Round Eight – Cadwell Park
Haslam’s tactics questioned
Josh Brookes suffers technical DNF in R2
Images by David Yeomans
Cadwell Park has crowned Leon Haslam King of the Mountain, after taking the two race wins over the weekend, despite stiff competition from both Jake Dixon and Bradley ray across the two races.
Bradley Ray took the two runner up positions across both races, while Jake Dixon was third in both, after a last lap push in Race 2 saw Haslam close the door, leaving him nowhere to go.
The weekend’s performances has seen both Haslam and Dixon become the first riders to have their places confirmed in the Showdown ahead of the top six decider at Silverstone.
In the opening race of the day at the challenging Lincolnshire circuit, Haslam held off the challenge from Ray to cross the finish line ahead by just 0.117s with Dixon snatching a podium finish on the final lap.
At the start of the race Haslam had grabbed the initial lead at the start of the race from Ray and Dixon with Glenn Irwin and Danny Buchan tucked in behind and it wasn’t until the third lap that the Buildbase Suzuki rider could make a move to hit the front of the pack.
Ray was then leading Haslam and Buchan who was bidding to make a move, but the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider made a costly mistake at the bottom of the Mountain on the third lap to crash out of contention unhurt and drop him outside of the top six in the standings.
Ray was still leading the pack when the BMW Safety Car was deployed when Chrissy Rouse crashed through Hall Bends and when the race resumed he headed the pack from Haslam, Glenn Irwin, Tommy Bridewell, Dixon and Christian Iddon.
Dixon was on a charge and he made a move on Bridewell to move into fourth with Iddon also following in his wheel tracks as the Moto Rapido Ducati rider edged wide. Ray held the advantage at the front until lap 14 when Haslam gunned the JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead at Park, but he went wide and Ray reclaimed the position.
Two laps later and Haslam repeated the move and made it stick and then was defending hard until the finish to continue his winning form at the Lincolnshire circuit with Ray returning to the podium for the first time since Brands Hatch.
Dixon though was desperate to make a podium and after some moments where he ran wide and saved it, he was stalking Glenn Irwin throughout the final lap and made a decisive move into Barn on the final lap to snatch the final podium position.
Glenn Irwin was forced to settle for fourth place ahead of Bridewell who improved on his best result with the Moto Rapido Ducati team in fifth ahead of Iddon and Peter Hickman. Tarran Mackenzie led the McAMS Yamaha team in eighth ahead of James Ellison and Josh Brookes.
British Superbike Championship, Cadwell Park, Race 1
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.117s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.890s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.013s
- Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati) +1.247s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +5.985s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +6.168s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +6.715s
- James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +6.934s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +7.567s
…13. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +15.296
In race two the rivalry continued between the leading trio with the fight for the podium places going down to the wire on the final lap.
Ray had got the holeshot off the line from Haslam, Dixon and Glenn Irwin on the opening lap with Hickman and Brookes giving chase, but Bridewell was making moves to fight through the pack and he was soon up to fifth.
Bridewell then made a move on Glenn Irwin on the brakes at Park and that put him into fourth but the Moto Rapido Ducati had his progression curtailed when he crashed out unhurt at Barn on lap six. Tarran Mackenzie was another rider to end his race prematurely when he slid out at Charlies four laps later.
At the front Ray was holding off Haslam as the pair were too close to call, but the championship leader was hunting and he moved into the lead on lap 12 with a move down the inside on the brakes at Park. At the same time Dixon was able to take advantage too which pushed Ray back into third as the leading trio had edged ahead.
A lap later and Dixon grabbed the lead from Haslam, but on the penultimate lap the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider went for the counter attack and he regained the lead at Park.
Haslam crossed the line with a 5.091s lead after Dixon’s error with Ray claiming second and Dixon third with Hickman maintaining his position in the top six in the standings with a strong fourth place on the Smiths Racing BMW, holding off Glenn Irwin.
Leon Haslam 1-1
“I wouldn’t say today has been easy! Honestly we was really struggling to make the pass on Brad in the first race. I felt I had thepace and I could drop back and catch him comfortably on each lap, but to make the pass was another story. I had an engine blip on me again like I had at Oulton and it was giving me that thing that I was going to hit him or I had to lunge through, so I had to lunge through – a little bit last minute but I felt super-happy. I knew the attack was coming in the second race, it was one of them! I felt really comfortable when I was behind Jake but when I was in front it was hard to push. When you’re in front you set yourself up for a manoeuvre that way and I kind-of thought I’d timed it right and I got a really bad run on that last lap going onto the straight and I knew he was going to have a go. I tried to squeeze him and go as late as I could and luckily it worked out in my favour. It was a really good battle and I’m over the moon so thanks to the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team.”
