The 2022 Bennetts British Superbike season came to an end after the final round in Brands Hatch this past weekend, with a new champion, ten different race winners and several thrilling moments.
The season was unfortunately marred by the tragic loss of Crowe Performance BMW rider Chrissy Rouse, after an unfortunate incident in the opening lap of Race 3 at Donington Park.
Bradley Ray, 25, from Ashford, won his first BSB title for Rich Energy OMG Yamaha with 9 wins on the season, finishing every race until Race 2 of the final round at Brands Hatch, when he already sealed the title in Race 1.
While only having a 21 point advantage, Ray was dominant all throughout, with an extra 14 podiums to add to his victories and never finished lower than sixth.
Glenn Irwin finished the season as runner-up, his best BSB season finish, buoyed by a double victory in the Brands Hatch finale.
The Honda Racing UK man pulled off a hat-trick at the opening round at Silverstone, and was a regular contender for the top six positions, though hit his best form near the end of the year.
Completing the championship podium was Oxford Products Racing Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell.
Last year’s runner-up lived up to his billing as one of the top men in the championship, with constant podium finishes yet only one win, missing out on second by 30 points to the elder Irwin brother
It was a difficult season for last year’s top team, McAMS Yamaha, as their title challengers both suffered with injuries.
Defending champion Tarran Mackenzie missed the opening two rounds with a fractured left ankle in the Silverstone Test pre-season.
While “Taz” recovered and was competitive enough to make the Showdown playoffs, a broken femur from his crash in Race 1 at Oulton Park ended his title defense.
Teammate and fellow contender Jason O’Halloran also saw his charge halted after his own incidents at the same Oulton Park round, eventually finishing fifth, two places ahead of Mackenzie.
The Australian won seven times during the main part of the season but couldn’t match that mid-season form during the showdown.
The McAMS duo did deliver the highlight of the season, as an epic 3-way tussle with Ray in the final lap of Race 2 at Thruxton saw multiple passes for the lead and just 0.165s between the trio, with O’Halloran coming out on top.
World Superbike 2013 Champion Tom Sykes made his return to BSB on board the MCE Ducati, but was unable to match his previous form as a title contender, struggling towards to the midfield for most of the season.
His only bright spot was a return to old ways in Round 11 at Donington Park, winning both Race 1 and Race 2 on a track that he had incredible history with during his time in WSBK.
Former BSB champions Leon Haslam and Josh Brookes also had difficult seasons, both failing to make the showdown and consistently fighting for top podiums as the former only managed two third places finishes.
The Kawasaki man finished 11th overall while his Australian rival managed only 14th, marking his first ever season in BSB without a single podium for the double champion.
21-year-old Scotsman Rory Skinner had an impressive second season for Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki, making his first Showdown appearance.
The man from Perth was a regular top five presence throughout the year on route to eighth place, and made a couple of solid showings in wildcard appearances for American Racing in the Moto2 World Championship.
His veteran teammate Lee Jackson had a career-best season himself, finally scoring his first win in 135 BSB races at the final race of the first Oulton Park, before adding another win during the Showdown to end fourth overall.
FHO Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman, the fastest man to lap the Isle of Man TT, finished top of the non-Showdown races and took home the Bennetts BSB Riders cup, winning Race 2 of the final round in Brands Hatch to edge out Danny Buchan by 11 points.
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Featured image credit: Arnot Images via Wikimedia Commons under the License CC BY-SA 2.0