BSB: Leon Haslam crowned 2018 champion in opening race

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Leon Haslam has been crowned the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Champion after a dramatic opening race at Brands Hatch.

Having experienced an issue in qualifying earlier in the day, Haslam started the afternoon’s opening race from eighth on the grid and played it safe throughout, avoiding unnecessary battles as he kept an eye on rival Jake Dixon’s race position.

Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin got the better of polesitter Dixon into turn one on the opening lap to lead for the entirety of the race to take his first win of the year.

Dixon dropped back to third as the second Be Wiser Ducati of Andrew Irwin pushed on in an attempt to challenge his brother, but he’d drop back through the back to fourth in the late stages of the race.

While Dixon tried to chase Glenn Irwin down, he wasn’t quite able to meaning he’d have to settle for second with Tarran Mackenzie crossing the line third.

Peter Hickman took fifth ahead of champion Haslam, who now sits an unassailable 51 points ahead of Dixon with two races remaining.

Josh Brookes took seventh on the second McAMS Yamaha ahead of James Ellison and Danny Buchan with Michael Laverty rounding out the top ten.

Results to follow. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing