Leon Haslam took a hard-fought first victory of the season in today’s opening MCE British Superbike race, holding off a hard late-race charge from Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon.
It was Haslam’s JG Speedfit Kawasaki teammate who took the lead at the start of the race, bolting off the line to pull a second on his rivals in wet conditions on the first lap. Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran settled into second and third ahead of Jack Kennedy in fourth after a lightning start.
Despite a slow start, Haslam began to pick off his rivals and passed the Hondas to lead the chase on his team-mate by lap eight. However, as the former WSB star began to chase Ellison down, Dan Linfoot latched onto his tail and also closed the gap.
Haslam took the lead on lap 13 but it was short-lived as Linfoot blasted past at Hizzy’s chicane. Meanwhile, Christian Iddon reeled the pair in before drama struck as Linfoot crashed out of what looked certain to be a debut victory with two laps to go.
Linfoot’s crash enabled Iddon to close right up to Haslam and mount a victory challenge on the final lap. Despite several attempts and a close-call at Island bend, the local star was unable to prevent Haslam from taking his first win since returning to the series.
Ellison took third ahead of Honda’s Jason O’Halloran with RAF Reserves BMW’s Alastair Seeley taking a strong sixth place. Michael Laverty recovered from a dire start to take sixth place and the fastest lap, placing him on pole for the next outing.
Jack Kennedy finished seventh, ahead of four-time champion Shane Byrne who was forced to start from P18 after crashing out in qualifying.