Shakey and Haslam take a win each at a packed Cadwell Park
Shane 'Shakey' Byrne claimed the opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race win at Cadwell Park, forcing his way through on Leon Haslam at Chris Curve on the final lap to emerge victorious by just 0.272s.
Byrne had initially hit the lead on the opening lap but only marginally from Haslam with Richard Cooper and Jason O'Halloran tucked in behind. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider wasn’t prepared to sit in second place though and made a dive down the inside at Park to take the lead on lap one.
The battle for third was intense between Cooper and O’Halloran and on the third lap the pair traded places three times before the Honda Racing rider emerged ahead. The Australian then had his sights set on the pair ahead and he hunted them as he bid for a podium finish at the team’s home round.
Lee Jackson was running inside the top six when he crashed out unhurt at Charlies, but at the front Haslam had a moment which dropped him back behind Byrne and O’Halloran. He was soon fighting back though and moved back into second just two laps later.
Dan Linfoot had his race ended prematurely when he crashed out at the Chicane unhurt, losing ground in the battle for the top six in the Showdown as the chasing pack bid to catch up ahead of the Oulton Park decider.
Tommy Bridewell was carving his way through the field and by the end of lap eight he had made a move on Cooper with a decisive move through Hall Bends.
Haslam regained the lead on the ninth lap and he held the advantage from Byrne and a gaining O’Halloran, but the championship leader was pushing to make a move. He waited until the final lap and made a lunge down the inside at Chris Curve which was enough to move to the front and then fend off the counter attack until the finish. O’Halloran scored a podium finish at his local round after defending hard against Bennetts Suzuki’s Bridewell.
Glenn Irwin had another strong performance to finish in fifth place ahead of James Ellison and JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate Peter Hickman with Cooper dropping to eighth at the chequered flag.
Rookie Jake Dixon was back inside the top ten, forging ahead of Michael Laverty on the sole Tyco BMW after Christian Iddon crashed out unhurt at the top of the Mountain.
Leon Haslam was crowned the Monster Energy King of the Mountain at Cadwell Park after delivering a determined race two victory to equal the score with race one winner Shane 'Shakey' Byrne. Jason O'Halloran doubled up on podium finishes putting all three as confirmed Showdown contenders ahead of the Oulton Park decider. O’Halloran had fired off the start line to lead the pack for the first time from Byrne and Haslam in close contention with the pair forcing him back to third in the early part of the lap, but the Nissan GT-R Safety Car was deployed when Howie Mainwaring and Fillip Backlund crashed out at Coppice, although both riders were able to walk away. When the race resumed on the fourth lap Haslam instantly attacked arch rival Byrne, but the Be Wiser Ducati in true gritty style was straight back underneath him to retake the position. A lap later and Haslam again regained the lead and Byrne made a mistake which allowed O’Halloran to move back into second as the trio diced frantically at the front.
Haslam was on a charge and he continued to push at the front despite the pressure from O’Halloran and Byrne with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider saving his best until last to edge a two second gap over the final laps. O’Halloran was fending off Byrne and despite a huge moment on the exit of Barn with three laps to go, he was able to keep the championship leader behind him to celebrate a double podium finish for the Honda Racing team. JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Peter Hickman pushed through the order to claim a strong fourth place at his home round after getting the better of Bennetts Suzuki’s Tommy Bridewell who again closed down on the top six with a fifth place. Dan Linfoot bounced back from his race one crash to claim sixth place to maintain his position in the top six ahead of Oulton Park with Glenn Irwin again in the top ten on the second Be Wiser Ducati in seventh place, holding off James Ellison. Luke Mossey and Jake Dixon completed the top ten with the focus now moving to Oulton Park on two weeks’ time for the Showdown decider.