Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam claimed his first triple victory in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park to emerge ahead of Ducati’s Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in the standings, with just three points separating the arch rivals ahead of the opening round of the Showdown at Donington Park next weekend.
After a JG Speedfit Kawasaki 1-2-3 in Saturday’s opening race, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team were ready to fight for their positions in the Showdown, with the two races on Sunday deciding the final three Title Fighter places.
In the second race of the weekend Haslam hit the front from pole position ahead of team-mate James Ellison and Honda’s Dan Linfoot. The fight for the front was intense from the start and as the pack streamed across the line for the second lap Ellison was leading from Linfoot and Haslam.
Ellison was holding his ground at the front of the pack, but as Byrne pushed to move forward from his ninth place he slid out of contention unhurt at Hizzys chicane.
Haslam was on the attack though and he pushed through into second place with a determined move at Lodge on the tenth lap and then had his sights set on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate. Three laps later and the Pocket Rocket went for his move on Ellison with a repeat performance at Lodge to hit the front.
Haslam held on to take the lead and with Ellison claiming second place he confirmed his position in the Showdown with one race of the main season remaining with Linfoot completing the podium.
The final race of the weekend decided the final top six and with two places up for grabs five riders were in contention to claim the positions – Linfoot, Laverty, Peter Hickman, Mossey and Cooper.
Honda’s O’Halloran hit the front of the pack and with his place already confirmed in the Showdown, he looked determined to add to his tally of Podium Points.
Ellison was focused on scoring his first race win of the season and he hit the front of the pack by the end of the opening lap, pushing O’Halloran back to second with Haslam in third and Showdown contender Mossey in fourth place.
As the pack jostled for positions Jake Dixon suffered a huge crash which bought out the safety car with O’Halloran, Haslam, Mossey and Bridewell stacking the pack up before the race resumed.
Haslam hit the front of the pack again, but there was drama for Honda as Linfoot crashed out of contention. He was forced to watch from the sidelines in despair as Mossey held third place on track, but with Laverty in fourth place, he had a marginal buffer of just four points.
Haslam held off Mossey to claim the third and final victory of the weekend, with the Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki rider celebrating second and with it a place in the Showdown for the first time in only his second season.
Haslam said: “It’s been a dream weekend! To have a front row start in all three races was brilliant, and then adding the fastest lap in the first race and then claiming my first ever triple victory is incredible. I want to say a huge thanks to the team for giving us a bike we can fight for the Championship on, they’ve worked non-stop to solve the problems we were experiencing and to make history yesterday with a podium lockout is mega.
“I’m so excited for the Showdown now, we’re leading the standings again and Donington is one of my favourite tracks so I’m so glad we don’t have to wait long to get going again!”
The six Title Fighters – Haslam, Byrne, O’Halloran, Ellison, Linfoot and Mossey now look ahead to the opening round of the Showdown next weekend at Donington Park.