2022 BSB Title Showdown Preview | Who do we rate as the favourite?

The Magnificent 8_BSB 2022


After eight hard fought rounds featuring some of the most competitive - and closest - racing action in the series’ entire history, we have now reached the business end of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship (BSB) season.

By ‘business end’, we are of course talking about the 2022 BSB Title Showdown, with eight eager-to-impress riders - including one champion and a trio of championship shootout debutants - going all out for glory.

This time last year it seemed no-one could stop Jason O’Halloran, but fate conspired against him and it was Tarran Mackenzie walking away with the crown. This year, things appear much harder to call.

On one side we have the Davids:

  • Bradley Ray
  • Lee Jackson
  • Rory Skinner
  • Kyle Ryde


On the other side, some of BSB’s most imposing Goliaths

  • Jason O’Halloran
  • Tarran Mackensie
  • Glenn Irwin
  • Tommy Bridewell


With an even weighting of underdogs versus top dogs, who do we think will emerge victorious?


Tarran Taz Mackenzie 2021 BSB champ


BikeSocial 2022 BSB Title Showdown pre-season predictions


Back at the top of the season, four of BikeSocial’s (self-styled) ‘experts’ - including myself - had a crack at predicting which eight riders they expected to see in the Showdown.

We’ll let you decide whether our ‘expert’ status remains intact but suffice to say I (Ollie Barstow) am personally feeling fairly satisfied by guessing five of the eight correctly from a high quality, evenly matched field, unlike my esteemed colleagues Michael Mann (4 correct), Adam ‘Chad’ Child (3 correct) and Michael Burton (4 correct).

While all four of us were rewarded for playing it safe by predicting both McAMS Yamaha riders would reach the Title Showdown, this was then cancelled out by each of us also selecting under-performing PBM Ducati duo Josh Brookes and Tom Sykes.

Three of us guessed correctly that Tommy Bridewell (OB, MM, AC) would make it through, while Rory Skinner proved a shrewd selection in his second season of BSB too (OB, MM, MB).

Unfortunately for Mr Mann, his choice of Danny Buchan and Peter Hickman didn’t quite make the cut, while myself, Mr Burton and Mr Child were erroneous in choosing returning 2018 BSB Champion Leon Haslam. The latter was also let down by picking Christian Iddon.

So who made the difference for me? Well, my pick of Bradley Ray paid off handsomely, the OMG Yamaha rider not only making the Showdown for the first time since 2018, but doing so as the rider they all want to beat…


Rating the 2022 BSB Title Showdown contenders



Bradley Ray

Team: RICH Energy OMG Racing

Motorcycle: Yamaha R1

2022 BSB season so far: 7 wins, 19 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 1

Showdown starting points: 1061


The standout of the season thus far, Bradley Ray heads into the Showdown as the rider with a target fixed firmly on his back.

Considered a dark horse coming into the season, while you have to go back to 2018 for the last time he has even made it to the title fighting stage of the year, Ray appears unencumbered by the pressure and spotlight that comes with it.

A rider for whom consistency - and confidence - ranked as his foremost limitations in previous years on temperamental Suzuki and BMW machinery, he has showcased these traits in abundance on the Yamaha R1 that took Mackenzie to the 2021 title.

Save for a DNF at the opening round, Ray has finished no lower than fourth all season, supplementing it with seven wins - including a brilliant triple at Snetterton - and gotten stuck into some titanic tussles.

While you’d have questioned pre-season whether Ray would be able to handle the magnitude of such an occasion, now we’re at the Title Showdown, recent evidence happily suggests otherwise.

BikeSocial verdict: A hot favourite masquerading as an underdog, Ray has always had the speed but now he also has the belief. Nothing to lose.



Jason O’Halloran

Team: McAMS

Motorcycle: Yamaha R1

2022 BSB season so far: 7 wins, 12 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 5

Showdown starting points: 1048


Few would begrudge Jason O’Halloran the 2022 BSB title after last year’s Title Showdown warped fall from dominant grace to bit part player at the wrong moment.

After a slow start to the year, O’Halloran - and McAMS - had seemingly found their way with the latest spec Yamaha R1 by mid-season, with all signs pointing towards it developing past OMG Racing.

However, O’Halloran’s form up to the Showdown has wavered, even if the jury is out on whether this is a good or a bad thing.

On the one hand, niggling memories of last year may have already set in for O’Halloran… but on the other hand, he might benefit from stepping out of the spotlight coming into the Showdown.

More than any other rider though, O’Halloran can draw from multiple sources of motivation to come out on top as he seeks to make amends for 2021, snatch the #1 plate from his team-mate and ensure McAMS isn’t embarrassed by a privateer team running its old Yamaha bikes.


BikeSocial Verdict: No other rider will be more fired up for this title fight. If that means O’Halloran being back to his very best, then he is arguably the favourite



Tarran Mackenzie

Team: McAMS

Motorcycle: Yamaha R1

2022 BSB season so far: 3 wins, 9 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 3

Showdown starting points: 1031


The Title Showdown candidate most feared by his seven counterparts, we get the impression we haven’t seen the true Tarran Mackenzie so far this season.

