News 3 May 2016

Haslam and Cooper share Oulton Park BSB victories

O'Halloran racks up more points with consistent finishes.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Leon Haslam returned to winning ways in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, scoring the opening race victory at Oulton Park, but he couldn’t make it a double celebration as Richard Cooper claimed a hard-fought debut race win.

Haslam was forced to fight his way through to the front of the pack in the wet conditions, proving his determination to return to the top step of the podium for the first time since 2008 in the opening race.

The Pocket Rocket instantly got stuck into the fight and first dispensed with Jack Kennedy at Lodge and then repeated the move just a few laps later on Linfoot with the pair almost inseparable.

Haslam then closed the advantage to the group ahead of him and when Dan Linfoot crashed out of the lead he had the opportunity he needed; that left him leading from Iddon and Ellison.

The race winner would come down to the last lap and Haslam held the initial advantage, but Iddon was pressing hard and the pair almost collided at Island as they pushed to stay ahead.

Iddon tried everything possible but it was Haslam who held the slight advantage out of Lodge for the final time to score his first victory of the season by just 0.103s as Ellison completed the podium line up.

A rain shower before the start of the race two left the teams and riders gambling on tyre choice and that would prove to be crucial with the track drying throughout the race.

At the start Dan Linfoot had hit the front of the field, eager to make amends for crashing out of the lead in race one, with Jack Kennedy.

Cooper was then holding his position in the lead but Iddon was closing him down at a rapid rate with Kennedy holding third place until the JG Speedfit Kawasaki pairing hunted him after Haslam and Ellison had moved up the order when their choice of slick tyres paid off mid distance. Linfoot though had a double disappointment when he crashed out on the eighth lap.

Michael Laverty had thrown himself into contention; moving up to third place, behind the leading pair of Cooper and Iddon, but ahead of the quarrelling JG Speedfit Kawasakis of Ellison and Haslam who were embroiled in their own battle of supremacy and by lap 13 the pair were almost swapping paint in their quest to head the team charge.

At the front Iddon had hunted down Cooper and waited until the last lap to make his move, the Tyco BMW rider had taken the lead at Cascades and was desperately trying to defend as the pair both aimed for their first race victory in MCE BSB.

A moment on the exit of Hizzys chicane didn’t stop Iddon from holding the lead, but he drifted marginally wide on the exit of Lodge and it was enough for Cooper to win the drag to the line.

The battle for third was equally intense with the JG Speedfit Kawasakis taking the fight all the way to the finish with Haslam emerging ahead as they crossed the line for the final time to return to the podium after securing his first race win of the season earlier in the day.

It was a mixed day for the Australian contingent as Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran took fourth in race one and eighth in the second, while Kawasaki-mounted Billy McConnell crossed the line 10th in race one.

Iddon now leads the championship charge to Brands Hatch for the next round of the championship on 20-22 May.

In the British Supersport Championship feature race Ben Currie was unable to repeat his Sunday win, logging a DNF, as Levi Day finished 15th for the round.