BSB Rider of the Year: 2nd - Leon Haslam
After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.
And with this year’s BSB championship closer than ever, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think - but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
2nd: Leon Haslam
There was some serious debate among the MCN team as to whether to place Haslam second or first in this year’s rankings. 2017 was undoubtedly one of his best seasons yet.
Despite one of the closest seasons in history with the series’ top four separated by just 14 points ahead of the Showdown, two rounds on Haslam had built a whopping 33-point lead over his closest title rivals.
He’d fought back from adversity too, having broken several vertebrae in a terrifying crash at Knockhill which he reckoned was the fastest highside he’s ever had.
While Haslam would have been a worthy winner of the 2017 crown, he ultimately won one less race and had fewer podiums than rival Byrne, the eventual winner.
Had he not suffered brake failure in the final race of the year, Haslam and Byrne would have fought it out until the bitter end for the crown and in that sense fans were robbed of a titanic battle.
However, Haslam created the biggest talking point of the season when, with freshly broken ankle and wrist, he demanded to be taken to the grid to congratulate his rival before receiving any medical attention. A moment that will be remembered in the sport’s history.