Brands Hatch - Preview.

Shane Byrne has a close affinity to Brands Hatch, having begun his racing career there, and also taking his first victory. now he plans to celebrate his success in clinching the 2008 Bennetts British Superbike title with a winning double in the final round, prior to his graduation to the World Superbike Championship in 2009.

The Airwaves Ducati rider took the country's premier crown for the second time in five years in the penultimate round, but that has not lessened his desire to add to the eight race winning pedigree that put him clear of the pack in the title stakes.

"It's my home circuit, and I can just go out there and enjoy myself knowing that the championship is mine," said Byrne who knows the Indy circuit well and that it suits Ducati, as illustrated by Gregorio Lavilla's victory aboard the Airwaves bike last year. "I really hope I can sign the season off in style and I'm going to be pushing 100% to get back onto the top step of the podium."

That will not come easily. Five riders go into the final two 30 lap races scrapping for the runner-up spot and that promises a real high-speed 'shoot-out' for supremacy. Leon Haslam, riding HM Plant Honda for the last time in British action before also moving to WSBK, is the in-form man of the moment having won five of the previous seven races.

"Winning is what it is all about and I want to end the season with a double, ending on a real high - my aim at the start of the season was the title, but now I want to be the best of the rest. In the last four rounds I've been the top scorer and I am keen to continue that to make up for the bad start I had to the season," said Haslam who takes an 18 points advantage into the action over Tom Sykes.

Riding the Rizla Suzuki, Sykes has made a big impact in only his second year of Superbike action, and particularly in the second half of the campaign he has taken the fight to the sharp-end of the pack, winning three times, something that he is keen to extend as a fitting farewell to the series prior to his own move into WSBK next year.

"I am going there in the mind set to win the races," said Sykes. "I need to at least beat Leon Haslam as we want the runner-up spot in the standings rather than third."

Cal Crutchlow, whose second victory on this season came at the Kent circuit back in May, is keen for a winning finale. He too is moving onwards and upwards next season, riding in World Supersport, but first, he feels he has unfinished business with his current HM Plant Honda team.

"I desperately want to end this year on a high and for me a win at least would be the best way to sign-off things in the UK but I will be doing everything I can to do the double," pledged Crutchlow who like Leon Camier, aboard the second Airwaves Ducati, has an uphill struggle to take the 'number 2' plate.

Camier claimed his third win of the season last time out and is enjoying some of his best form and that could spell problems for his rivals, although they should all check the form of the rejuvenated Michael Rutter aboard the North West 200 Ducati.

Rutter is running sixth overall in the rankings, ahead of the impressive James Ellison, riding Hydrex Bike Animal Honda; Simon Andrews on the Lloyds British Jentin Yamaha and Relentless Suzuki rider Michael Laverty whose elder brother John is planning to underline his Daily Star Cup championship success aboard the Buildbase NW200 Ducati by signing off his season with a double victory.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
66. Tom Sykes Rizla Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000 K8, leads field off line
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Glenn Irwin, Be Wiser Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jakub Smrz, Lloyd & Jones/PR Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jakub Smrz, Lloyd & Jones/PR Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Westmoreland, Gearlink Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Billy McConnell, Quattro Plant Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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