Leon Haslam leads Byrne by three points as Showdown set to kick off at Donington Park
Leon Haslam arrives at his home round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Donington Park this weekend (16/17/18 September) with a slender three point lead in the overall standings ahead of arch rival Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne as the championship Showdown phase gets underway.
Haslam hits the opening Showdown event after scoring a hat trick of victories last time out and is ready to take on the challenge from Byrne, who will be aiming to strike back after missing out on the podium at Oulton Park as he aims for a record fifth British title.
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) – Championship leader ahead of the Showdown
“It was a dream weekend at Oulton Park and I can’t wait for Donington and the Showdown to kick off. I am feeling pretty good ahead of this weekend, I feel we have come on a lot with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and this is my home round, the first event of the Showdown and where it really matters. We have had a good run of form over the last four races, scoring four wins and so we obviously want to carry that momentum into this weekend. I think the top six will all be focused on doing their own job, but everyone knows what they need to do and that is to win races. We are coming out again this weekend ready to fight for wins and we need to stay on top.”
Byrne is 33-points ahead of Jason O’Halloran and James Ellison who are tied for third place in the standings, but both are ready to fight for victories to close the deficit with seven races remaining before the champion will be crowned at Brands Hatch. The Australian suffered a rare technical failure on his machine last weekend which cost him dealer in the championship stakes, as before that round he was well clear Ellison, Linfoot and Mossey, but that triumvirate are now right with O’Halloran as the race for the Title has closed up considerably.
Dan Linfoot is just two points adrift of O’Halloran and Ellison. He will be striving for his first win in the Superbike class as he returns to Donington Park ready to move up the order in the Showdown Six.
Luke Mossey completes the Showdown Six, following a dream weekend at Oulton Park after becoming a father for the first time, securing his place in the Showdown and scoring his best ever finish of second place. The Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki rider admits he won’t be resting on his laurels as he aims to leap up the order this weekend.
As the final three round Showdown commences, there will be several riders who didn’t make the cut for the top six, and with nothing to lose will be ready to crash the party. America’s John Hopkins, Tyco BMW pairing Michael Laverty and Christian Iddon, plus Richard Cooper and Tommy Bridewell will all be pushing for wins and podium finishes.
“I couldn’t have been more frustrated and disappointed with how we ended Oulton Park, I was literally pulling my hair out as we had the pace – we were so close and right there to be able to run at the front consistently. To walk away with less than top ten finishes doesn’t show the progress that we have made and the team have worked hard all year long. I have my strength back now in my right shoulder and I am feeling good. If anything, race two we had a really good shot at it, the bike was working well and I didn’t want to let O’Halloran go. I just pushed it that little bit too hard over the edge and I just lost the front and that was it. I bruised my shoulder a little bit but it wasn’t horrendous. We tried a harder tyre in the second race and I was losing it and I had no edge grip and high-siding every time I touched the throttle, so the race was over. I just want to get ready for this weekend at Donington now. I am completely going into Donington with the mindset of being on the podium and hopefully not being out of the top five all weekend long – that is the plan. I want to win as I feel we have so much to make up for this season. I feel bad for Tommy as he has put together a great team and we have the package to make it happen. We have had bad luck and reasons why we have struggled at points this year, but I am excited and more motivated than ever to try and be back on the podium finally this weekend.”
His teammate Broc Parkes was a late draft into the ePayMe Yamaha squad but is looking to finish the season strongly in the final two rounds after scoring some very encouraging results of late. Parkes will not be racing BSB this weekend as he fulfills World Endurance duties with YART at the Bol d’Or.
“It was a tough weekend for us, as it was only the second time I had been at Oulton Park, but we made good progress and I’m pleased I could fight for the top ten in the last race. We made some changes to the bike which improved my pace and we learned a lot. It should put us in a good place for the rest of the season and the final two rounds. Big thanks to Tommy and everyone in the ePayMe Yamaha team.”
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of the Showdown
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