Leon Haslam the star of the show as Snetterton hosts British Superbikes
PUBLISHED: 20:28 17 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:28 17 June 2018
After two warm days of practice and qualifying, the weather turned a little cooler for the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship at Snetterton yesterday – but on the track the action was red hot with Leon Haslam roaring to a brace of victories to extend his series lead.
Haslam admitted it was nice to win both races on a circuit where he hadn’t enjoyed success before.
“It’s been good,” he said. “The last few years we’ve had a few issues – last year I had a broken neck – and we have worked hard on our weaknesses here at Snetterton, and I have come out with two wins, so yes, happy.”
Andrew Irwin, making his Superbike debut riding for the BeWiser Ducati squad in place of the injured Shakey Byrne, certainly made his presence felt. He missed his braking point at turn two of the opening race and skittled three other riders, including both the factory Hondas of Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran who were having their first rides back after injury.
At the head of the field it was Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray who set the pace, only to crash out at half race distance, leaving Glen Irwin to inherit top spot.
Series leader Haslam worked his way through the leaderboard and finally hit the front on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki to clinch his first premier class victory at Snetterton.
Jake Dixon, riding for the local RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team, caught former British champion Josh Brookes on the final lap and the pair swapped place three times in the last three corners before Dixon stole the final podium place.
When the lights went out at the start of the second race it was Brookes, on the McAMS Yamaha, leading a five-bike battle that had the huge Snetterton crowd making the most of every vantage point around the 2.99-mile circuit.
Pole position man Ray once again made a costly error and crashed out on lap 10, taking an irate Glen Irwin with him into the trackside gravel trap.
On the next trip around the high speed turns, Haslam once again made his move for the winner’s garland with five laps left. Brookes was in no mood to miss out on his first win of the season and the two traded places over the closing three laps before clashing on the run to the flag, which Haslam won by four one hundredths of a second. Dixon made the most of the argy bargy to steal second, less then a 10th of a second ahead of Brookes.
Thetford’s Ryan Vickers extended his lead in the Superstock 600c championship with a mature lights to flag victory on his Mototechniks Yamaha. His early two-second advantage was eroded when the safety car was on track for several laps, but after the restart he managed the race perfectly and maintained his unbeaten record in this year’s series.
Norwich’s Grant Newstead gave himself some work to do on the Tinkler’s Yamaha after a difficult start, but made the most of the safety car intervention and worked his way through to seventh, on the cusp of challenging for the top five, when the race was stopped two laps early with a red flag incident.