Daily Star Cup for privateers and Steve Brogan could land the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship aboard his Honda UK-supported Fireblade.

In addition to the two, 20 lap feature races, a full support race programme is included during the weekend.
Matthew Hoyle leads the Relentless 125cc class but will be absent from Croft as he is racing at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, which will allow the chasing pack to close up.

Australian Glen Richards comfortably leads the Fuchs Silkolene British Supersport Championship aboard his MAP Embassy Triumph with Ulsterman Lee Johnston doing likewise in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 series, whereas Jon Kirkham is in charge in the Henderson Yamaha R1 Cup.

Saturday's action commences at 09.30 and sees the all-important qualifying sessions, including the new and exciting F1-style Swan Combi 50 qualifying session to set the grid for Sunday's two superbike races at 14.25, with the first of the weekend's seven races takes place with the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship race over 15 laps at 15.40.

Due to stringent noise restrictions and to comply with local authority regulations, the action cannot commence until after 12.00 noon on Sunday whereby the action kicks off with the warm up sessions before the first race is scheduled to start at 13.15.

However, during the morning, as well as there being an open paddock, there will be an hour-long 'Pit Walk' for fans to meet the riders and that is scheduled for between 10.30 and 11.30.