The British Superbike Championship takes on elite status next year with the organisers introducing new regulations amid major initiatives to ensure its continued growth and popularity - with the added incentive of the overall winner being the only domestic racer to be crowned as the "British Champion."

The Championship organisers, British Motorsport Promoters, intend that the double race British Superbike rounds at each of the 13 events during the 2002 season will be the main attraction, with the emphasis of service, finance and promotion centred around them.

The new regulations for the 2002 season will reduce costs for competitors and introduce more riders and teams into the country's premier racing series. The organisers are aiming to attract 16 two-rider teams to commit to the championship for two seasons. A participation allowance will be paid to the competing teams through a re-distribution of the prize money structure.

There will no Privateers' Cup, but cost saving initiatives currently being discussed with the teams include tyre restrictions, the abandonment of a control fuel and a limitation on testing. These measures, coupled with the wider array of machinery allowed under the new regulations, will ensure the quality and quantity of the entries.

The Superpole grid decider will continue to be a feature for the British Superbike Championship, running to the existing format except that the number of riders taking part will be increased from 12 to 16.

Running on the same programme at each British Superbike event will be five other championships, which will be of national status, with prime importance given to the Junior Superstock series. This will take on a one-make format, run specifically for riders aged between 16 and 22 years, and using control silencers and tyres. This will effectively mean control machines thus ensuring rider talent and ability is the key element to success.

Adding variety will be national championships for Supersport, Superstock, 125ccGP and guest races, the details of which will be announced shortly, but which are aimed at providing another dimension and attracting a different audience to race meetings.

New for next year and designed to boost interest in the supporting championships will be the elimination of permanent entry lists and registration fees together with the reduction of the meetings from three to two days. Other cost cutting measures will be tyre restrictions, the abandonment of control fuel and competitors will be able to run only one scrutineered machine at any one event.

The organisers are confident that this new look package will add to the thrills enjoyed by the millions of enthusiasts, both at the circuits and also those enjoying the action through the regular 'live' and recorded highlights television programmes.The television coverage of the British Superbike Championship is confirmed, with the BBC agreement to show 40 minutes of highlights on their flagship Grandstand programme the week following the race meeting continuing through to the end of the 2004 season.

Additionally, the agreement with NTL (currently broadcasting via British Eurosport) is secured until the end of the 2003 season. Broadcasts will continue to show races 'live', others 'as live', together with recorded highlights packages of ALL championships.

''I feel the importance of the Superbike Championship has been diluted because there are too many British Championships and it is for this reason that only the Superbike Championship will carry the British status," said Jos Foulston, the British Superbike Championship Series Director. "We will continue to focus all of our attention onto this Championship to ensure that is continues to be the best domestic championship in the World.

"Our secondary focus will be on the Junior class as this is absolutely fundamental to the future success of the Superbike category," he added. "As far as the supporting national championships are concerned it is essential that we make racing easily accessible, affordable and enjoyable. I believe that the new package and cost saving initiatives will achieve just that,"

Provisional British Superbike Championship dates for 2002:

30 March/1 April Silverstone*
12/14 April Brands Hatch - Indy
26/28 April Donington Park
4/6 May Oulton Park*
31May/2 June Snetterton
14/16 June Brands Hatch - GP
28/30 June TBA/Rockingham**
12/14 July Knockhill
9/11 August Thruxton
24/26 August Cadwell Park*
30August/1 September Oulton Park
13/15 September Mallory Park
27/29 September Donington Park

* Bank Holiday raceday
** Subject to circuit licence

Note: On the first day of each meeting there will be a three hour exclusive practice session for British Superbike competitors only.

 

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