Double Delight for Pocket Rocket Haslam at Donington

Photo Credit to Gareth Davies, of Full Factory Media. You can find him here

British Superbikes

April 5, 2017

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Leon Haslam stormed to a double win on Sunday at Donington Park, giving the JG Speedfit Bournemouth Kawasaki Team their first ever wins as he strolled into the lead of the championship by 19 points over Luke Mossey, his teammate.

Haslam dominated the first race, wasting no time at all in muscling his way past early race leader James Ellison, who rides the McAms Yamaha in 2017. Luke Mossey also closed in after an aggressive move on the first lap to get ahead of returning champion Josh Brookes, with the front three running very close together. Further back in the pack it was Christian Iddon on the Tyco BMW who was leading Peter Hickman, Michael Laverty, Josh Brookes – who dropped back after Mossey’s aggressive pass – and the sole remaining PBM Ducati of Glenn Irwin, after Shane Byrne crashed heavily at Craner Curves in warm up and was unable to race due to concussion.

After Haslam had negotiated his way passed James Ellison, Cambridgeshire rider Luke Mossey quickly followed suit, easing through and although initially staying with Leon, Mossey faded and finished and a distant 2nd. For third, the battle was on between Iddon and Hickman, with Christian putting an aggressive move on Hicky to take the 3rd place – starting the season just as he started 2016. Hickman was 4th but annoyed with Iddon’s move. James Ellison completed the top five with Glenn Irwin finishing ahead of Brookes, Laverty, Dixon and Jason O’Halloran completing the top 10.

Notable non-finishers in race one included Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie; the Suzuki pairing crashing out early on. John Hopkins and Billy McConnell both crashed too, with Aaron Zanotti, Martin Jessopp and Bradley Ray also failing to finish (or in Ray’s case, failing to start).

Race two was slightly different, with Josh Brookes coming off pole position and leading the race from the start. Haslam hurried through into 2nd with James Ellison 3rd. Glenn Irwin made a poor start and was as low as 10th early on in the race, with work to do.

Taylor Mackenzie crashed again in his comeback season to BSB but was in good company, as Billy McConnell again went down at Goddard’s. Michael Laverty’s McAms Yamaha broke down and he retired at the Foggy Esses after a strong showing in the top five.

Brookes was leading Haslam but with Haslam opting for a harder front tyre, the gap was being reduced. Mossey however was not replicating his first race showing, as he was enthralled in a battle for the podium positions with Iddon, Ellison, Hickman and Irwin.

Haslam hit the lead with five to go and despite Brookes trying to remain near him, Haslam pulled the pin and used the harder tyre compound to his advantage, as Josh struggled for grip, particularly out of the Esses. Meanwhile, Irwin was now in third place, a heroic Valentino Rossi-style comeback for the Ulsterman gave Paul Bird something to cheer about after a bad start to the day.

Haslam was victorious as he cruised to his first double at Donington Park since 2007 on the Airwaves Ducati – the home of doubles lived up to its name. Josh Brookes took his first podium since 2015 and gave the Anvil Hire Tag Racing Team their first ever podium with Yamaha equipment, proving that any team can do well in BSB if they have the right riders. Glenn Irwin took 3rd place ahead of Christian Iddon and Luke Mossey, who completed the top five. James Ellison ended up 6th ahead of Guintoli, Hickman, newcomer Giugliano and Jason O’Halloran who finished 10th.

A double victory got the crowd on their feet for local rider Leon Haslam, as he leads the championship by a distant 19 points over teammate Luke Mossey and Derbyshire’s Christian Iddon in 3rd. Josh Brookes is straight in with 4th in the series, ahead of Glenn Irwin and Peter Hickman.

The racing resumes on the 16th and 17th of April, which is Bank Holiday Monday. Brands Hatch Indy is the circuit and you can be guaranteed of some fierce action around one of the shortest and scrappiest tracks on the calendar. Expect fireworks from Shane Byrne as he looks to kick-start his championship in two weeks’ time. Whatever the weather, there will be an enormous crowd so prepare for one of the best rounds of the season and make your bank holiday weekend count.

Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko

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