The British Superbike Championship, powered by Halls, makes its final outing of the year this weekend [27-28 September] as it rolls into Donington Park, Derby, for the twelfth round of the UK's premiere motorcycle series.

Despite the Championship being sewn up at Cadwell Park last month by Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, the draw for the fans will be as great as ever as the three times British Superbike Champion Niall Mackenzie comes out of retirement, replacing injured Rizla Suzuki rider Yukio Kagayama.

The popular Scotsman, who retired two years ago, lives in nearby Ashby de la Zouch and like team mate John Reynolds, will be looking for a strong finish at his home track. The team's hopes are high for Mackenzie; he is the Rizla Suzuki test and development rider and has plenty of experience on the bike.

Reynolds will also hope to finish the season on a high note, by adding to his tally of four wins this year. The ever popular 'JR' claimed the second place in the overall standings at Brands Hatch earlier in the month.

Meanwhile, last year's runner up, Renegade Ducati rider Michael Rutter will be going all-out to hang on to his third place in the Championship. Rutter, who looked set to retain his second place until Reynolds put it out of his reach at Brands last time out, knows that nothing is certain until the final chequered flag drops. The Kirkby Mallory-based rider has experienced a season of mixed fortunes and with only a 23 point lead over his nearest rival, Honda Racing's Steve Plater, and a total of fifty points up for grabs at Donington, he is all too aware of the need to turn in a faultless performance.

Plater has already made five visits to the BSB rostrum this year, two of which were to the top step. Despite a disappointing outing at Brands, the Lincolnshire-based rider can still steal the third place away from Rutter this weekend and will seize the opportunity to prove a personal point at the end of a difficult season.

Hawk Kawasaki rider Glen Richards has proved to be one of the British Superbike's jewels this year and has thrilled the crowds with his tenacious riding and superb handling skills aboard his 750cc machine. Richard's team boss, Stuart Hicken, has been so impressed by the Ozzie this year that he has already signed the young rider for 2004. Richards will no doubt want to repay him with a perfect performance this weekend.

In the Privateers Cup, Dave Wood has built a massive 43 point lead over Dennis Hobbs, but with 50 points still up for grabs, Wood must still push himself to the limit to put the title out of Hobbs' reach.

While the top-line series entertains the crowds with their racing they are, as ever, joined by a superb line-up of support races. Like the BSB series the British Supersport Championship has already been decided with Honda Racing's Karl Harris claiming the 2003 Championship title while last year's winner Stuart Easton settles for second. However, this weekend racing fans will be treated to one more final battle in the Superstock category.

Class leader Steve Brogan leads Andy Tinsley by 28 points, and with a double race bill this weekend for the class, and a total 50 points available the pair have everything to play for.

Both the 125 Championship and the Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup delivered new champions last time out at Brands Hatch, as Michael Wilcox established an insurmountable lead over nearest rival John Pearson in the 125s and 18 year old Tommy Hill was crowned the first ever Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup Champion. The battle for second overall in the inaugural year of the series, however, rages on between Peter Ward, Kieran Clarke and Cal Crutchlow and promises another fantastic race from the highly competitive youngsters.

BSB qualifying starts on Saturday at 2.45pm, followed by the Dunlop Super 12 at 3.30pm. Racing gets underway on Sunday at 1.15pm; with race two at 3.45pm. The best of the action will be shown live on Sky Sports 2 with further deferred highlights on BBC Grandstand.

 

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