BRITISH Superbike star Bradley Ray heads a star-studded entry list for this Sunday’s EMRA finale at Mallory Park’s Race of the Year.
But the reigning champion will have a hefty job on his hands as he stares down a strong grid of fellow BSB riders for this weekend’s scrap, including team-mate Richard Cooper, who took the final win of the season at Brands Hatch this past weekend.
And it won’t just be Superbike riders at Mallory as their Buildbase Suzuki compatriot Billy McConnell, who narrowly missed out on the Superstock 1000 crown, will be looking to make amends.
Fellow National front-runner Alex Olsen is planning to hit the grid as well, joining former Superstock 600 champ Lee Jackson and local threat Leon Jeacock Geo Davies Suzuki in a bid for top honours.
After a difficult BSB season, Luke Mossey will be hoping to make amends as he pilots the OMG Suzuki, while Gary Johnson continues his Macau Grand Prix preparation with Lee Hardy’s RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki squad.
Sunday is also the final round of the Buildbase Mallory Trophy and the EMRA 500 championship, which are both still up for grabs. Paul Westerdale and Curtis Wright have fought for the Buildbase title all season, as Westerdale arrives at Mallory with a 21-point lead and 100 up for grabs.
The championship front-runner came close to chucking his chance away when he crashed in practice at the September meeting, but a team effort ensured the bike was back together in time for the second race, where he started from the back of the grid but still finished fifth as Curtis won both races to improve his chances of taking the title.
Meanwhile, the EMRA 500 races have been heating up nearly every meeting with three, four and even five-bike battles for the lead not an uncommon sight.
Title favourite Ben Bailey has proved to be the master of last-lap and last-corner victories, going into the Devil’s Elbow second but crossing the line first in both August races, and he now has a 16-point lead over Wayne Sutton, who was the early leader of the championship.
And the action won’t just be on two wheels as the sidecars prepare for their own Race of the Year battle for one of the heaviest pieces of silverware in outfit racing, the Phil Dongworth Trophy, as Sunday’s entry will be led by newly-crowned world champions Ben and Tom Birchall.
The final round of the Classic and Modern 50cc championship is also set for this weekend, with Kevin Burton having already clinched the title and the ACU championship.
Open 600 races, Lightweights and Minitwins and a 450cc class, which includes Moto3, Junior Supersport, GP125, Formula 125s and a couple of TZ250 Yamahas, will all highlight the programme as EMRA calls curtains for 2018 on Sunday.
*Images: Chris Gration