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After sitting through four rounds of MotoGP, the opening round of WorldSBK and two BSB tests, it’s time for the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship to get underway! Silverstone National circuit is the venue for the opening round of arguably the most anticipated season in BSB history. After an incredible 2021 season where the drama was almost visceral, wounds have been licked clean and the celebrations are just a memory of various hangovers, the 2022 season is upon us and what a season we have in store!

Silverstone, the home of MotoGP and the F1 British Grand Prix is an epic place to begin a British Superbike season and a happy hunting ground for numerous riders. RICH Energy OMG Racing’s Kyle Ryde took his maiden (and second) superbike victory around the 1.62-mile Northants circuit in 2020 joining Glenn Irwin, Dan Linfoot and Tarran Mackenzie on the winner's list. Storm Stacey took his first-ever British Championship victory at the circuit aged thirteen and took his maiden BSB point at the venue. With Josh Brookes, Jason O’Halloran, and Peter Hickman also previously victorious around the short but intense layout, it bodes well for a blistering curtain-raiser.

It's been a difficult start to the season for reigning champion, Tarran Mackenzie. The McAMS Yamaha rider suffered a blow in preparation for his title defence after a crash in Spain left him with a right leg injury that required an operation to aid the healing process. An unexpectedly impressive performance at the opening BSB test at Snetterton proved his pace was still there before another heavy crash last week at Silverstone damaged his left ankle, putting him out of the opening weekend’s action and his WorldSBK debut as a wildcard at Assen the following week.

Challengers to Mackenzie’s crown come thick and fast in 2022 in one of the strongest line-ups in BSB history. A World Superbike champion, a Moto3 World Champion, three British Superbike Champions and winners of multiple British Championships in the support classes in the shape of Chrissy Rouse, Tom Neave, Danny Buchan, Glenn Irwin, Rory Skinner, Lee Jackson, and Kyle Ryde. The list of BSB race winners is even longer… Will we have a new winner in 2022? Few fans, if any, would argue against both Rory Skinner and Ryan Vickers adding to the illustrious list of BSB race winners this season.

Mackenzie’s teammate, Jason O'Halloran will start the season as one of the title favourites, that’s a given, however the return of former WorldSBK Champion Tom Sykes with PBM MCE Ducati and 2018 BSB Champ Leon Haslam with Lee Hardy’s VisionTrack Kawasaki squad bolster an already impressive field for 2022. Oxford Racing’s Tommy Bridewell, the 2021 championship runner-up, will be keen to go one step further for 2022 while Sykes’ teammate, Josh Brookes, will be determined to make amends for a troubled second title defence last season. And let’s not forget Peter Hickman, the FHO Racing BMW rider has a busy season with the return of the NW200 and the Isle of Man TT races, but could he be the first man to win the NW200, Senior TT and the BSB title in the same year?

Honda Racing’s Japanese duo of Ryo Mizuno and Takumi Takahashi will be hoping to be challenging for top ten positions backing up Glenn Irwin who will undoubtedly be a Showdown contender after recovering from injury. RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha pair Kyle Ryde and Brad Ray, who have found some real pace and confidence aboard their Yamaha R1 machines after a tough 2021, will be going all-out to secure a place in the Showdown to back up their impressive pre-season results.

TAG Honda have secured the services of experienced BSB race winner, Luke Mossey to challenge for the Showdown after two difficult seasons for the Derbyshire team. Add Buildbase Suzuki duo Christian Iddon and 2015 Moto3 World Champion Danny Kent into the fray along with FS-3’s Rory Skinner and Lee Jackson and the list of Showdown contenders grows ever longer. SYNETIQ BMW’s Danny Buchan will call on his usual consistency to see him challenge for a place in the final eight once again while stable-mate Andrew Irwin needs some of that consistency to rub off if he’s to mount a serious challenge for one of the coveted final places.

Storm Stacey continues to impress on the LKQ Car Parts Kawasaki, finally getting to grips with a superbike and posting the kind of results his talent is capable of. A flurry of points finishes last season showed the progress the Staffordshire youngster has made but it was Cadwell Park where the pieces finally dropped into place and despite not finishing the last race, the 18-year-old was delighted to finally develop an understanding with his machine. Will he make it into the Showdown? That remains to be seen, regular top ten finishes would undoubtedly see him in with a shout come the all-important Snetterton round in September.

Specsavers Suzuki step up from National Superstock with the experienced Leon Jeacock while Powerslide/Catfoss Suzuki return for their sophomore season with South African Bjorn Estment before team owner Brad Clarke and Team Manager, James Ellison take on the challenge of the NW200. Luke Hopkins contines to build his BSB experience with his Black Onyx Security Honda team.

Let’s not forget the rookies either as Welshman Dan Jones makes his BSB debut for iForce PR Racing BMW alongside the experienced Dan Linfoot while Liam Delves begins his superbike career as teammate to Josh Owens at CDH Racing. National Superstock king, Tom Neave makes his full-time debut for Honda Racing after a couple of stand-in rides for the Louth team back in 2018 as podcast favourite and former National Superstock Champion, Chrissy Rouse brings the band back together from his title-winning 2020 season to make his second debut in the BSB championship after originally debuting for Halsall Racing’s Movuno Suzuki team also in 2018.

At least eighteen* riders fighting for eight places to battle for one crown. Bring it on!

*more, probably

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