OULTON Park will see the year’s biggest attendance at any Cheshire sporting event as the MCE British Superbike Championship circus roars into the picturesque Little Budworth circuit this weekend.
Some of the world’s leading riders will battle it out around the demanding 2.692-mile track as the fight to be crowned British champion in a number of different classes reaches boiling point.
The main event, the British Superbike Championship, will see three races, one on Saturday and two on Sunday, in what promises to be a massive weekend of white-hot racing.
Defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne heads the pack but after an uncharacteristic crash last time out at Brands Hatch, his closest rivals Alex Lowes and Australia’s Josh Brookes have been closing in.
His likely opponents at Oulton Park include previous race winners at the circuit, including former champion Ryuichi Kiyonari and fans’ favourite Chris ‘Stalker’ Walker.
Local hopes hang heavy around the young shoulders of teenage sensation Joe Francis, who currently leads the Moto 3 Monster Energy Motostar British Championship class.
Francis, christened the Backford Bullet, goes into the weekend on 122 points with main rivals Tarran McKenzie on 106 and Joe Irving on 97.
Last time out at Brands Hatch the three finished in reverse order, with Irving taking the chequered flag ahead of McKenzie with Francis in third.
In one of the closest finishes in history all three flashed across the line separated by less than a quarter of a second.
Francis, who won the Oulton Park round in May, will be looking for the 25 points that comes with a first-placed finish to ease even further ahead as the series heads for its October climax with just five meetings left.
He said: “Oulton Park is my favourite track and I just want to focus on doing well in this race, rather than the championship.
“There is a long way to go until the title is decided and I will be taking it one race at a time, hoping to stay ahead of everyone else until the end of the season.”
Frodsham’s Superbike rider Howie Mainwaring will be hoping for more of the same after a ninth place finish at Brands Hatch, although he won’t want a repeat of the second-race retirement at the Kent circuit.
The MCE British Superbike Championship takes place this weekend (August 9-11) at Oulton Park. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.oultonpark.co.uk or call 0843 453 9000.