Haslam versus Shakey: One all for the top two at Knockhill
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship titans Leon Haslam and Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne claimed a win apiece at the fourth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Knockhill in an incredible pair of races.
In the opening dry race at the Scottish circuit Haslam served up his third victory of the season after an intense fight for the win with Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot.
As the race got underway Jason O’Halloran had hit the front of the pack from Haslam and John Hopkins, with the ‘Pocket Rocket’ hitting the lead with a decisive move on the third lap. As the pair diced for the lead, Byrne was pushing to move up the order, but crashed out on the fourth lap at the Hairpin, collecting Briggs Equipment BMW’s Jake Dixon.
The incident bought out the Nissan GT-R Safety Car and the pack formed up with Haslam leading Hopkins. By lap eleven Hopkins was threatening at the front; taking the lead for the ePayMe Yamaha team, but as they streamed down to the Hairpin, Haslam made a move to regain the lead.
Linfoot was on the move; pushing ahead of Hopkins to go second as Luke Mossey carved his way through the field and then also made a move on the American to move into third.
Linfoot was then piling the pressure on Haslam for the lead; regaining the position on the run into turn one; however two laps later Haslam repaid the move with a pass down the inside into the Hairpin. The pair traded blows, but in the final battle the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider held the advantage.
Mossey held off Hopkins to claim third, becoming the tenth different rider to claim a podium finish this season with Peter Hickman closing on the leading quartet to score fifth position from Richard Cooper on the Buildbase BMW.
Race two saw conditions completely change and Be Wiser Ducati’s Byrne bounced back from his crash in the opening race to claim victory, scything his way through the pack before an intense scrap at the front.
Linfoot had initially hit the front ahead of Hopkins, but the positions rapidly changed as Hickman and Haslam moved ahead of the American.
Hickman was hounding Linfoot and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider pulled a move at the Hairpin to take the lead. Linfoot instantly responded, repaying the move to head back into the lead.
As Linfoot and Hickman diced at the front, race one winner Haslam and Byrne had moved into third and fourth respectively and soon the ‘Pocket Rocket’ was trading blows with his team-mate ahead of him. Haslam first moved ahead of Hickman at the Hairpin with Byrne following him.
Byrne then pulled a pass on championship leader Haslam, moving into second before both Byrne and Haslam took advantage of a mistake by Linfoot when he ran wide, pushing the Honda Racing rider back into third.
Haslam then claimed the lead from Byrne and the leading two riders in the standings then diced intensely for the advantage. Linfoot wasn’t done though and he moved back to the front of the trio with a move on the 25th lap, however one lap later Byrne was back ahead.
Four-time champion Shakey then wasn’t giving an inch and he edged away as the battle for the final podium positions intensified. Linfoot stayed ahead of Haslam, but in the final three laps a hard-charging Ellison continued to move up the order, passing Haslam and then mugged Linfoot of second place at the line.
Hickman surged ahead to fourth in the closing laps ahead of O’Halloran and Haslam who dropped to sixth. Richard Cooper continued his run of strong point scoring finishes in seventh ahead of Tommy Bridewell turned his weekend around to score an eighth place for Bennetts Suzuki.
Howie Mainwaring and Christian Iddon completed the top ten, but it was disappointment for John Hopkins and Glenn Irwin who both crashed out unhurt.
Josh Hook made his BSB debut with Team WD-40 and carded 18th and 16th place finishes from the two races and is expected to also race with the team at Snetteron in a fortnight’s time.
Billy McConnell had a disastrous weekend failing to finish either of the Superbike bouts.
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) – Race one winner
“We’ve extended the Championship lead over this weekend, but for me it should have been a very easy second win. With ten to 12 laps to go I couldn’t see anything I dropped nearly three to four seconds a lap at the end, it wasn’t anything to do with the bike it was purely because I couldn’t see. “I felt good, I felt the pace I had at the front I could have gone quicker at any point but I just couldn’t see. I’m feeling pretty confident heading into Snetterton, I have a test in between in Japan but we will take the positives from this weekend.”
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) – Race two winner
“It was a difficult second race to be honest. Before we started one of my mechanics said to me it is a long race and you are starting from the fourth row, there are a lot of chances for things to go wrong! I got to second quite quickly, then I got in the lead and then Leon [Haslam] came passed me. I followed him for a bit and I felt quite happy there for a bit, then Dan [Linfoot] came passed and I thought ‘this isn’t in the plan I don’t want to go backwards! I got to the front, I had a few little issues to deal with and made a few mistakes and with all the work that I gave the Be Wiser Ducati team this weekend they deserved that win. I had two crashes this weekend and that isn’t like me, so thanks to them – it is onwards and upwards now!”
Josh Hook – P18 and P16
“I had a good introduction to British Superbike Championship this weekend in Knock Hill thanks to Team WD-40 . I loved how competitive the championship is and can’t wait to come back in 2 weeks time for Snetterton race. Team WD-40 is working really hard and are doing a great job to get the bike working best for me as well as me adapting to the UK style tracks, it won’t happen over night but the results will come.Just keep chipp’n ….”
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BSB 2016 – Round Four – Knockhill – Superbike Championship Standings
- LEON HASLAM JG SPEEDFIT KAWASAKI 128
- SHANE BYRNE BE WISER DUCATI 115
- CHRISTIAN IDDON TYCO BMW 94
- RICHARD COOPER BUILDBASE BMW 93
- JAMES ELLISON JG SPEEDFIT KAWASAKI 89
- JASON O’HALLORAN HONDA RACING 80
- MICHAEL LAVERTY TYCO BMW 74
- PETER HICKMAN JG SPEEDFIT KAWASAKI 74
- DAN LINFOOT HONDA RACING 71
- LUKE MOSSEY QUATTRO PLANT KAWASAKI 56
Australian Ben Currie took his second win of the season, in difficult wet conditions in the Dickies British Supersport Championship sprint race at Knockhill.
Currie took the lead on half race distance from James Westmoreland, and pulled a gap on the Yorkshireman. The Pacedayz Yamaha rider controlled the race from the front, taking the flag and his second win of the season.
The race started in very wet conditions, but by the end the track had dried.
In the second Supersport race of the weekend Currie had to settle for fourth while Taz Mackenzie took his first win of the 2016 Dickies British Supersport season, in very wet conditions at the Knockhill circuit.
Mackenzie got a great start and led from lap one, pulling a gap on Luke Jones in second place. Mackenzie controlled the race and kept the gap to Jones to around 3 seconds, comfortably crossing the line ahead of Jones and James Westmoreland who finishes third, and further extends his championship lead to 22 points over Andy Reid.
Mackenzie may have been buoyed by his fanfare from a local piper as he awaited the race start on the grid with his famous father and local legend, Niall watching on!
British Superstock 600
Northern Irishman Carl Phillips extends his title lead after taking his second win of the season in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship. Pole sitter Keenan Armstrong got the holeshot, but Phillips battled his way forward to take the lead. The rain then started to fall which brought out the red flag at two thirds distance. Lewis Rollo took second with Doncaster based Keenan Armstrong in third.