While injury woes blighted him in the pre and early stages of the season, a flurry of fine mid-season form proved more than enough for Mackenzie to safely chart a course to the Showdown.

‘Safely’ is the operative word here with suspicions Mackenzie was simply playing it safe to just get the points he needed while avoiding more injury dramas.

It means Mackenzie has the potential to deal a psychological blow to his rivals by coming out swinging at Oulton Park.

With memories of last year’s timely dominance in the Showdown to inspire him, if Mackenzie - only sixth overall after eight rounds - can pull off the same trick this year, it’ll be the biggest turnaround in the history of the Showdown.


BikeSocial Verdict: With an excellent ‘big match’ record, Mackenzie should be the hunted but is clearly relishing his hunter status…



Glenn Irwin

Team: Honda Racing

Motorcycle: Honda CBR1000RR-R

2022 BSB season so far: 3 wins, 4 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 3

Showdown starting points: 1016


The dominant force of BSB on his day, barely noticeable on other days, there is a sense that Glenn Irwin could as easily win all nine races to be champion or not score a single point at all.

A triple win out of the box at Silverstone caught everyone by surprise, but Irwin has taken just one further trip to the podium since.

Nevertheless, he has shown greater consistency than last year at least and as Silverstone - plus Donington Park in both 2020 and 2021 - demonstrate, Irwin and Honda have the potential to dominate one of the three events.


BikeSocial Verdict: Consensus remains that Silverstone treble flatters to deceive Irwin’s fourth position coming into the Showdown… but that he also has it in him to assert himself on a weekend.



Lee Jackson

Team: FS-3 Racing

Motorcycle: Kawasaki ZX-10RR

2022 BSB season so far: 1 win, 6 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 0

Showdown starting points: 1014


Good things come to those who wait… at least that has been the trend of Lee Jackson’s BSB career to date.

Making his BSB debut way back in 2014, Jackson has steadily ticked off his landmarks from cutting his teeth as a newcomer, to honing his race craft in Superstock, securing a factory BSB return in 2020, landing a maiden BSB podium in 2021 and then finally taking a first win in 2022.

The latter has helped spur Jackson onto the Title Showdown for the first time. However, while consistency has laid a fine foundation from which to get to this stage, it will take something mighty from Jackson to start turning in the wins and podiums he needs for a run at the title.

BikeSocial Verdict: A stretch to expect him to lead the fight against the Yamahas, but a fine opportunity to produce some eye-catching scalps all the same



Kyle Ryde

Team: RICH Energy OMG Racing

Motorcycle: Yamaha R1

2022 BSB season so far: 1 win, 5 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 0

Showdown starting points: 1013


Credit to Kyle Ryde for reaching the Title Showdown for the first time, not least because it could have all been very different for the youngster.

Hitting the ground running - like Ray - on the proven R1 package initially, though he added a third career BSB win to his tally at Knockhill, Ryde’s slide down the overall standings during the summer looked likely to relegate him out of the Showdown reckoning altogether.

However, Ryde stemmed the tide when it mattered at Snetterton with a much needed podium, one that will give him a confidence boost just at the right time.


BikeSocial Verdict: It’s hard to recommend Ryde over Ray in the context of the title, but he could well be a useful asset to his team-mate and the team’s aspirations.



Rory Skinner

Team: FS-3 Racing

Motorcycle: Kawasaki ZX-10RR

2022 BSB season so far: 0 wins, 5 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 0

Showdown starting points: 1009


Arguably the UK’s most promising young talent - one that appears likely to make the jump to Moto2 in 2023 - Rory Skinner has done everything asked of him this year by reaching the Title Showdown in only his second season of Superbikes.

While fiercely talented, it is Skinner’s maturity and consistency beyond his years that characterise his 2022 BSB campaign thus far.

They are traits shared with Jackson, but while we would hesitate to suggest the more experienced rider has it in him to take his performance to the next level, few doubt there is still much more to come from Skinner.

Whether it’s ready to be unleashed now remains to be seen, but Skinner’s progress will be keenly observed all the same.


BikeSocial Verdict: If he finds his groove, Skinner will be a factor, if not a direct title fighter. Expect him to secure his first win though.



Tommy Bridewell

Team: Oxford Racing

Motorcycle: Ducati Panigale V4 R

2022 BSB season so far: 0 wins, 6 podiums

Previous Showdown appearances: 5

Showdown starting points: 1008


This is Tommy Bridewell's sixth appearance in the BSB Title Showdown - a figure matched only by Jason O'Halloran - ensuring a level of experience that could make all the difference as the pressure cracnks up.

Indeed, while Bridewell is coming from a long way back after a modest campaign of podiums rather than wins, in a career spent thriving as the underdog, Bridewell really has nothing to lose here.

While Bridewell’s famed consistency has deserted him a bit this year and the Ducati package has faded from superior to inferior relative to rivals, he is the rider you’d consider most likely to stick it to the top Yamaha trio on any given day.


BikeSocial Verdict: Expect Tommy Bridewell to end the Showdown in a better position than when he started it, especially given his prowess at Oulton and Brands