Flying Scot Steve Hislop faces a final round showdown with Sean Emmett at Donington Park this weekend, to decide the outcome of the 2002 British Superbike Championship.

The two riders are separated by 37 points as they face their high speed 'shoot-out' over two 20 lap races of the Leicestershire Grand Prix circuit.

MonsterMob Ducati rider Hislop is in the driving seat, holding the points advantage, but the Isle of Man-based rider can take nothing for granted as none of his past three races have gone according to plan and he has lost ground to Emmett, who despite hand injuries sustained in a crash during qualifying for the recent Oulton Park round, has racked up points to challenge for maiden title glory.

In what has been a roller-coaster season for Emmett, he has shown his speed and style to shrug aside the trauma of a mid-season switch of team. Having won four times with IFC Ducati, he had to move quickly to keep his title challenge on track when that team withdrew from the Thruxton round amid delayed sponsorship funding problems. Emmett linked up with Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha and rapidly got to grips with the machine, taking a brace of thirds first time out at the Hampshire circuit.

The Weybridge-based rider has still to taste the victor's champagne as a Yamaha rider, but in the penultimate round at Mallory Park, despite a second row start and a numb left hand Emmett grabbed two second place finishes to pile the pressure onto Hislop, who is bidding to regain the crown he last held back in 1995.

Hislop, who saw his young MonsterMob team-mate Stuart Easton take the national Supersport crown last time out, is keen to complete the double - his efforts however have been compounded by a rare machine failure, then tyre problems and in the second race at Mallory Park a rare error when he momentarily touched the engine 'kill' switch on his bike.

''I'm very disappointed as I really wanted to sew things up at Mallory, but it didn't happen - the tyre didn't work in the first race and in the second the bike cut out just as I was about to lap some backmarkers and I lost the tow. I didn't do myself or the team justice so I will have to put that right at Donington,'' Hislop explained.

Emmett is promising to make the series leader work all of the way. ''There is all to play for now and you never know what is ahead.'' But it won't all be plain sailing for Emmett who is under some pressure to hang on to second place with Michael Rutter, having taken his seasonal winner pedigree to six races he now lies a mere 22 points behind him.

The Renegade Ducati racer, who enjoyed his first ever triumph in the series at Donington in 1995, is riding better now than at any time in his career and together with his team-mate Shane Byrne is certain to be in the front-running pack, as they were in the Championship's early season visit to the circuit when they each took a victory.

Adding further spice to the action will be Nottingham's John Reynolds, who relinquishes his hard earned crown of last season after the meeting - the Rizla Suzuki rider is keen to end his reign on a winning note, while Lincolnshire race-ace Steve Plater, having tasted glory in two of his last three rides aboard his Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha is keen for more.

Meanwhile in the Superstock Championship, three riders face an intense power-struggle in the final round title decider. Yorkshireman Dave Jefferies, bidding for a second crown in three seasons, heads the pack, just, from Chris Burns and John Crockford, while in the Junior Superstock series Craig Jones and Thomas Sykes continue their season long duel in what has come down to a final race winner takes all affair.

Chris Martin will be looking for a fifth victory in the 125cc Championship, to celebrate his title while the newly crowned Supersport Champion Stuart Easton has similar plans. And, for good measure, there is the finale to the Ducati S4 Monster Challenge.

 

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