The rollercoaster in the fight for the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship title race continued at Assen as Leon Haslam doubled up on victories but it was disaster for closest rival Jake Dixon as a technical problem put him out of race two ahead of the title decider at Brands Hatch (October 12/13/14).
Assen BSB Race One
Haslam and Dixon locked horns in the opening race at Assen as Dixon had initially launched into the lead from pole position onboard the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki, but Tarran Mackenzie was on a mission to hit the front, which he did with a move up the inside on the opening lap with Haslam in third.
As Mackenzie held the lead, Peter Hickman moved into fourth with a move on Christian Iddon into the chicane at the end of lap one. The leading four later edged out a breakaway charge with Hickman then forging ahead of Dixon on lap four, but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki instantly shoved back ahead.
Haslam wasn’t going to settle though and he waited a lap later to make a decisive move on Hickman into the final chicane to move into third with Mackenzie and Dixon ahead of him. The leading pair in the title standings were then inseparable with Haslam gaining the position on lap ten to put his main rival back into third.
Haslam hit the front of the pack with three laps remaining as he fired the JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of Mackenzie, but the McAMS Yamaha rookie wasn’t settling for that and made a hard move back into the lead. The championship leader was then back ahead as the pack hit the final chicane.
Haslam then held off Dixon, who had moved into second on the penultimate lap but despite his best efforts he was unable to stop the hard-charging JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of him as the ‘Pocket Rocket’ claimed his first victory of the Showdown.
Mackenzie held onto fourth despite an attack from Hickman in the closing stages on the Smiths Racing BMW with Glenn Irwin holding an isolated fifth place ahead of an impressive Tommy Bridewell after his huge crash yesterday.
Bridewell had got the better of the Jason O’Halloran and Iddon in the closing stages with Showdown contender Josh Brookes climbing from twelfth to ninth with James Ellison completing the top ten for Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha.
There was an incident-packed start to the second race with Michael Laverty crashing before completing half a lap but at the front Peter Hickman had snatched the advantage from Dixon and Richard Cooper.
However before the pack crossed the line for the first time there was a huge crash for Dan Linfoot as he clipped the rear tyre of Haslam and the Honda Racing rider crashed out, taking Tommy Bridewell with him.
The BMW Safety Car was deployed and as the race was about to resume Tarran Mackenzie had a moment coming out of the final chicane which he couldn’t save and the McAMS Yamaha rider crashed out of contention.
At the front Brookes was pushing and he made a move on Cooper to move into third with Haslam also doing the same a lap later, but there was drama for Dixon as the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider was forced to retire with a technical problem on lap 10.
Hickman was pushing to hold on to the lead but Brookes charged into P1 on lap 11, but Haslam was on the hunt and piling on the pressure after moving into second place two laps later with an inch-perfect move into the final chicane on Hickman.
Haslam had Brookes as his target and with three laps to go he made his move; he fired the JG Speedfit Kawasaki down the inside into turn one and despite his Australian rival’s best attempts he held him off to the chequered flag with Hickman in third.
An epic battle for fourth was won by Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducati after he had regained ground after early evasive action to keep Cooper in fifth and his brother Andrew in sixth.
Bradley Ray was able to salvage seventh place ahead of Ellison with Danny Buchan and Iddon completing the top ten.
2018 BSB Assen Race Two Results
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +0.138s
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.946s
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +8.184s
Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +10.555s
Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +10.663s
Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +11.306s
James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +11.490s
Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +18.334s
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +23.521s
2018 BSB Assen Race Two Press Conference
2018 BSB Championship Standings ahead of Brands Finale
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 654
Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 593
Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 557
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 554
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 549
Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 533
Leon Haslam 1-1
“Honestly it has been a good weekend for us. Assen for me is one of the most historic circuits that you go to in the world and to come here with the British Championship is fantastic, so to come away with a double win and an extended lead in the Championship, but not only that my 14th win, is a big big credit to the team. The team has been awesome this year and big big thanks to Kawasaki and JG Speedfit. I feel good now ahead of the final round and I feel confident, it’s not over yet but it is definitely a lot better than it was coming in to this weekend and I am feeling good with the bike, with the team and I want to just enjoy it. We have three race at Brands Hatch, I love Brands Hatch and it is the one circuit that I haven’t won at with the Kawasaki so I am going to be all out to try and get on that top to end the season on a high.”
Peter Hickman 4-3
“The Smiths Racing team have worked so hard to get the previous issues we had with the bike fixed and they’ve done a mega job, so I felt happy with the bike all weekend and we were fast from the word go. I had my usual rubbish qualifying session, but I made a great start in race one and showed we had the pace to win at Assen. A small mistake from me at the end meant we just missed out on the podium, but it was great to be back at the head of the field where we should be. It was great to start race two from pole position and I made the perfect start, but the safety car period hurt us a bit as the tyres cooled off a bit too much. The tyre was chattering a lot in the last six laps as I’d spun it on the rim when I was trying to generate some heat, but it was great to be back on the podium and we’re well in contention for third place in the championship.”