Quicker along the back straight, Dixon had pulled out of the slipstream in the last lap only for Haslam to defend the corner and with nowhere to go, Jake had to let the brakes off and run wide, taking to the grass as a result. By the time he rejoined the track, he’d dropped back to third but it gave him his tenth rostrum to add another podium credit to his total and keep him well in contention for this year’s BSB title.
“With two podiums from the two races, it’s been a good weekend although I am slightly disappointed not to have taken at least one of the race wins. I made it hard work for myself in race one and made a few big mistakes when I was trying to move forward. I felt I had the pace to win but was riding a bit erratic in my eagerness to get up to the front so I had a few mixed feelings after finishing third. I tidied up a lot for race two and felt really comfortable when I was sitting in third so moved up into the lead when I felt the time was right. I didn’t panic when Leon came by me as I felt I had the better of him down the straight. When I tried to get by him though, there wasn’t enough room as he closed the gap a little bit harshly on me, in my opinion. I didn’t really have anywhere to go so I was a bit miffed with third but overall we’ve done a good job this weekend and the whole team was fantastic and I can’t wait for the next round.”
Glenn Irwin 4-5
“The two races were tough today but given where I was on Friday morning with the injury, I’m reasonably pleased with fourth and fifth. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay in the mix for the entire race distance, but I was able to do that although I threw away the podium in race one when I left the door open on the last lap. I was struggling a bit with my shoulder for the last few laps, but it was my own mistake that cost me third place. In race two I gave it my best, but I felt very weak from about mid-race distance. I tried everything I could to improve my position, but I had to settle for fifth and so apologies to the team as it was a silly crash on Friday and one that cost us a good chance of a podium this weekend.”
Peter Hickman 7-4
“It’s been a pretty good weekend and although we’re still struggling a bit with grip and I’m still a long way short of being at full fitness, fourth and seventh place finishes are a pretty good set of results especially as I’ve now moved into sixth place overall and into one of the Showdown positions. Race one wasn’t too bad as the safety car period gave me a bit of a breather but the second felt more like two races and at half race distance I was beginning to flag a little. It was hard to keep my concentration, so I just tried to stay relaxed and hit all my markers. I kept fourth place until the end and now I’m in the top six, I’ll be doing everything I can to stay there.”
Iddon and Laverty held sixth and seventh place respectively for the Tyco BMW team with Buchan keeping his Showdown hopes alive with an eighth place ahead of Richard Cooper and Luke Mossey, pushing Jason O’Halloran just outside the top ten.
Brookes had been running inside the top six on the leading McAMS Yamaha but the 2015 champion was forced to retire with a technical problem.
Josh Brookes 10-DNF
“This hasn’t been a great weekend, we’ve been playing catch up all the way through and we obviously should have been stronger in race one. After some changes in the break the bike felt more my own and we were turning in fast laps and battling hard but then disaster.”
It was a difficult weekend for Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran, as the team struggled to find form across all sessions at the challenging and technical 2.18-mile circuit. However there are positives to take away from the weekend with Jason O’Halloran fighting in the top-ten in race one, still recovering from his ankle injury and eventually taking a 13-11 result for the weekend.
Jason O’Halloran 13-11
“It’s been a really tough weekend for us here at Cadwell and I have never struggled so much here in my whole racing career, I don’t know what we were missing or where it went wrong but it’s just been really, really tough all weekend. We missed the mark with it and it’s a hard place to ride when you’re not struggling and to ride with things not 100% it’s even tougher. I’m devastated with today, normally this is a really good track for me and I was just riding around then, I wasn’t even racing, we’ve got to leave here, pick our heads up and look towards Silverstone which is a completely different track and should hopefully suit us a little bit better.”
The Championship now looks ahead to Silverstone, where the six Title Fighters will be decided ahead of the final three-round Showdown to fight for the 2018 British Superbike Championship title.
British Superbike Championship, Cadwell Park, Race 2
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +5.091s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +7.197s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +8.383s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +8.878s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +9.681s
- Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +11.750s
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +11.900s
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) +19.582s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +19.766s
…11. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +30.640
DNF – Josh Brookes
British Superbike Championship standings after Cadwell Park
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 330
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 230
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 187
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 174
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 159
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 126