After sharing the victors' spoils with Josh Brookes at Thruxton, JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam marginally extended his lead in the championship to 82 points over Jake Dixon on the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki. Haslam now has 280 points to Dixon's 198 as the Bennetts British Superbike series heads to Lincolnshire’s Cadwell Park for round eight.
Haslam and Brookes both took one victory and one fourth place. Dixon meanwhile continued his recent good run of form, finishing in the podium places in both races, second in race one and third in race two. McAms Yamaha rider Brookes continued where he left off at Brands Hatch, taking his third win in four races. His recent run has elevated him from outside of the top six to third in the championship, 30 points behind Dixon. In the last two rounds (four races) Brookes has taken 88 points to Dixon's 62, and Haslams 70. With two rounds and five races remaining to determine who competes in the Showdown Brookes could easily finish the regular season in second place. Currently the final three Showdown places are taken by Glenn Irwin, Bradley Ray and Danny Buchan.
Ray who was the early season leader has only taken points in three from the last 8 races. After the first three rounds he had 102 points. In the four rounds since he has taken only 17 points and with Peter Hickman who currently sits in seventh place only 15 points adrift, and Danny Buchan 8 points behind in sixth, Ray is in serious danger of not making the Showdown if he doesn’t rediscover his early season form.
A combination of misfortune for Buchan and solid riding by Hickman elevated Lincolnshire based Hickman into contention for the showdown places. The new Isle of Man lap record holder had third and second place finishes at Thruxton, his first podiums of the season. With Buchan no scoring the gap between the two ahead of Hickmans home round is only seven points.
Once again dubbed the 'Party in the Park', this weekend's Cadwell round is sure to deliver spectacular action, with the highlight of the narrow parkland circuit being the ‘Mountain’. Brookes is synonymous with the infamous section of track, where riders become airborne to varying degrees. Brookes attributes his all-action style to his background in motocross where jumping is routine.
Last year it was Haslam and James Ellison who shared the spoils in terms of wins. Haslam also claimed one race win in 2016. In 2015 it was Brookes who ruled, taking both race wins in what was part of a five race winning streak on his way to the title that year. Though Haslam is very much currently in the driving seat nothing can be taken for granted . In terms of the showdown, if the status quo is maintained in terms of podium points the last three rounds could be a tense affair for the Derbyshire-based rider ahead of his return to the World stage for 2019.
With 43 podium points to date Haslam has a 23 point advantage over Dixon who has 20 . After Dixon only three points separate Brookes, Irwin and Ray. With 7 races and 175 points up for grabs in the showdown we should be in for an exciting finale to the season.
1 Leon Haslam JG Speedfit Kawasaki 280 points
2 Jake Dixon RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki 198
3 Josh Brookes McAMS Yamaha 168
4 Glenn Irwin Be Wiser Ducati 163
5 Bradley Ray Buildbase Suzuki 119
6 Danny Buchan FS-3 Racing Kawasaki 111