Glenn Irwin 5-4
“Race one was quite difficult, so it was nice to end the race weekend on a positive note. We decided to use the harder tyre for race two which we’ve always struggled to make work on the Be Wiser Ducati and have used very little. I didn’t make a great start and was around eighth place when Dan Linfoot crashed in front of me which left me with nowhere to go. I thought the race was going to be red flagged so sat up and raised my hand, but it never happened, and I dropped way back down the order. Once all the incidents had gone, it was just a matter of putting my head down and I lapped as quick on the harder tyre as I had on the softer one in race one. I was more consistent in race two and we made a good step forward with the bike and also my confidence. We’ll head to the final round now and look to end the season on a high. Best wishes to Dan for a speedy recovery too.”
Josh Brookes 9-2
“We struggled a bit in the opening race which just meant I couldn’t ride how I wanted. We made some changes ahead of race two and the bike instantly felt better and was a pleasure to ride. The bike felt like my own again and I really enjoyed that race – obviously second is not what we set out to do, but to be running at the front and back on the podium and fighting at the front.”
Jason O’Halloran 7-11
“Race one was really good and I enjoyed it, I did struggle with grip and feeling a little at the start with the tyre, but once everyone else dropped off I maintained pace. I worked hard to get back to the guys ahead and made a pass on the final chicane to move into seventh. We can be pleased with the progress in the race and we also came away with a few points. The second race was always going to be difficult starting from the fourth row and then with the events that happened. The first lap was carnage and then Dan unfortunately had his crash. He’s been through the wars this year and he doesn’t deserve it, but I’m glad to hear he’s uninjured. I ran off track and into the dirt to avoid the crash, then after the safety car I’d lost temperature in the tyres and wasn’t able to push back through the pack. Focus now turns to Brands and hopefully ending the season on a high.”
Tarran Mackenzie 3-DNF
“It’s been a crazy day, I felt I could have won that first race and it was great to lead for so long, unfortunately just not for the last bit! I was fired up for race two but the crash put paid to that, I just jumped up and played chicken in the middle of the track. It’s Brands Hatch next and we went well there earlier so I’m hoping for some decent results.”
Andrew Irwin 16-6
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating weekend as it wasn’t until race two that I felt comfortable Andrew Irwinon the bike and race one was a bit of a disaster finishing out of the points, so it was good to turn it around. We changed the bike back to how it was when I rode it earlier in the year which was a bit more user friendly and I lapped faster on the harder tyre in race two than what I had on the softer tyre in race one. I was also almost as quick as what I had been in qualifying. We know now the direction we need to work in for the final round at Brands Hatch and although a few people crashed in race two, there were still some good riders behind me, so it was a good sixth place finish. I can’t be disappointed with sixth, so we go to the final round in a good position and with three races to score some good results.”
Assen BSB Supersport Sprint Race
Alastair Seeley grabbed the holeshot into the first corner, leading Kennedy and Ben Currie at the end of the opening lap. Joined by James Rispoli and Bradley Perie, the five riders were split by less than a second for much of the 12 lap sprint race.
Drama would unfold in the closing stages however as Currie was given a 2.3s time penalty for cutting the course at turn 16.
A stunning last lap from Seeley saw him able to pull a small lead over Kennedy, however the Championship leader was able to close up, narrowly missing out on the win.
Rispoli claimed third with Currie relegated to fourth. Josh Owens was the first of the GP2 machines in fifth.
Assen BSB Supersport Sprint Race Results
Alastair Seeley (EHA Racing)
Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha) +0.052s
James Rispoli (Everquip Racing) +2.716s
Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki) + 2.767s
Josh Owens (RS Racing Kalex) +5.573s
James Westmoreland (Gearlink Kawasaki) +5.753s
Assen BSB Supersport Feature Race
Gearlink Kawasaki’s Ben Currie was the fastest off the line, leading into the opening corner, but it was Seeley who had moved into the lead by the end of the opening lap as Kennedy had also moved through to push Currie back to third.
The leading trio continued to trade places throughout the 16 lap feature race, with the race coming down to a last lap battle between Seeley and Kennedy.
Defending his line into the final chicane, Seeley was able to hold off Kennedy to take his second victory of the weekend by just 0.097s.
Kennedy’s second place has given him a 41 point advantage at the top of the Championship standings, with 50 points remaining at Brands Hatch Ben Currie’s chances of lifting the 2018 British Supersport Championship are slim, but the chance is still there…
Assen BSB Supersport Feature Race Results
Alastair Seeley (EHA Racing Yamaha)
Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha) +0.097s
Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki) +2.625s
David Allingham (EHA Racing Yamaha) +19.941s
Jamie Perrin (Slidecodor – Go Racing Developments Yamaha)
James Rispoli (Everquip Racing) +2.716s
Dickies British Supersport Championship Standings, Assen
Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha) 446
Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki) 405
James Rispoli (Everquip Racing) 240
James Westmoreland (Gearlink Kawasaki) 224
David Allingham (EHA Racing) 190
Bradley Jones (Integro Yamaha) 177
Assen BSB Ducati TriOptions Cup
Rob Guiver rounded out the Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup season by completing a dominant double victory at Assen, securing the second race win by 6.177s.
In a carbon copy of Saturday’s opening race, the 2018 Champion cruised away to his tenth win of the year.
There was action behind him as Levi Day, Lewis Rollo and Phil Atkinson all took turns holding a podium position, however it was eventually South Australia’s Levi Day who took second with Atkinson third.
Day’s second place in the second race moved him up to fifth in the overall championship standings.
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