Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam shared the spoils in Monday’s British Superbike meeting at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, with Jason O’Halloran completing the podium in both of the day’s outings.
Race one saw Leon Haslam get a mediocre start from pole position, leaving Shane Byrne to lead into turn one. Despite Byrne taking the advantage, the race wasn’t as strung out as we all thought it would be with Haslam, O’Halloran, Jackson, Cooper and Mossey all up at the sharp end, as well as Bridewell who burst through from row 3, along with Dan Linfoot.
O’Halloran and Richard Cooper soon became embroiled in a big battle, with the two exchanging places around Park corner and down towards the Gooseneck. O’Halloran won the battle but there was more drama down field on the next lap.
Cooper’s teammate Lee Jackson crashed out in sensational style as his bike barrel-rolled through the air before smashing into the air fence. Jackson was OK and walked off, understandably in disgust.
Haslam made a mistake, allowing Shakey to escape and O’Halloran to take the 2nd position. It wasn’t long until he was back on the case though, and Haslam not only got passed Jason again but he caught series leader Byrne too.
Dan Linfoot crashed out at the chicane at a track that has been far from kind for the Yorkshireman. His best finish prior to this weekend at the Lincolnshire circuit was a 7th. The bad luck continued for the showdown protagonist.
Haslam took the lead from Byrne and no sooner had he done that, Byrne made a mistake, allowing Jason O’Halloran back through into 2nd position. But as we all know in motorcycle racing: It isn’t over until the chequered flag.
O’Halloran made a huge error over the Mountain and a lap later, Shakey retook 2nd position. Tommy Bridewell had closed in on the group and was now challenging the Honda rider of O’Halloran. Byrne then set off after Haslam and on the very last lap, pushed his Ducati through on entrance to the Gooseneck. Byrne had pulled off an astonishing win, with Haslam 2nd and O’Halloran 3rd.
Race two got underway with a bang, as Howie Mainwaring-Smart and Filip Backlund had a colossal accident at turn one. This triggered the safety car to be deployed whilst the marshals attended the fallen riders, both of whom I’m glad to say weren’t seriously injured.
Byrne took the lead and held it until the safety car was back in. Haslam charged passed as soon as he could and barged four-time champion Byrne to one side at Park, allowing O’Halloran to take advantage once more. Despite a big moment from O’Halloran, Byrne wouldn’t find a way through and that is how it stayed until the end. The drama however was unfolding further down, when Christian Iddon wiped out Richard Cooper at the hairpin, putting a big dent in both of their showdown aspirations. Haslam took back nine points by winning from Jason and Shane, all three of which confirmed their places in the showdown.
The gap from 4th down to 10th is just 27 points, with Michael Laverty, Dan Linfoot and James Ellison all in the showdown provisionally. Christian Iddon is in 10th. Anyone 13th or above in the championship has a mathematical chance of getting into the showdown, should results go their way. You can read more about the showdown protagonists during the week when we release our Showdown Preview.
The next round is at Oulton Park where we have a triple header treat coming up for you! Follow us on Twitter @PitCrew_Online for live text commentary by @MotoGPKiko on Sunday.
Thank you to Gareth Davies for the excellent images he provides us.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko