Multiple championship winning Paul Bird Motorsport will be absent from the Bennetts British Superbike Championship ‘Title Showdown’ for the first time in 2022, after Tom Sykes and Josh Brookes slipped out of mathematical contention.
The most successful BSB team in history with eight BSB riders’ titles - the first of which came way back in 2003 - there have been few title fights in recent years that haven’t involved either one or both PBM riders.
However, this will be the first year the Cumbrian-based squad has failed to make it through to the eight-rider showdown, with even the superstar pairing of 2013 WorldSBK Champion Sykes and double BSB Champion Brookes falling so short both have already missed the cut with a round to spare.
Having only just scraped into the Showdown in 2021, Brookes consolidated his disappointing season with a crash while scaling the Mountain to bring out the red flags in race two.
“People need to remember it’s Cadwell Park but it’s so frustrating as we had a reasonable set up for most of the lap, I was just losing out in the last sector,” Brookes said on Monday. “But we’ll dust ourselves down and go again.”
Sykes, meanwhile, was bundled out of race one by Christian Iddon, putting him on the back foot in race two en route to tenth, before technical issues consigned him to the retirements’ list in race three.
“It turned out to be a very frustrating day as I seemed to have a target on my back,” Sykes confirmed. “Firstly, I got taken wide at the Hairpin and then in the restart, I got sideswiped by another rider so the less said about it the better as he’s since been penalised.”
While there will be no MCE PBM Ducati rider gunning for the BSB title over the latter three rounds, there will at least likely be one Panigale V4 representative after Tommy Bridewell’s brace of podiums on the Oxford Products’ machine lifted him from the ‘danger zone’ of eighth to a safer sixth ahead of Snetterton’s decisive three races.