BEST OF BRITISH: 10 of the greatest WorldSBK races from the United Kingdom

It’s where the FIM Superbike World Championship started and it’s where many classics have happened; at least one thing is coming home to England and the UK next week and it’s WorldSBK for the 2024 Prosecco DOC UK Round. However, whether it be Donington Park or past battlegrounds of Silverstone and Brands Hatch, hard racing, unrivalled emotion and historic achievements happen in the United Kingdom…

DONINGTON PARK RACE 2, 2000: wildcards stand on the shoulders of giants

Having been a full-time WorldSBK rider up until 1998, Neil Hodgson was back on the grid as a wildcard at Donington Park in 2000, making one of the greatest returns ever. In a thrilling final lap, he closed down full-time star Frankie Chili from nearly a second back to hit the front down into the Foggy Esses, after the Italian rider’s tyre had cried enough. ‘Hodgy’ took honours ahead of BSB title rival Chris Walker for a first-ever British 1-2 at home, making it a 1-2 for the wildcards too. A memorable day for all there.

SILVERSTONE RACE 1, 2002: Edwards wins as Bayliss crashes… twice

In what would go on to be a phenomenal 2002 season, two crashes for Championship leader Troy Bayliss would be rather costly. His first crash came at Vale when the rear stepped out on him from the lead, forcing Edwards to go across the grass. Remounting, Bayliss was working his way back through the field when, for a second time, he fell – this time at Luffield. As the ‘Texas Tornado’ went on to win, Australian Bayliss worked his way back for a fine P5 – an eventful first WorldSBK race at Silverstone.  

SILVERSTONE RACE 1, 2003: race for the ages as home-heroes run riot

One of the greatest races we’ve seen in the UK, Neil Hodgson’s homecoming in what was a dominant 2003 season wasn’t perhaps as easy as he’d have hoped. James Toseland, Ruben Xaus, Chris Walker, Gregorio Lavilla, Regis Laconi, wildcards John Reynolds and Yukio Kagayama, all traded blows and battled in a frantic scrap. After a big moment for Kagayama and Lavilla fell, it was Toseland vs Hodgson – just two weeks after they clashed at Oschersleben – but they stayed on track, Hodgson triumphing over the #52.

BRANDS HATCH RACE 2, 2003: ‘Shakey’ doubles up as wildcard

Having won Race 1, 2003 BSB Champion-elect Shane Byrne rocked up to Brands Hatch as a wildcard and absolutely dominated the regular riders. Race 2 was a tense stand off in the closing stages between Byrne and John Reynolds – riding for Paul Denning’s Crescent Racing Rizla Suzuki outfit and also a wildcard. Reynolds couldn’t quite make a pass meaning it was Paul Bird’s Monstermob Ducati team and Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne who made it two out of two in front of over 100,000 fans; local boy done good.

BRANDS HATCH RACE 2, 2007: Toseland completes his first double with a last win

On his way to the 2007 World Superbike title, James Toseland had never achieved a double win. He won Race 1 at Donington Park earlier in the year but a technical problem retired him out of Race 2. At Brands Hatch, it was a different story however, as having won Race 1, he went on to do the dream double and although he didn’t know it’d be his last win, he celebrated it like it was. The leathers were in the crowd, fans lined the circuit and Toseland took one giant step to title number two. 

DONINGTON PARK RACE 2, 2012: hero to zero as BMW double denied by Rea

A dream Race 1 for BMW gave a first ever win with Marco Melandri – leading home a 1-2 with Leon Haslam P2. In Race 2, it looked like a repeat 1-2 for them… it all came down to a last turn duel with Melandri going to deny Haslam a first win with BMW but missing the apex completely; this forced the ‘Pocket Rocket’ off the racing line, opening the door for Jonathan Rea’s Honda to come through. Rea touched Haslam, spearing the #91 into teammate Melandri, whilst the #65 took a first win at home. 

SILVERSTONE RACE 1, 2012: Baz’s first win as chaos ensues behind

In a restarted Race 1 at Silverstone in 2012, one of the craziest finishes to a race we’d ever seen. Going onto the final lap, Max Biaggi crashed out of victory and podium contention, whilst it was Loris Baz aboard the ZX-10RR Kawasaki who led the way, aiming for a first race win. Goldbet BMW riders Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini were duking it out with Jonathan Rea and defending Champion Carlos Checa. With the kerbs being wet, Baz had a huge moment exiting the final corner but held on for a historic win whilst behind, Badovini crashed after the same rear end slide, leaving nowhere for Jonathan Rea to go as both crashed after the finishing line. Both were classified though, behind Baz and Fabrizio.

DONINGTON PARK RACE 1, 2014: Sykes’ stunning comeback for home glory

A true classic for Tom Sykes and indeed the history books in WorldSBK; coming from outside the top ten in the early stages, reigning World Champion Sykes picked his way through the field before getting into the top two places, with only teammate Loris Baz standing between him and a heroic comeback. The two traded paint to the roar of the home crowd in the final three laps but ultimately, Baz couldn’t respond to a determined #66 for one of his greatest wins; he went on to double up in Race 2.

DONINGTON PARK RACE 2, 2018: Dutch magic as van der Mark makes history

Race 1 was already a monumental occasion for Michael van der Mark, who took his first-ever WorldSBK win on Saturday afternoon at Donington Park. So, what could make it better? A double, of course; van der Mark once again showed the prowess of himself and the Yamaha package and made it two wins at the legendary British venue. In the same race, a certain Toprak Razgatlioglu found himself in P2, passing Championship leader Jonathan Rea on the final lap to claim a first WorldSBK rostrum; the rest is history…

DONINGTON PARK SUPERPOLE RACE, 2023: the ‘titanic trio’ serve up a Sunday treat

2023’s Superpole Race was a classic as the ‘titanic trio’ of Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea all swapped places in the final two laps of the race. At the Melbourne Loop on the penultimate lap, Razgatlioglu took the lead from long-time race leader Jonathan Rea, forcing him to wait for a first win of 2023. However, Rea’s troubles weren’t finished yet as he felt into the clutches of Bautista on the final lap, with the Championship leader bullying his way into P2 at the Foggy Esses. Toprak held on for victory but it was a timely reminder that Donington Park, year after year, delivers.

DONINGTON PARK IS UNMISSABLE: watch the battles unfold in 2024 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!


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