Leon Haslam and Josh Brookes shared the victories in a frenetic seventh round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Thruxton with Peter Hickman heroically scoring a double podium finish despite a kidney infection to become the twelfth different rider to feature on the podium in 2018 so far.
In the opening race Haslam ended his drought of victories at the high-speed Hampshire circuit after a hectic six-way battle that went down to the wire, as the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider managed to hold off the challenge from a hard-charging Jake Dixon by 0.118s at the chequered flag.
The race had started with his JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate Luke Mossey having the upper hand on the opening laps to lead the pack ahead of Brookes and the Irwin brothers as several of the Showdown contenders slid out of contention with Bradley Ray, Danny Buchan and Michael Laverty all crashed together at the Chicane on the third lap, with Andrew Irwin high-siding out of contention.
At the front Mossey was leading the freight train of riders ahead of Dixon, Haslam, Brookes and Glenn Irwin with Jason O’Halloran also moving into contention. The Be Wiser Ducati rider then made a move on Brookes into the Chicane to put him ahead.
Haslam was on the hunt though and he moved into second by lap ten with a daring move on Dixon into the Chicane to put both of the JG Speedfit Kawasakis at the front of the pack. Dixon wasn’t giving up the position though and he fired a counter attack to move back into second to split the team-mates again.
Dixon then had the lead in his sights and he lead onto lap 14 ahead of Haslam and Mossey before Brookes moved into a podium position a lap later. The lead then changed again as Haslam moved ahead of Dixon at the Chicane with three laps to go.
The fight back continued with Dixon launching another attack for the front; sliding ahead with an incredible move at Church to take the position back from Haslam with Brookes ahead of O’Halloran and Hickman, who had only been released from hospital earlier today following an overnight stay due to a kidney infection.
Dixon had held the lead until the final lap when Haslam regained the advantage and despite his best efforts he couldn’t make another move with the pair separated by 0.118s at the finish line.
The battle for third kicked off with Hickman incredibly taking third place after a collision between Brookes and O’Halloran at the Chicane sent them both wide. Brookes crossed the line fourth ahead of Irwin and O’Halloran with Mossey claiming seventh.
Mason Law scored an impressive eighth place, his best finish in his rookie season for Team WD-40 Kawasaki ahead of Tarran Mackenzie from his back row start and second rookie Chrissy Rouse who completed the top ten.
In race two Brookes was back on top as the McAMS Yamaha rider held off Hickman by just 0.305s to claim his third victory of the season.
Dixon had taken the lead on the opening lap of the second race from Brookes, but Haslam was on the move and he had carved through into podium contention.
Dixon was holding on to the lead from Brookes and Haslam, but a lap later the championship leader moved ahead to grab second place on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Brookes was then under threat from O’Halloran and the pair once again traded blows with the ‘O’Show’ moving ahead.
However Hickman was on a mission and within two laps he had moved into fourth as the pack reshuffled again with Dixon leading Haslam, Brookes, Hickman and O’Halloran with Mackenzie also making his way up the order on the second McAMS Yamaha.
In typical Thruxton style the positions were constantly changing and on lap seven Brookes took the lead before Dixon regained it, but into the Chicane and across the line Brookes was back in front for McAMS Yamaha.
Brookes began to edge a gap but Hickman and Dixon were then scrapping for second and Dixon originally had the edge but on the eleventh lap it was his Smiths Racing BMW rival who had moved ahead.
Haslam then moved third to push Dixon back to fourth with the leading five all in contention for the podium finish.
Brookes held on despite a late race surge from Hickman to claim his third victory of the season ahead of Hickman and Dixon, who made a last lap move on Haslam to snatch the final podium finish in the second race.
Mackenzie scored his best finish in fifth place ahead of O’Halloran with Tommy Bridewell equalling his best result of the season with another strong seventh position for the local Moto Rapido Ducati team.
Mossey was able to get the better of Glenn Irwin in the closing stages of the race to score ninth place with Law completing an incredible weekend with another top ten finish for Team WD-40 Kawasaki in his rookie season.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Race 1 result:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.118s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.883s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +1.556s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +2.205s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +2.238s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +6.255s
- Mason Law (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) +9.671s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +9.873s
- Chrissy Rouse (Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki) +10.182s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Race 2 result:
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha)
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.305s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +1.727s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +1.854s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +2.237s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +7.025s
- Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati) +8.465s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +9.070s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +9.525s
- Mason Law (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) +11.453s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Thruxton:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 280
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 198
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 168
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 163
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 119
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 111
The eighth round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Cadwell Park on August 17/18/19. For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
Race two winner
“It all went to plan in race two; I was even cautious about doing a burn out after the last time here! It has actually been a difficult weekend for us; we often expect to go good here and we played our cards a bit wrong in race one; I was running out of top speed and the bike was on the limiter and people were overtaking me into the Chicane all the time so I broke up my race.
“In the second race we changed the gearing and I had to manage it better in the corners but the combined package was a better compromise. I am thrilled that McAMS Yamaha can celebrate another victory and it is so important. I am desperate to claw the points back on Leon and that is what we need to keep doing now week-in-week-out.”
(Smiths Racing BMW)
Double podium finisher
“I only got discharged from hospital at 12 noon today so to be standing on the podium at 2pm was pretty unreal!
“The weekend had started well on Friday but on Saturday I started to feel unwell and although I managed to put a lap in during qualifying, I became worse on Saturday evening. The paramedics were called out and I was whisked away to hospital subsequently being diagnosed with a kidney infection.
“I felt a bit better today and got back to the circuit and gave it my best shot. I was a long way back at the beginning of race one, but I kept chipping away and gradually the front group came back to me. I had a bit of luck on the final lap after Josh and Jason came together but we deserved a bit of luck this weekend.
“In the second race, we were battling too much amongst ourselves which allowed Josh to make a break, but I had a good rhythm and got second place. We needed a good weekend after a poor start to the season and that’s what we got so to be right back in Showdown contention is just what I wanted.”