BSB: Rider of the Year: Second

Published: 27 December 2016

MCN’s Sports Desk rank the five riders who have impressed them most in the MCE British Superbike Championship during the 2017 season. 

Number 2 – Leon Haslam

Best result: 1st (x9)
Wins: 9
Podiums: 15
Championship position: 2nd

We couldn’t have asked for much more than Leon Haslam gave as he returned to the MCE British Superbike Championship from the world stage this year.

The tenacious former WSB runner-up fought tooth and nail for the title this year, missing out by just a whisper. In fact, he was cruelly denied the opportunity to fight for the title in a disastrous weekend for his JG Speedfit Kawasaki team in the final round at Brands Hatch, starting with a number of electronic issues on Friday before his handlebar snapped off in qualifying ahead of the first race.

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The thing that impressed me most about Haslam this year, was even though he wasn’t 100% happy with his JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10R, when it began to look as though Shane Byrne would run away with the title, Haslam came back at him with tremendous force.

An incredible run of seven podiums formed of three second places on the bounce before four wins in a row, including his absolute domination of the Oulton Park triple header, catapulted himself into the mix.

I’d say just one thing cost Haslam the title this year and it wasn’t the difficult weekend at Brands. He already headed into the final round with a mountain to climb after handing Byrne a good chunk of points by falling in pursuit of his rival at Donington Park. Haslam admits himself he should have settled for second, and if he had 2016 could have ended in a very different way.  

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