Five riders dip for 2020 BSB title as season sprint reaches Brands photo finish

The 2020 British Superbike Championship (BSB) may have been a bit 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' but it's set up a thriling premise for the Brands Hatch finale

Christian Iddon, Jason O'Halloran, Gino Rea

It’s been a strange old season for motorsport with the long COVID-19 delay leaving many twiddling their thumbs for the first half of the year only for everything to accelerate faster than a sprint to Paddock Hill Bend when we did eventually get underway.

Indeed, while MotoGP still appears like a full enough year across 14 races and WorldSBK feeling like business-as-usual no matter how many events as Jonathan Rea prepares to collect his sixth title, for BSB things have been a little different.

Six events, 18 races, flag-to-flag… it’s not the Title Showdown in format but certainly feels like it in practice.

It’s fitting then that five riders still have a shot at the 2020 BSB title coming to the season finale and given it’s being played out - as ever - at Brands Hatch, while the year may have felt ‘blink and miss it’, the ingredients for a thrilling climax remain in evidence.

Even now it is hard to call a potential winner with four of those five all within a race win (25 points) of the leader, currently Josh Brookes.

While Brookes may have started the year as favourite on paper having very nearly denied Scott Redding - who has since gone on to push Rea hard in WorldSBK - it hasn’t been a seamless route to the top of the pile, with the all-conquering PBM (VisionTrack) Ducati unable to showcase anywhere near the dominance of 2019.

And yet though it has felt very open with eight different winners this year, it is VisionTrack Ducati holding the aces heading to Brands Hatch with both Brookes and new team-mate Christian Iddon sitting 1-2 in the standings.

However, that rather belies the true story where consistency has had to play a hand, something no rider has really been able to get a grasp on. This is represented by the fact that while two riders have won three races this year, only one of them - Brookes - is in the hunt, with the other - Andrew Irwin - left wondering where it all went wrong.

Despite this he could definitely still play a significant role in deciding the outcome of the title with his brother Glenn Irwin very much in the hunt still. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the older of the Irwin brothers (one of three on the grid this year) who has overcome a truly torrid 2019 to front Honda’s renewed charge with instantly competitive Honda CBR1000RR-R.

Though he has fought a rearguard action in recent rounds as the Honda’s early dominance has been eroded, he remains well positioned only 18 points shy of the top.

That is just behind Iddon, who FINALLY got the monkey off his back by securing his maiden BSB win a full 10 years after making his debut. Six podiums have confirmed his title credentials, while it would be no mean feat to defeat Brookes at his first attempt… 

However, while Iddon has a good record at Brands Hatch, Brookes has an excellent one (he’s not called the King of Brands for no reason) making him the undoubted favourite this weekend.

That’s not to discount the McAMS Yamahas though, with Jason O’Halloran - after years of injuries and unfortunate moments - finally positioned in a convincing charge at the title. He’s arguably been the quickest in recent rounds and is carrying plenty of confidence to Brands Hatch, just 19 points shy of Brookes.

The final contender is the outsider with Tarran Mackenzie keeping himself in the mix with a win last time out at Donington Park. At 46 points off Brookes it’s a long shot but there are 75 points still up for grabs…

It’s going to be a cracker!