News 12 Sep 2016

Haslam leads into BSB 'Showdown' following Oulton Park hat-trick

Another solid weekend in the books for O'Halloran.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Leon Haslam claimed his first triple victory in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park to emerge ahead of Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in the standings, with just three points separating the arch rivals ahead of the opening round of the Showdown at Donington Park next weekend.

After a JG Speedfit Kawasaki 1-2-3 in yesterday’s opening race of the weekend, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team were ready to fight for their positions in the Showdown, with the two races today deciding the final three Title Fighter places.

In the second race of the weekend Haslam hit the front from pole position ahead of James Ellison and Dan Linfoot. The fight for the front was intense from the start and as the pack streamed across the line for the second lap Ellison was leading from Linfoot and Haslam.

Ellison was holding his ground at the front of the pack, but as Byrne pushed to move forward from his ninth place he slid out of contention unhurt at Hizzys chicane.

Haslam was on the attack though and he pushed through into second place with a determined move at Lodge on the tenth lap and then had his sights set on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate. Three laps later and the Pocket Rocket went for his move on Ellison with a repeat performance at Lodge to hit the front.

Haslam held on to take the lead and with Ellison claiming second place he confirmed his position in the Showdown with one race of the Main Season remaining with Linfoot completing the podium ahead of O’Halloran, Mossey and Bridewell completing the top six. There was more drama for the Tyco BMW team as Michael Laverty crashed out of the race on the final lap, putting him closer to the danger zone with one race remaining.

The final race of the weekend decided the final top six and with two places up for grabs five riders were in contention into claim the positions – Linfoot, Laverty, Peter Hickman, Mossey and Cooper.

O’Halloran hit the front of the pack and with his place already confirmed in the Showdown, the Honda Racing rider was determined to add to his tally of Podium Points. Ellison was focused on scoring his first race win of the season and he hit the front of the pack by the end of the opening lap, pushing O’Halloran back to second with Haslam in third and Showdown contender Mossey in fourth place.

As the pack jostled for positions Jake Dixon suffered a huge crash which bought out the Nissan GT-R Safety Car with O’Halloran, Haslam, Mossey and Bridewell stacking the pack up before the race resumed.

Haslam hit the front of the pack again, but there was drama for Honda Racing as Linfoot crashed out of contention. He was forced to watch from the sidelines in despair as Mossey held third place on track, but with Laverty in fourth place, he had a marginal buffer of just four points.

Haslam held off Mossey to claim the third and final victory of the weekend, with the Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki rider celebrating second and with it a place in the Showdown for the first time in only his second season.

Bridewell claimed a podium finish but it was too late for the Bennetts Suzuki rider who missed the cut for the Showdown, holding off Laverty in fourth who also narrowly missed out for Tyco BMW and Byrne who finished in fifth.

The six Title Fighters – Haslam, Byrne, O’Halloran, Ellison, Linfoot and Mossey – now look ahead to the opening round of the Showdown next weekend at Donington Park.

Of the remaining Australians in action at Oulton Park over the weekend, Broc Parkes (ePayMe Yamaha) went 14-14-10, Josh Hook (Team WD40 Kawasaki) DNF-DNF-18, Billy McConnell (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) DNF-17-12 and in Supersport Benjamin Currie (Pacedayz Trackday Yamaha) went 9-DNF.