Team Green Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam has ridden through the pain barrier to take a heroic Suzuka 8 Hour podium finish, after spending the majority of the endurance race riding solo for the factory team thanks to his status as the squad’s fastest rider.
The MCE British Superbike regular completed five of the race’s eight hours on his own, completing 140 of the team’s 215 laps en route to second place – a move that he suffered for at the end of the race, missing out on the post-race press conference as he underwent medical treatment for dehydration.
The double winner admitted afterwards, too, that the decision to take on so much of the work (including finishing the race off with a two-hour double run) wasn’t his brightest decision!
“Five stints sounded like a good idea before we started, but it definitely made it the hardest 8 Hour that I’ve ever done! I’m so happy to get second again for Team Green, though, and to have been on the same amount of laps as the factory Yamaha boys means I’m over the moon.
“I wasn’t dizzy or fatigued in any way, but I was cramping up on the bike. Every year I’ve done it, I get cramp when I stop, but when you’re doing five stints and one back to back it happens on the bike too. Even my stomach muscles and my throat was cramping up, and it was nice to get a drip and some medicine after the race to help with it.”
However, the punishment isn’t yet over for Haslam, who flies home to the UK today and goes straight from the airport to a test with his JG Speedfit Bournemouth Kawasaki squad at Cadwell before this weekend’s Thruxton BSB round.