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It’s widely recognised and agreed that the BSB series we know today first came to existence in 1995 and it’s from here where all statistics are taken. The very first race winner in 1995 was Michael Rutter who took his 888 Moto Cinelli Ducati to victory at a wet Donington Park – the Midlands rider was still competing in BSB races in 2015 and now has a record 443 races under his belt!
However, over the 20 years of BSB history, the leading rider when it comes to race wins is Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne who grabbed his first win in 2002 when riding for the Renegade Red Bull Ducati team. Despite missing a few seasons over the years when competing in the MotoGP or World Superbike Championships, the Londoner now has 77 race wins to his name.
Those wins have come for a variety of teams and manufacturers and he’s won on both twin and four cylinder machines, notably Ducati, Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki. After an eight-year absence, he returned to Ducati in 2016 and with nine wins taking during the course of the season he duly won his fifth title.
His total currently puts him 27 wins clear of Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari with the majority of those victories coming on Hondas, specifically the HM Plant Honda’s. He did, of course, have an excellent season riding the Buildbase BMW in 2014 when he finished second overall but has failed to get close to that kind of form since.
Despite having retired at the end of the 2005 season, John Reynolds still has the third highest total of wins with the bulk of his success coming on Ducati and Suzuki machinery and he’s four wins ahead of 2015 champion Josh Brookes. The Australian has been victorious on Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha machinery with almost half of his wins coming in his title-winning season.
Double champion Steve Hislop is next up, the last of the group of riders with 30 wins or more, with class stalwart Michael Rutter having racked up 28 wins over a 15-year period. Leon Haslam made his return to BSB in 2016, for the first time since 2008, and nine more wins saw him jump to seventh overall on 25.
Triple champion Niall Mackenzie took 24 wins in those three seasons and still sits in eighth overall, one place ahead of Gregorio Lavilla, who’s 22 wins were all taken on the Ducati 999, and Leon Camier who still has the record number of wins in a single season at 19. This came in 2009 when he dominated the championship on the Yamaha R1.
|1.||Shane Byrne||77||2002 – 2016|
|2.||Ryuichi Kiyonari||50||2004 – 2014|
|3.||John Reynolds||37||1997 – 2004|
|4.||Josh Brookes||33||2009 – 2015|
|5.||Steve Hislop||31||1995 – 2002|
|6.||Michael Rutter||28||1995 – 2010|
|7.||Leon Haslam||25||2004 – 2016|
|8.||Niall Mackenzie||24||1996 – 1998|
|9.||Gregorio Lavilla||22||2005 – 2007|
|=||Leon Camier||22||2008 – 2009|
|11.||Chris Walker||21||1997 – 2012|
|12.||Tommy Hill||19||2005 – 2012|
|13.||James Whitham||16||1995 – 1996|
No less than 13 riders have stood on the podium 50 times or more since the 1995 British Superbike Championship although only eight of them have gone on to win the title with a number of the class regulars coming close on more than one occasion but ultimately falling short of the number one plate.
Unsurprisingly, it’s Shane Byrne that again leads the way and his current total of 173 rostrums is some 56 clear of John Reynolds. That shows what a dominant force Byrne has been over the years and also how successful Reynolds was up until his retirement at the end of 2005.
They’re the only two riders with more than a century of podiums as Michael Rutter is next on the list with his 99 appearances in the top three being achieved over 17 years. 2015 Champion Josh Brookes also only narrowly missed out on joining the ‘100 Club’ as his crash in the final race of 2015 left him stuck on 99 podiums.
Ryuichi Kiyonari isn’t too far behind with 94 but then there’s quite a gap to Chris Walker and Leon Haslam who are,. Chris Walker and Leon Haslam are, after Rutter, the next two riders never to have won the title, a description that also fits James Ellison and Sean Emmett. Meanwhile, the late Steve Hislop sits in eighth overall despite his final podium appearance coming back in 2003.
