With just ten points separating Noriyuki Haga
and Ben Spies ahead of this weekend's 2009 World Superbike Championship showdown at Portimao, this year's finale has all the ingredients of being a classic.
From breathtaking last lap dices, to spectacular accidents, to dominant victories, this year's championship tussle has had everything… and yet while the pendulum of momentum has swung constantly between the two protagonists, both Haga and Spies come to the final round barely separated.
Given Spies was more than 80 points behind Haga at one stage, it's hardly surprising that many are comparing it to the title race of 2002 - when Colin Edwards overturned a similar huge deficit to catch Troy Bayliss
and snatch the title.
Just one point apart heading to the final round at Imola - and just six points apart (in Edwards' favour) at the start of the second and final race of the day - it was arguably the finest end to a World Superbike season. Both Edwards and Bayliss brought their fierce rivalry to a head with some aggressive - but clean – riding that will forever be entrenched in World Superbike folklore.
Whether a similarly captivating finale awaits us this weekend remains to be seen, but in the meantime, why not get in the mood by reliving that final race of 2002 by clicking on these links below...
2002 WSBK title showdown - Part 1 CLICK HERE
2002 WSBK title showdown - Part 2 CLICK HERE
2002 WSBK title showdown - Part 3 CLICK HERE
2002 WSBK title showdown - Part 4 CLICK HERE