Leon Haslam took a brace of thirds to maintain the lead in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship while Ricky and Ryan claimed a third-place finish in the Hyundai Construction Equipment British Sidecar Championship, at Brands Hatch this weekend (20thto 22ndJuly).
The Derbyshire ace and team-mate Luke Mossey showed good form during the three free practice sessions, Luke topping the final one on Saturday morning, but it was Leon who was the quicker in qualifying later that afternoon with the fourth fastest time. Luke joined him on the second row in sixth place.
Sunday again brought perfect conditions around the 2.4-mile Grand Prix circuit and both riders made good starts in the first 20-lap race, Leon completing the first lap in fifth and Luke in seventh.
A lap later, Luke moved past fellow Kawasaki rider Jake Dixon into sixth and on lap three there were further changes as Leon overhauled Tarran Mackenzie for fourth.
Unfortunately, Luke crashed out heavily at Stirlings on lap nine suffering a badly bruised elbow which left Leon to fly the team’s flag and although he sat in fifth for much of the race, he moved back up to fourth on lap 14 with a good pass on Christian Iddon.
It looked like this would be where he’d finish but third placed Mackenzie crashed out on the penultimate lap promoting the 35-year old up to third where he picked up another podium credit.
The second race followed a similar pattern and although it was Josh Brookes and Glenn Irwin that ultimately contested the race win, Leon ran strongly in third place to add two more podium credits to his ever growing total.
Luke, meanwhile, battled back bravely from his high-speed crash and although 13th place wasn’t what he wanted from a weekend that promised so much, it was more points on the board for the Hertfordshire rider.
Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood were also in action in the Hyundai Construction Equipment British Sidecar Championship, where the duo took excellent third and fifth place finishes in the two races.
This also meant they were the second and third placed F600 competitors in the two races thus maintaining their second place overall in this particular championship.
Leon Haslam said: “I’m pretty happy as we made some good steps with the bike at this circuit, where we knew the Ducati and the Yamaha would be strong. To get a fastest lap and close them down from 75 per cent of the race was a step in the right direction.
“We need something more for here and it is something we need to look into for the showdown round here in October.
“We’ve extended the championship lead and gained some more podium credits which is important as this stage of the year.
“I go to Japan now, to race the Suzuka 8-hour and then I’m straight back to Thruxton.”
Luke Mossey said: “I’m disappointed with how the weekend went as I felt so good and confident on the bike during practice and qualifying.
“I was hoping to secure two strong results, but I really struggled today with grip in the hot conditions, I just couldn’t get the tyres to work with my riding style. The front end for me had the least grip and I crashed out of race one because of that.
“I am gutted as I just need some luck and a couple of strong results to give me a confidence boost. I hope at Thruxton we can start to build on something and get the results that we deserve.”
Ricky Stevens said: “We’ve made some big steps forward with the chassis this weekend and I feel like the improvements have allowed me to get my mojo back after a difficult few rounds.
“I managed a couple of manoeuvreswhich were hard but fair, but with the bike feeling better I went for the gaps and it paid off.
“Despite claiming some respectable points – which have kept us in the championship so far – our season has started now, and I’m keen to claw back some points back from the other teams and rise up the leaderboard.”
Team Manager Jack Valentine added: “From a championship point of view, it has been good for Leon, he gained two podiums and some further podium credits.
“Brands GP has never been a particularly strong track for Kawasaki but we made some good progress on the bike this weekend and we know what we need to do when we come back here in October.
“Leon rode two strong races and set some good lap times. He is doing exactly the right thing for the championship at the moment, whereby if he is unable to push for the win, he has been able to secure podium places.
“Luke was back on the pace this weekend and showed that he could put in some good lap times during the weekend.
“We just need him to work on some minor points during the practice sessions to iron out any issues he is having early on in the weekend. I am pleased to see he went out in race two with confidence, despite his crash, and we are looking forward to getting to Thruxton.”
Round 7 will take the team to Thruxton, Hampshire, for one of the fastest circuits in the championship, from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August.
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