Leon Haslam left the opening round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Showdown with a significant points advantage after taking two strong results while his rivals struggled at Oulton Park this weekend.
Heading into the round after three non-scores at Silverstone and only one race win and two podiums from the last five rounds, while Haslam was undoubtedly a title challenger money wouldn’t have been on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki star leaving the Cheshire track with a 22-point advantage over closest rival Josh Brookes.
The 34-year-old might have a strong record at Oulton, but even he didn’t expect to leave in such a strong position after the title fight looked set to ignite with the top four split by just 14 points ahead of this weekend.
However, after finishing first and second in Sunday’s two races, he now sits almost a race win ahead of Brookes and Byrne and 30 points ahead of Jake Dixon in fourth.
“It’s been a very good weekend,” smiled Haslam. “I felt confident coming here as I’ve always gone well here but I thought Josh and Shakey would be just behind me and while I thought I could take the championship lead here, I thought it would be by a few points not 22!”
It was even more surprising to see Haslam leave Oulton in such a dominant position as he was riding with a fractured elbow that he’d downplayed after his crash in the second race at Silverstone last weekend.
“To be honest the fracture was fine, it wasn’t giving me much grief but I’ve had a lot of swelling so I’ve had to undergo some quite intensive physio to get that down, but once it went down I had movement back and it was fine – the head cold I’ve had for the last week has been more of an issue!”
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