THE Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which heads to Oulton Park this weekend, is entering a crucial stage in the season.
A fierce three-way title battle is raging between last year's winner, Spaniard Gregorio Lavilla, Japan's Ryuichi Kiyonari and Briton Leon Haslam.
As the series returns to Oulton Park, the contest resumes on a track that produces some of the closest racing in the country. Last year in the final race at Oulton, champion-to-be Lavilla led out of the last corner only to have Kiyonari snatch victory from him by just four-thousandths of a second - the pair separated by just an inch!
On the championship's first visit to the circuit this year, Lavilla beat Kiyonari's team-mate Karl Harris across the line in the weekend's second race by a similar margin - 0.058 seconds.
Lavilla only took victory in the first race after a race-long battle with Haslam and Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, which all proved that the circuit produces some of the best racing in the series.
Once again, Lavilla has been the man to beat this year, taking wins at Brands Hatch as well as Oulton Park.
At Snetterton, however, his champion-ship lead was slashed after an uncharacteristic crash, while Kiyonari picked up two wins.
Now the title chase is wide open with several riders eyeing victory at the picturesque Cheshire circuit this weekend.
Tickets cost £11 per adult on qualifying day (tomorrow) and £26 per adult on race day (Sunday).
Children aged 12 and under go free.