James Ellison became the seventh different race winner in the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship following two dramatic races at Cadwell Park. The McAMS Yamaha rider shared the victories with Leon Haslam in an incredible raceday which also saw Lee Jackson claim his first podium finish in the class.
MCE BSB continued to deliver in Lincolnshire as the battle for the Showdown places intensified with six different riders representing four different manufacturers scoring podium finishes as the championship prepares for the Silverstone Showdown decider with nine riders still mathematically poised to claim a position in the top six.
In race one Haslam returned to the top step of the podium for the first time since Oulton Park in May as the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider delivered an inch perfect performance to hold off a chasing freight train of eight riders.
As the race got underway Haslam hit the front of the pack as he jostled for position with pole sitter Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne for the initial advantage. The race was short lived for Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot as he got caught up in the mid pack and consequently crashed out unhurt, he was subsequently sidelined from the second race.
Byrne was attacking however a spectacular moment on the exit of Mansfield saw the defending champion save a crash, but he was onto the grass and dropped back down the order and had to regroup.
Jake Dixon then hit the front of the field as the RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider lunged ahead on the fourth lap, but Haslam was attacking back as he bid to regain the position, meanwhile Byrne had sliced back through the pack into third place by the ninth lap.
A lap later and Haslam was back into the lead, despite Dixon piling on the pressure he managed to hold off the Knockhill double race winner to claim his fourth win of the season with Dixon and Byrne completing the podium.
Peter Hickman fought his way back into fourth place after he had also dropped down the order as he took evasive action when Byrne had his moment; he got the better of Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran and Jackson to claim fourth.
Michael Laverty had his best performance of the season so far in seventh, holding off Christian Iddon and Tommy Bridewell, who scored his best result of the year for Team WD-40 Kawasaki. Ellison rounded out the top ten.
In race two Jackson had started from pole position for the Smiths Racing BMW team for the first time and he had a lightening start off the line to lead on the opening lap from Dixon, Byrne and Hickman.
Ellison was holding strong in fifth, but he had a moment and was forced to run on through the chicane which dropped him back and he had to regain the ground.
By the fifth lap Dixon had fired himself into the lead with a move on the brakes into Park and then Jackson, Byrne and Hickman on the second of the Smiths Racing BMWs were in contention for the lead.
As Jackson smashed the lap record on the eighth lap, Ellison was vying to move up the order and he pulled a move on Hickman to move into fourth place.
Dixon was setting the pace at the front of the field but on the ninth lap the Knockhill double race winner slid off at Hall Bends, ending his chance of moving into the top six of the standings this weekend.
There was plenty more drama to come though as Byrne was then stalking Jackson for the lead; the Be Wiser Ducati rider made his move at Park, but just two laps later the defending champion was forced to retire with a technical problem.
Championship leader Byrne’s retirement from the race marked the first time that none of the six Showdown riders have been confirmed ahead of the final race of the Main Season.
However it wasn’t just Byrne that was halted in race two. On the same lap race one winner Haslam had gone for a move on Hickman into Park but a gearbox issue forced him to scrub off speed and ended up on the grass at over 90mph, resulting in him crashing out unhurt.
The leading trio was then Jackson leading Ellison and Hickman and with three laps to go the McAMS Yamaha rider made his move to take the advantage at the front of the field with the trio three wide going into Park on the 15th lap.
Ellison went on to take the chequered flag by 0.696s from Jackson with Hickman giving the Smiths Racing BMW team their first double podium finish.
O’Halloran claimed fourth place for Honda Racing as he kept his chance of a Showdown place alive as he moves up to fourth in the overall standings ahead of Iddon on the leading Tyco BMW. Iddon was able to capitalise on Dixon’s non score to move to within eight points of Luke Mossey who holds sixth place in the standings ahead of the Silverstone triple-header.
Tommy Bridewell gave Team WD-40 their best result of the season in sixth place just ahead of Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha, who will also arrive at Silverstone currently inside the top six in the standings. Laverty, Glenn Irwin and Sylvain Guintoli completed the top ten.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Cadwell Park, race one result:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +0.131s
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.404s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.689s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +1.106s
- Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) +1.224s
- Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +4.247s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +4.311s
- Tommy Bridewell (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) +4.502s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +4.754s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Cadwell Park, race two result:
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha)
- Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.696s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +2.237s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.739s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +6.010s
- Tommy Bridewell (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) +7.501s
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +7.670s
- Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +10.336s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +10.367s
- Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +15.830s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Cadwell Park:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 219
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 209
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 193
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 178
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 167
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 161
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“It is not too late to fight back in the championship. We have had the pace all year, apart from Thruxton really so to get McAMS Yamaha their first win of the season and in the Superbike Championship is fantastic.
“We still want more wins this year and we still can, but this win is special and everyone will feel this one in the team. It was great to battle with Lee too and it was hard to make a move at the start of the race.
“I made my move and tried to control it and that was one of the best races we have had this year.”