RIDER RATES UK-BASED BTCC AMONG SPORT'S MOST EXCITING SPECTACLES Top TV sports presenter Steve Rider believes 2010's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is shaping up to be an all-time classic. Rider confirmed yesterday that he will ...
RIDER RATES UK-BASED BTCC AMONG SPORT'S MOST EXCITING SPECTACLES
Top TV sports presenter Steve Rider believes 2010's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is shaping up to be an all-time classic.
Rider confirmed yesterday that he will continue to present ITV's coverage from four of the BTCC's remaining seven events in 2010 - despite last week leaving the network full-time.
He says the UK-based BTCC continues to conjure up some of the most exciting atmospheres he has experienced in sport, even though his career has taken him to some of the world's biggest events including football, cricket and rugby World Cups, over 100 Formula 1 grands prix and 15 golf Majors plus a further 200 tournaments.
Rider said: "Good television is good television. I still look back at that day at Donington Park in 1998 with Nigel Mansell in the BTCC as one of the best days I've ever been involved with in TV. It doesn't matter that it's a national event. The spectacle and the endeavour was of the highest quality and I felt exactly the same way at the BTCC's final round at Brands Hatch last year.
"The BTCC has great personalities and presentation and is a sport that also has a great deal of respect for its audience. It understands what the people want from their live sporting experience. It's now enjoyed a long relationship with TV and one feeds off the other. When we started showing it regularly in the late Eighties the trackside numbers instantly increased ten-fold. People realise from watching it on TV that the BTCC is a serious sporting day out.
"I have been fortunate to present from some of the world's biggest sporting events, but the BTCC is right up there in my affections. A full-on winner-takes-all BTCC day I don't think can be beaten. And with people like Jason Plato around, you can never quite afford to relax or think that you've seen or heard it all before..."
Rider also believes this year's BTCC - being shown live on ITV4 - is making for unmissable TV. The season's first nine races have been won by seven different drivers in five different makes of car and just 17 points - effectively equivalent to one race win - cover the top six in the standings.
He added: "I think the championship is absolutely fantastic at the moment. The personalities are very definitely there in strength and depth. There are also rivalries and a mutual respect but as we saw at Brands Hatch a couple of weeks ago people are not just going through the motions out there - there are some very serious battles on.
"It's that level of chemistry that sustains the popularity of the series and of course we've now also got a few new technological twists. The BTCC in 2010 is every bit as exciting and entertaining as we saw, say, in the early Nineties."
The BTCC is next in action at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire (Sunday 6 June) before moving on to the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire (Sunday 20 June). Both fixtures - as well as the remaining five at Snetterton, Knockhill, Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch from August to October - will receive extensive live coverage (11.30am-6.00pm) on ITV4, plus 90-minute highlights on ITV1, ITV4 and Men & Motors.