Steve Hislop returns to his favourite Oulton Park circuit, on Sunday 22 July, aiming for another winning double booster to his title hopes as he powers into the seventh round of the British Superbike Championship.

The 39-year-old Scot hit double top at the picturesque Cheshire circuit a couple of months ago to close in on his rival for the crown John Reynolds.

The two former champions have set the pace throughout a hotly competitive campaign which has seen each of them take 'six of the best' victories, as they line up for the halfway stage races of the season, just ten points separate them.

Hislop, riding the MonsterMob Ducati, has the slender advantage in a duel that is fast becoming a case of winner takes all and the champion of 1995 looks set to maintain his lead in the title stakes, building further on his winning pedigree at the circuit where he holds the lap record, at an average speed of 107.89mph.

The Scot actually bettered that pace during qualifying for the fourth round in May and came close to equaling it as he won two hard fought races in which Reynolds, the title winner in 1992, pressed him hard throughout.

It was the first time that Hislop had enjoyed a winning double in the series, but he lost no time in taking a second, with a dominant performance next time out at Brands Hatch which put him ahead, for the first time, in the title race.

Reynolds, who enjoyed one of his five victories of last season at Oulton Park, hit back last time out at Thruxton, taking the honours in the afternoon's second race, to reduce Hislop's lead to just ten points.

The Hislop-Reynolds title scrap is almost a private affair, with nearest challenger to them James Haydon having to reel in a 91 points deficit, but the Berkhamsted rider is still determined to have a major say in the outcome of the title. Riding the Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha, he has put together a string of seven podium finishes and is overdue a seasonal first victory.

Haydon is a hard charging rider and he will be well on the pace, as will the Kawasaki duo of Steve Plater, looking good with two top three finishes after a length lay-off through injury and Michael Rutter who is producing some of his best form of the campaign.

Keep an eye out also for John Crawford, the former twice British Supersport Champion, who is looking good on the Clarion Suzuki along with Paul Brown riding Dienza Ducati, while Reynolds needs to be mindful of the in-team challenge he faces from the speedy Sean Emmett.

Nantwich rider Nigel Nottingham, aboard the locally backed Music and Video Campaign Yamaha R7, will be looking for a solid points haul to consolidate his third place overall in the Privateers Cup.

The HGV driver has put in a series of solid rides and is keen to become the first rider to head off the dominant Shane Byrne. Riding for Performance House Suzuki, Byrne has taken the honours in all 12 races so far, with Lee Jackson running him close at times but on his local circuit Nottingham is at his most determined to grab the glory.

Around the two Superbike races there is a big supporting programme of further British championship action.

Aussie whiz-kid Casey Stoner needs a fifth victory to stay ahead of Paul Robinson and former champion Steve Patrickson in the 125cc action, while in the Supersport category Matt Llewellyn riding for the Manchester based V&M Yamaha team needs a second victory of the season to reel in the 21 points deficit by which he trails Castrol Honda's Kirk McCarthy.

Adrian Coates has not finished outside the top three so far, to lead the British 250cc Championship, but Darren Barton and Shane Norval are both well in the hunt and a repeat of his Thruxton victory would see Stuart Easton moving in on the leading trio.

John Crockford became the first rider to head off the dominant Paul Young in the British Superstock series, taking the Thruxton victory, but the Aussie, who has won five races, reckons he will be back to winning ways at Oulton Park.

In the British Junior Superstock Championship Ben Wilson, who enjoyed the third of his four victories at the Cheshire circuit earlier in the campaign, is set for an action replay to increase his points advantage ahead of Declan Swanton and Richard Cooper.

 

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