This weekend (28th to 30th September) the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team make their annual overseas visit to Assen, Holland for the penultimate round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
With a 31-point championship lead and a great track record at the historic 2.8-mile circuit, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ Leon Haslam is eager to get going during this weekend’s double at the European track dubbed ‘The Cathedral’.
Leon, who secured a third and second during the first showdown round at Oulton Park recently, is keen to get back on the top step this weekend ahead of the final round at Brands Hatch in October.
Teammate Luke Mossey, who is currently in 16th place in the championship, is aiming to shake things up this weekend by claiming podium places and disrupting the showdown hopefuls.
Luke, who’s had a mixed season so far, has often found himself stuck in the middle of the pack, but is hoping to turn things around and end the championship on a high.
Racing for Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki in the Hyundai Construction Equipment British Sidecar Championship races, Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood are raring to get back on the track after a challenging round at Cadwell Park in August.
The pair, who are currently in fourth place in the main championship but second in the F600 after eight rounds, were involved in a clash with regular rivals and sparring partners Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson during race one.
Thankfully, in the closing stages of race two they managed to secure fifth place overall after starting from the back of the grid.
Leon Haslam said: “The Showdown so far is going really well and Assen is one of my favourite circuits. It’s an old World Superbike track so I’ve probably done more there than most of the British circuits. In the last two years we’ve managed three out of four wins there, so confidence is high.
“The racing is always so close (at Assen) with last-lap battles and the famous last chicane. The circuit itself has a lot of history for my family and I’ve had some fantastic battles there in World British Superbikes, so I can’t wait.
“I want to get going now and get another couple of wins, so we can go into Brands with a bit more of a lead.”
Luke Mossey said: “We’ve enjoyed good results at the TT Circuit Assen in the past, as the track really suits my riding style. It’s the only opportunity we get in BSB to compete outside the UK and I always look forward to it.
“I was really pleased with the last round; we qualified on the front row and it was good to be back in the mix. I’m determined to get on the podium before the end of this season. I know what I can do on the bike and although it’s been frustrating, I’ve got to put it behind me.
“I have nothing to lose. I’m aiming now to be a Showdown spoiler – I want a trophy so I can finish the season on a high and start preparing for 2019.”
Ricky Stevens said: “We’ve been busy working on repairing the bike following our clash with another outfit during the first Cadwell race. As well as buying new fairings we’ve also had to replace the engine after an issue came to light during FP1.
“Despite the extra expense we’re in high spirits and have been training hard in the interim to make sure we’re ready to bring our best to the Assen circuit.
“The Dutch love sidecar racing and we’re looking forward to competing against some of their wildcard entries this weekend.
“With the end of the season in sight we’re aiming to claim some more podiums so we can finish on a high before we turn our focus to 2019.”
Team Manager Jack Valentine added: “We head to Assen with a 31-point lead for Leon Haslam in the championship but know only too well it’s going to be a real battle at the famous ‘Cathedral of Speed’ circuit.
“Leon really enjoys the circuit as he knows it well and should be looking to gain points on the title challengers ahead of the finale at Brands Hatch in October.
“Luke is still regaining form and we hope he will be at the sharp end and hopefully taking points away from some of the showdown runners and backing Leon up in the races.”
To keep up to date with the latest news from JG Speedfit Kawasaki you can follow the team on Facebook @JGSpeedfitBournemouthKawasaki and on Twitter @JGSpeedfitKawa or visit the website www.jgspeedfitkawasaki.co.uk