The rollercoaster in the fight for the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship title race continued at Assen as Leon Haslam doubled up on victories but it was disaster for closest rival Jake Dixon as a technical problem put him out of race two ahead of the title decider at Brands Hatch (October 12/13/14).
Haslam and Dixon locked horns in the opening race at Assen as Dixon had initially launched into the lead onboard the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki but Tarran Mackenzie was on a mission to hit the front, which he did with a move up the inside on the opening lap with Haslam in third.
As Mackenzie held the lead, Peter Hickman moved into fourth with a move on Christian Iddon into the chicane at the end of lap one. The leading four later edged out a breakaway charge with Hickman then forging ahead of Dixon on lap four, but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki instantly shoved back ahead.
Haslam wasn’t going to settle though and he waited a lap later to make a decisive move on Hickman into the final chicane to move into third with Mackenzie and Dixon ahead of him. The leading pair in the title standings were then inseparable with Haslam gaining the position on lap ten to put his main rival back into third.
Haslam hit the front of the pack with three laps remaining as he fired the JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of Mackenzie, but the McAMS Yamaha rookie wasn’t settling for that and made a hard move back into the lead. The championship leader was then back ahead as the pack hit the final chicane.
Haslam then held off Dixon, who had moved into second on the penultimate lap but despite his best efforts he was unable to stop the hard-charging JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of him as the ‘Pocket Rocket’ claimed his first victory of the Showdown.
Mackenzie held onto fourth despite an attack from Hickman in the closing stages on the Smiths Racing BMW with Glenn Irwin holding an isolated fifth place ahead of an impressive Tommy Bridewell after his huge crash yesterday.
Bridewell had got the better of the Jason O’Halloran and Iddon in the closing stages with Showdown contender Josh Brookes climbing from twelfth to ninth with James Ellison completing the top ten for Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha.
There was an incident-packed start to the second race with Michael Laverty crashing before completing half a lap but at the front Peter Hickman had snatched the advantage from Dixon and Richard Cooper.
However before the pack crossed the line for the first time there was a huge crash for Dan Linfoot as he clipped the rear tyre of Haslam and the Honda Racing rider crashed out, taking Tommy Bridewell with him.
The BMW Safety Car was deployed and as the race was about to resume Tarran Mackenzie had a moment coming out of the final chicane which he couldn’t save and the McAMS Yamaha rider crashed out of contention.
At the front Brookes was pushing and he made a move on Cooper to move into third with Haslam also doing the same a lap later, but there was drama for Dixon as the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider was forced to retire with a technical problem on lap 10.
At the front Hickman was pushing to hold on but Brookes charged into the lead on lap 11, but Haslam was on the hunt and piling on the pressure after moving into second place two laps later with an inch-perfect move into the final chicane on Hickman.
Haslam had Brookes as his target and with three laps to go he made his move; he fired the JG Speedfit Kawasaki down the inside into turn one and despite his Australian rival’s best attempts he held him off to the chequered flag with Hickman in third.
An epic battle for fourth was won by Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducati after he had regained ground after early evasive action to keep Cooper in fifth and his brother Andrew in sixth.
Bradley Ray was able to salvage seventh place ahead of Ellison with Danny Buchan and Iddon completing the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Assen, Race one result:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.086s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +1.679s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +2.059s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +6.333s
- Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati) +8.130s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +8.746s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +9.101s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +11.020s
- James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +11.415s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Assen, Race two result:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.138s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.946s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +8.184s
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +10.555s
- Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +10.663s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +11.306s
- James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +11.490s
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +18.334s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +23.521s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship ahead of the Brands Hatch finale:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 654
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 593
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 557
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 554
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 549
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 533
For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
(JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
Double race winner
“Honestly it has been a good weekend for us. Assen for me is one of the most historic circuits that you go to in the world and to come here with the British Championship is fantastic, so to come away with a double win and an extended lead in the Championship, but not only that my 14th win, is a big big credit to the team.
“The team has been awesome this year and big big thanks to Kawasaki and JG Speedfit.
“I feel good now ahead of the final round and I feel confident, it’s not over yet but it is definitely a lot better than it was coming in to this weekend and I am feeling good with the bike, with the team and I want to just enjoy it.
“We have three race at Brands Hatch, I love Brands Hatch and it is the one circuit that I haven’t won at with the Kawasaki so I am going to be all out to try and get on that top to end the season on a high.”
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