What result does Bradley Ray need to be crowned 2022 BSB Champion?

The 2022 British Superbike Championship (BSB) concludes this weekend with Bradley Ray on the cusp of the title... but what result does he need to win it?

Bradley Ray - RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha

The 2022 British Superbike Championship (BSB) comes to its conclusion this weekend with the final round taking place - as is tradition - at Brands Hatch with Bradley Ray on the cusp of a famous title win.

As ever, the championship is going down to the triple-headed wire around the Kent circuit - just as it is intended under the divisive Title Showdown format - but never before have the odds been so stacked in just one rider’s favour.

Indeed, it has been a surprising - and bruising - run into the championship finale for the eight title contenders with just six of the original eight seeing out the year, while the arguable favourite in Jason O’Halloran has seen the inside of the medical centre more often than the chequered flag.

It all means Ray on the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 is pretty much odds-on to lift his and the team’s first-ever BSB title in a result that few will begrudge after an extraordinary season.

There is no doubt Ray is a rider of immense speed and talent, winning races and reaching the then Top 6 Title Showdown in his second season of 2018. However, thereafter seemingly the belief and confidence - and the competitiveness of his Hawk Suzuki machinery - began to waver. 

A switch to BMW machinery, first with TAS Racing and then with OMG Racing, didn’t yield a return to the top of the podium but OMG’s move to secure a supply of the Yamaha R1s that dominated the 2021 BSB season has prompted heavenly matrimony.

Wins at the start of the year set Ray on course for the Showdown but the looming challenge of the factory McAMS squad - which began the year slowly before flexing muscles with a mid-season rout of wins - suggested a shift in the dynamic of Yamaha-equipped power.

However, after McAMS eased off the throttle in the run up to the Showdown, its season imploded with a series of incidents at Oulton Park, paving the way for Ray to stride clear almost unchallenged at the head of the standings.

With Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie down and out (literally for the latter), three wins from the six Showdown races so far have seen Ray move well clear of his two remaining rivals for the title - Glenn Irwin (66 points behind) and Tommy Bridewell (67 points behind).

With a maximum 75 points available from the final round, Ray needs just nine points - or a seventh place finish - from the first of those three races regardless of where Irwin finishes to be crowned 2022 BSB Champion.

In fact, Irwin MUST finish first or second in Race 1 - and hope Ray doesn’t finish any higher than eighth and 12th respectively - to keep the fight open until Sunday’s Race 2. The same goes for Bridewell, with Ray needing a ninth or 13th should that permutation occur.

Given Ray has suffered just a single DNF and finished no lower than fifth in any races this year, It means for the second year in a row, the 2022 BSB title battle looks fairly likely to be decided on a Saturday.

How could the rest of the 2022 BSB standings finish?

Elsewhere, Irwin and Bridewell are well placed to duke it out for the runners-up spot, with the former chasing his best-ever BSB finish - and Honda’s strongest result since Alex Lowes’ title way back in 2013 - after an impressive return to form in the Showdown, while Bridewell is seeking to match his position in the standings from last year.

Mathematically, three more riders are in with a shout at the runners-up spot with Lee Jackson looking to cap off a breakthrough year on the FS-3 Kawasaki just ten points behind Irwin, while O’Halloran’s 28 point deficit to margin looks surmountable if he can tap into the devastatingly quick form he is known to be capable of.

Finally, Kyle Ryde on the second of the OMG Yamahas has an uphill task to grab the runners-up spot with 56 points needing to be bridged to Irwin.

Mackenzie and soon-to-be-Moto2 rider Rory Skinner bring up the rear after both being eliminated from the running during the first Showdown round due to injuries sustained in separate incidents.

Meanwhile, the consolation ‘BSB Riders’ Cup’ prize for finishing the season under the normal points’ format as the best-placed non-Showdown contender - aka. the prize for finishing ninth overall - comes down to a probable three-way fight between Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW), Peter Hickman (FHO BMW) and Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki).

Buchan and Hickman head to Brands Hatch tied on 227 points, while Haslam is 22 points adrift of his BMW rivals.

Mathematically, six riders are in with an outside shout ahead of Race 1, including Tom Sykes - who proved you can multiply your points during a single round after his double victory last time out at Donington Park - who is 57 points off Hickman/Buchan, plus Andrew Irwin and 2023 FHO BMW signing Josh Brookes some 72 points shy.

Incidentally, in case you were wondering, if the 2022 BSB season had run under its former points’ system, Ray would have already wrapped up the title by Race 2 at Donington Park.

In fact, under the old points’ system, Ray would have a mammoth lead of 147 points over O’Halloran.