Championship leader Steve Hislop returns to his native Scotland intent on increasing his advantage in the British Superbike title chase as he races his MonsterMob Ducati in the double race eighth round of the series at Knockhill on Sunday 12 August.

Hislop, the winner of the crown back in 1995, is locked in a tense power-struggle for supremacy with another former champion, John Reynolds, as the action moves into the second half of the campaign.

The 39-year-old from Hawick, who now lives in the Isle of Man, is setting a furious pace, winning eight races to his rivals six, and opening up a 20 points lead in the process but what has become a private duel for the winner's champagne could be upstaged at the tight demanding Fife circuit.

Meanwhile, Niall Mackenzie, the former triple champion, is making a racing return at the event. The highly popular Scot hung up his leathers at the end of last season after competing in the final round of that year's championship, but he has been persuaded to make what is certain to be an emotional racing farewell to his many fans at the circuit.

He will be riding a Clarion Suzuki, as team-mate to Glaswegian John Crawford and has underlined his determination to put on a real show withsome rapid testing.

"I'm looking forward to riding here, this is the circuit where my career began back in 1981, and I have had a lot of good results here, still hold the outright lap record and last year set pole time for the Superbikes," said Mackenzie.

"Both Suzuki and the circuit suggested that I should ride and the idea grew," he explained. "I am quite excited to ride again in front of my own fans. I will be looking for a strong result, as well as helping John Crawford but I will be enjoying the action."

The presence of Mackenzie will add an extra dimension to what is already an amazing front-running scrap. Reynolds, riding the Red Bull Ducati goes into the races, which come at a crucial time of the season, knowing that he has to win to peg back Hislop's lead, while the MonsterMob Ducati rider himself realises that the contest is virtually a winner takes all scenario.

Among the riders intent on reeling in the leading duo is James Haydon. The Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha rider is fully recovered from the horrific crash during the recent World Superbike meeting at Brands Hatch. The Berkhamsted rider is chasing his seasonal first victory, to underline his third place in the rankings and to lay the foundations for a late title challenge.

Adding to the leading pack action will be Sean Emmett, aboard the second Red Bull Ducati, Jamie Robinson, riding Yamaha, and the Dienza Ducati in the hands of former British 250cc and Supersport Champion Paul Brown, while leading Privateers Cup competitor Shane Byrne is looking to add to his commanding points lead.

Around the two Superbike races, there are five other British championship races.

Aussie Paul Young is bidding for a sixth victory in the Superstock class to head off the growing challenge of defending champion Dave Jefferies, while in the Supersport action, Kirk McCarthy is anxious to return to winning ways as Matt Llewellyn, John McGuinness and Karl Harris all close in.

Ulsterman Adrian Coates, also bidding for the Euro 250 Crown, takes a slender four points advantage into the eighth round of the 250cc Championship ahead of Darren Barton with Shane Norval also on the pace, but at Knockhill, keep a close eye on Hawick rider Stuart Easton, who enjoyed maiden glory at Thruxton and is keen to add a second success.

Casey Stoner, the 15-year-old Australian super-kid, has won five of the seven races so far in the 125cc class, to stay ahead of Paul Robinson and Steve Patrickson in the title chase while in the Junior Superstock Ben Wilson, Declan Cooper, Richard Cooper and Matt Layt are the likely front-runners.