The final round of the Bennetts British Superbikes series ended with the championship title going to Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawsaki) for the first time. It was a well-deserved win for the son of Ron “Rocket” Haslam – after achieving many wins throughout the season, netting the title during the end of season ‘Showdown’ period with two races of the Triple Header weekend to spare is a just reward for Leon and his team’s hard work and effort in 2018.
Meanwhile, while Haslam junior scooped the headlines at the end of Saturday’s (13 October) dry Race 1, there had been some cracking race action going on in front of Leon, who finished sixth. Of the five top finishers, there were four makes of bike ahead of Leon, these being Ducati, Yamaha, BMW and another Kawasaki.
Six riders of Evotech Performance supported teams completed in the top ten results, four inside the top five. Highest placed of these was Glenn Irwin of Be Wiser Ducati. Glenn rode a magnificent race to finish in first place. Meanwhile, not far behind in fourth was Glenn’s younger brother Andrew, also on a Be Wiser Ducati. Tarran Mackenzie split the two brothers by placing his McAMS Yamaha R1 to a hard fought third place. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) managed to hold off Haslam to finish fifth.
Sunday materialised complete with rain and cold tarmac. If the conditions didn’t warn anyone of how tough the racing would be then Tarran Mackenzie crashing out during morning warm-up should have. Tarran was battered but walking, unlike his McAMS Yamaha, which was savagely clattered. A decision was made for Tarran to sit out the rest of the day, leaving fellow McAMS rider Josh Brookes to battle it out on his own.
Race 2 started and quickly turned into a race of survival. The conditions had got no better by the time the lights went out and, unfortunately, there were many fallers. It got so bad that former rider and now race commentator Jamie Whitham was moved to say on live TV: “There’s gonna be nobody left!”
Of the riders that remained upright, there was plenty of bin-or-win, heart-stopping action. Although already crowned BSB champion, Haslam took no prisoners and crossed the finish line with yet another win in 2018.
Brands Hatch, Race 2 result:
1) Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
2) Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati)
3) Jason O'Halloran (Honda Racing
4) Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki)
5) Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW)
6) Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
7) Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
8) Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki)
9) Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha)
10) Josh Elliot (OMG Suzuki)
Race 3 was more like a race of the fittest following Race 2’s crashfest. But those riders involved were intent on achieving the best result they could in the wet conditions. While not a surprise to those that know him, Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki) scored his first BSB win to produce a beaming smile that could have been mistaken for sunlight. Christian Iddon on the Evotech Performance supported Tyco BMW Motorrad eventually rolled into pit lane with a fine fourth place. Josh Brookes followed in fifth. Leon Haslam, quite rightly, made a mental decision to play safe and took his second sixth place of the weekend.
Brands Hatch, Race 3 result:
1) Richard Cooper (Buildbase Suzuki)
2) Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati)
3) Jake Dixon GBR (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki)
4) Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad)
5) Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha)
6) Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
7) Gino Rea (Suzuki - OMG Racing UK LTD)
8) Jason O'Halloran (Honda Racing)
9) Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
10) Sylvain Barrier (Smiths Racing BMW)
Well done to all…
Everybody who loves bike racing will view BSB as the cream of British bike racing. While this is pretty much true, we shouldn’t forget about the seven racing classes that support BSB every weekend. For example, the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championship. These classes, as did the others, also delivered some close knit racing this year – special mention goes to Keith Farmer who won the Superstock 1000 class on an Evotech Performance supported Tyco BMW machine.
As the 2018 season rapidly draws to a close, we here at Evotech Performance would like to say thank you to everyone involved with motorcycle racing. From Minimoto to club level to National Supersport to Classic Racing to MotoGP and those in-between, for all the thrills and the smiles you have given us. And not just the riders, but the team staff, the tea makers and the trackside marshals… We hope to see you all again in 2019.