News 2 Oct 2017

Haslam and Guintoli secure BSB race victories at Assen

Haslam maintains points lead ahead of championship finale.

Source: Supplied.

Current series leader Leon Haslam (JG Speedlift Kawasaki) and Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) have split race victories at Assen’s penultimate round of the of 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship (BSB).

Haslam claimed the race one victory after an epic clash at the legendary Dutch circuit with a six-way scrap for the win with Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) working his way through the order.

On the opening lap James Ellison (McAms Yamaha) led from Haslam, Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) and Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing), but Guintoli was soon in the mix as he moved into third on the Bennetts Suzuki at the end of the third lap.

Byrne had started 16th on the grid, but he was forcing his way through the pack and by the sixth lap was up to fifth as the leading pack of Ellison, Haslam, Guintoli and Byrne started to trade blows at the front of the field.

Guintoli hit the lead on the 10th lap as he dived ahead of Ellison with Haslam and Byrne in close contention, but the McAMS Yamaha rider wasn’t second for long as he repaid the move to reclaim the position at the front of the field.

Byrne moved up to third as Guintoli moved back ahead of Ellison, but Haslam was determined and he moved into second before taking the lead on lap 14 to put the JG Speedfit Kawasaki back ahead. As Haslam took the lead the pack shuffled with Ellison up to second ahead of Guintoli with Byrne in fourth as Australian Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire Yamaha) and Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) closed in.

Haslam was edging an advantage but the fight wasn’t over until the line as Byrne made a decisive last lap move to put himself ahead of Ellison, but in turn the McAMS Yamaha rider had come under attack from Guintoli.

As Byrne held second, Ellison went for a last corner move on Guintoli to hold onto the final podium spot with the Bennetts Suzuki rider relegated to fourth ahead of Brookes and Ray. Australian Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) finished in 10th.

On the opening lap of a race two thriller, Byrne had hit the front of the pack from Haslam and Ellison with Guintoli, Brookes and Iddon in close contention. However instantly the riders were jostling for positions and by the third lap the Bennetts Suzuki of Guintoli was at the front and ahead of Haslam.

Haslam instantly fought back though to try and recapture the lead but as the pack streamed across the line for the fourth time Byrne led Ellison with Haslam and Guintoli next up with Brookes ready to make his attack.

By lap seven Ellison had edged into the lead on the McAMS Yamaha at the final chicane, but Byrne was pushing hard and two laps later he regained the position with Guintoli holding third ahead of Haslam and Brookes.

The five riders were trading blows for the positions and Haslam then moved ahead of Ellison to claim third as Guintoli then took the lead. On lap 16 the leading pack were all side by side as they entered turn one – Byrne and Haslam came off worst as they drifted wide and allowed Guintoli, Ellison and Brookes to emerge ahead.

Guintoli then held the advantage but Ellison was under attack and Haslam made a move on the penultimate lap to move second, but Brookes wasn’t done yet. The Anvil Hire Yamaha rider waited until the final lap to make a pass, with the Aussie lunging ahead into second place to maintain second in the overall standings. Ellison held off Byrne who finished fifth for the Be Wiser Ducati team. O’Halloran was 13th in the second outing.

It was a bittersweet round for Aussie Ben Currie (Kawasaki) in the Supersport class, claiming a commanding win in the opening race, although he was forced to retire in the second outing. Compatriot Levi Day (Ducati) was sixth in the Ducati TriOptions Cup.

The next and final round of the British Superbike Championship is scheduled for 13-15 October at the popular Brands Hatch circuit.