All but one of Gregorio Lavilla’s 52 podiums were achieved in just three years whilst the next rider closest to 50 podiums is James Haydon on 38
|1.||Shane Byrne||173||2002 – 2016|
|2.||John Reynolds||117||1995 – 2005|
|3.||Michael Rutter||99||1995 – 2012|
|=||Josh Brookes||99||2009 – 2015|
|5.||Ryuichi Kiyorani||96||2004 – 2014|
|6.||Steve Hislop||79||1995 – 2003|
|7.||Chris Walker||71||1996 – 2014|
|8.||Leon Haslam||69||2004 – 2016|
|9.||Steve Hislop||68||1993 – 2003|
|10.||James Ellison||60||2008 – 2016|
|11.||Sean Emmett||59||1996 – 2014|
|12.||Tommy Hill||53||2005 – 2012|
|13.||Gregorio Lavilla||52||2004 – 2007|
|14.||Niall Mackenzie||50||1996 – 2000|
Since 1995, 12 riders have been crowned British Champion but only five of them have been victorious on more than one occasion and only three riders have won the title three times or more. The first to achieve that feat was Niall Mackenzie with his three titles coming in three successive years and he remains the only rider to have achieved that particular feat.
Ryuichi Kiyonari took back to back titles in 2006 and 2007 and after two years in the World Superbike Championship, he returned to the UK in 2010 to make it three Championships and thus match Mackenzie’s total.
Shane Byrne became the third rider to win three Championships when he took the 2012 crown, following his successes in 2002 and 2008, but he went clear of Mackenzie and Kiyonari in 2014 when he took his fourth title. He then added a fifth in 2016 to further consolidate his status as the most successful BSB rider ever.
Steve Hislop and John Reynolds both won two Championships with solitary title success being taken by Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson, Gregorio Lavilla, Leon Camier, Tommy Hill and Alex Lowes.
Titles have been won by English, Scottish, Australian, Japanese and Spanish riders.
Shane Byrne – 5 titles (2002, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016)
Niall Mackenzie – 3 titles (1996, 1997, 1998)
Ryuichi Kiyonari – 3 titles (2006, 2007, 2010)
Total number of circuits in current use – 9
Total number of circuits used – 13
Total number of races held – 534
Closest finish – dead heat (Snetterton, 1995 – Steve Hislop and James Whitham)
Oldest champion – John Reynolds (2004 – 41yrs, 84 days)
Youngest champion – Alex Lowes (2013 – 23yrs 36 days)
Oldest race winner – John Reynolds, Oulton Park, Sep 2004 (41yrs, 77days)
Youngest race winner – Jonathan Rea, Mondello Park, Jun 2007 (20yrs, 104 days)
Total number of race winners – 42
Total number of podium finishers – 69
Most wins in a season – 19 (Leon Camier, 2009)
Most podiums in a season – 23 (John Reynolds, 2001, Shane Byrne, 2014 and Josh Brookes, 2015)
Most number of winners in a season – 10 (1998)
Most number of podium finishers in a season – 15 (2015)
Nine circuits currently make up the BSB calendar with both Brands Hatch (three times) and Oulton Park (twice) visited on more than one occasion. Only Brands Hatch uses more than one configuration with the Grand Prix circuit being used twice and the shorter Indy Circuit once.
All of the lap records have been set since the Pirelli control tyre was introduced in 2008 with the lap record at Cadwell Park finally being broken in 2016 after standing for nine years.
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) – 1m36.904s – 104.84mph – 2015
Brands Hatch Indy
James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) – 45.212s – 96.18mph – 2015
Brands Hatch GP
Josh Brookes (Relentless by TAS Suzuki) – 1m25.426s – 102.54mph – 2011
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) – 1m26.590s – 90.63mph – 2016
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) – 1m28.896s – 100.72mph – 2016
Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) – 48.252s – 94.52mph – 2015
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) – 1m34.483s – 102.57mph – 2015
James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) – 2m05.267s – 105.39mph – 2015
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) – 1m47.714s – 99.22mph – 2016
Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) – 1m14.884s – 113.26mph – 2015
Words by Phil Wain.