Leon Haslam and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team took another step closer to the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship as they were victorious in all three races at Silverstone over the weekend (7th to 9th September), the wins leading him to extend his title lead even further.
A heavy, high-speed crash in the opening free practice session on Friday put Leon on the back foot but he was back on track in the afternoon and duly qualified in sixth place on Saturday, team-mate Luke Mossey also impressing as he slotted into seventh, just one place further back.
In the afternoon’s 30-lap race, the first in the weekend’s triple header, Leon and Luke immediately slotted into the top six and it soon became a five-rider battle for the lead as Luke slipped back slightly. Leon gradually moved forward although it wasn’t until the final third of the race that he hit the front for the first time.
This he duly did and although Glenn Irwin got ahead of him, the Derbyshire rider wasn’t to be denied and moved ahead again on the final lap to claim his tenth win of the season. Luke, meanwhile, held on for seventh place and was only 3.1 seconds adrift of his team-mate at the conclusion of 30 hectic laps.
The duo started from fourth and seventh for Sunday’s first encounter and although Luke dropped back in the early laps, Leon immediately moved up to fourth which was where he remained until lap 19 when he moved up to third.
Leon hit the front for the first time just four laps later but an early coming together with Bradley Ray meant he had to relinquish a place so he was back down to second with just four laps to go.
On the penultimate lap though, he moved back ahead of Jake Dixon to take his second win of the weekend but the drama wasn’t over as both Dixon and Tarran Mackenzie, running in second and third, crashed out on the final lap and not only did that extend his lead further, it also promoted Luke up the order to eighth place for his second successive top eight finish.
Unfortunately, the third and final race was red flagged after just one lap after a crash at Copse involving Luke, although he was thankfully able to walk into the ambulance.
That just left Leon to fly the flag for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team in the restarted race of 26 laps and it was again a pulsating affair with the leading seven riders again locked in battle throughout.
Just as he had done in the other races, Leon gradually worked his way to the front and although Mackenzie pushed him back to second with just a handful of laps remaining, he wasn’t to be denied his hat-trick.
The memorable meeting resulted in another 15 podium credits as the series now heads into the final three-round Showdown, where the points are reset at 500 with each rider’s podium credits added. This means Leon now has a total of 568 points, 45 clear of Jake Dixon.
Leon Haslam said: “It was an unbelievable weekend, it started pretty badly with a huge crash on Friday but turned around really well with three wins.
“We secured another 15 podium credits which is important, but we had some great battles this weekend with so many riders in all three races. The races were fun and really enjoyable to be a part of.
“I’m looking forward to Oulton next week as we’ve had some good results there in the past and the final three races of the year are the most important.”
Luke Mossey said: “I felt like I had good pace this weekend and made some good steps forward. The team worked really hard and I felt comfortable from the start. I got some decent results in the opening two races and my pace was the same as the front runners, so I just need to put it altogether now.
“In race three I didn’t have any grip from the start and had a big high-side causing a red flag, thankfully I’m ok and I’ll be good for Oulton Park next week.”
Jack Valentine, Team Manager said: “It was a good weekend; it started off with a bit of a scary moment when Leon had a huge crash in FP1. The team worked hard to put the bike back together and Leon bounced back as he always does and qualified in sixth place.
“The rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur but it was fantastic. The national track provided some of the best racing all year and Leon secured the treble, extending the podium credits again. Now we are looking forward to getting to Oulton and back to ‘normal’ racing.
“Luke secured some strong results over the weekend and I was pleased with the progress he made, he was showing some decent form. He had a few grip issues from the start in the third race and ended up having a big high-side, but he’ll be back fit next week at Oulton Park.”
Round ten of the series, the first part of the Showdown, takes place next weekend at Oulton Park, Cheshire from 14th to 16th September.