Former champions Steve Hislop and John Reynolds head up an array of the country's leading racers who will be battling for glory in this year's British Superbike Championship, to be decided over 26 races, at 13 events.

Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha confirmed during the launch of this year's series, a feature of the opening day of the London Motorcycle and Scooter Show, that they will have factory supported teams on the starting grid for what is generally regarded as the toughest domestic series in the world.

Scotsman Hislop, the 11 times Isle of Man TT winner, reckons that with the MonsterMob Ducati team he has the machinery that will see a repeat of his 1995 title success but for many, the fierce rivalry between the former Reve
Red Bull Ducati teamsters, Reynolds and James Haydon, will provide the decisive action.

Reynolds (pictured celebrating his first WSBK win) has been third in the points in each of the past two seasons, and was champion in 1992. He continues with the Ducati team with whom he was the most consistent rider in the series last year, winning four times as he finished every race in the top five

"That was very disappointing, but it has made me all the more determined for the new season - I know what I want, and that is to win races, and the title," said a determined Reynolds.

Haydon, who won three times last season, finishing just adrift of Reynolds in the standings, has switched from Reve Red Bull to head up the Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha challenge.

Haydon is fully fired up for the challenge ahead: "For sure it is going to be a really competitive affair with Reynolds - bring him on, lets get racing. The racing will be hard, but I have the tools for the job and can win races and the championship."

Intent on heading them off in what is certain to be another close, thrill packed, encounter are riders with impressive winning credentials.

John Crawford, twice the winner of the British Supersport crown before graduating into last year's Superbike class, is keen to grab the "number one" plates with Crescent Suzuki; Sean Emmett, rejoins the Reve Red Bull equipe; Jamie Robinson is back in domestic action after a year in Grand Prix aboard a Yamaha; Steve Plater has Michael Rutter as his new team-mate in the Kawasaki team; while former British 250cc Champion Paul Brown rides the Dienza Motorola Ducati

The close duelling continues through the field, with Shane Byrne, aboard the Performance House Suzuki certain to be a front-runner with Dave Wood riding the Myco Motorsport Kawasaki pressing him hard.

The 2001 British Superbike Championship roars into actions with the double race-opening round at Donington Park, Leicestershire, on Sunday 1 April.



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