JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam had to wait eleven years for his next MCE British Superbike race win, and now two have come at once for the local rider at Donington Park.
The ZX-10R racer bagged maximum points at the track today, after doing the double with another victory, but this time in race-two. The winner might have been the same but the podium wasn’t, as Haslam was strongly challenged by the returning Josh Brookes.
The 2015 BSB champion made his presence known on the circuit and looked like the rider to beat throughout the race as he had the pace on his R1 to keep Haslam at bay for the majority of the final event.
At the chequered flag Brookes clinched second place, 2.7 seconds behind Haslam, with Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin in third. The Northern Irishman was the only Be Wiser bike on the grid as his team-mate Shane Byrne had to miss proceedings as he is suffering from concussion after a warm-up crash and has been declared unfit.
At first it was pole-setter Brookes who got the holeshot, with Haslam in tow with Mossey and Laverty starting strongly too. A rotation later Laverty gained pace and moved into third and then went wide at Goddards and looked like he had a technical problem too as he dropped down to the back of the grid and came to a stop at the Esses on lap four.
Haslam decided to change to the harder SC2 front tyre but stuck with the SC1 rear. Brookes struggled with tyre life in the opening race, but decided to remain with the softer SC0 rear. Ellison went for the SC1 front and SC0 rear Pirelli’s.
Quarter of a way through the race the top three of Brookes, Haslam and now Ellison pulled away slightly from Mossey, Iddon and Hickman. On the eighth lap of 20 Haslam went wide at Redgate allowing Ellison to sneak through to second, but that only latest a few corners and the race-one winner made his way back to second.
On the halfway mark Brookes broke away from Haslam and had a one second advantage over the Smalley rider, but Haslam’s tyres came into their own and his lap times were getting quicker. With five laps remaining Brookes and Haslam edged away from the rest of the pack and had a four second lead over Ellison, Mossey, Iddon and Irwin, then at the Foggy Esses Haslam made his move to take the front for the first time in race-two.
The battle for third turned into an epic four-way fight with three laps to go, and at Melbourne, Iddon and Ellison collided slightly with the McAMS bike slipping back to fourth, with Mossey snatching third on lap 17. Irwin, on the softer tyres wanted to join the party and pushed past Mossey at the Old Hairpin and had Iddon as his next target. A lap later Irwin overtook Iddon at the Old Hairpin to nab third, and that is how it stayed when the chequered flag came out at the Leicestershire track.
On the sheets Iddon, Mossey and Ellison rounded up the top six, followed by former World Superbike champion, Sylvain Guintoli, Smiths Racing’s Peter Hickman and BSB debutant, Davide Giugliano.The Honda Racing team of Jason O’Halloran and Dan Linfoot were slightly off the pace, with O’Halloran holding on to tenth on the finishing line. Linfoot went P12, just behind Tommy Bridewell. Moto Rapido Ducati’s John Hopkins, rookie Bradley Ray and Jakub Smrz were the last of the points finishers.
It was a case of déjà vu for Billy McConnell who in a repeat of race one crashed at Goddards once again, and walked away from the incident. Bennetts Suzuki’s Taylor Mackenzie was another rider who had two DNF’s this weekend as he crashed unhurt at Goddards. Young rider, RAF Reserves’ Jake Dixon also fell victim to Goddards and he also crashed on lap ten.