Published: 08:13, 15 October 2018
| Updated: 08:18, 15 October 2018
By Sandy Burr
Leon Haslam clinched the British Superbike Championship title at Brands Hatch with two races to spare.
Fourteen points was all JG Speedfit’s Kawasaki rider needed from the Showdown Weekend to secure the 2018 championship and a sixth place finish in race one on Saturday was good enough.
He had gone into the weekend with a sizeable gap from Kent’s Jake Dixon and having thrown away a title chance the previous year, he did the business this time around.
Dixon had secured pole for the opening race but it was Glen Irwin - third in the championship standings - who took advantage at the start, from Dixon and Tarran Mackenzie.
Irwin took the race one victory, with Dixon securing second position and Mackenzie third. Haslam crossed the line in sixth place which was enough to claim the championship crown.
He celebrated the title with a thrilling win in a wet race two, on the Sunday.
Dixon secured pole position again with Haslam sitting comfortably on row two in fifth position.
Right from the start, the race turned into a dog fight with Haslam, Tommy Bridewell and Jason O’Halloran. The tricky conditions led the way for constant overtaking at every opportunity between the three.
Dixon went down in the pack at two thirds race distance and not being able to take advantage of pole.
Haslam managed to pull away and gain a two second lead in lap 19 of 20 to take the chequered flag, a first at Brands Hatch for JG Speedfit.
There was more wet and dismal weather for race three. Richard Cooper took the chequered flag seven seconds ahead of second placed Tommy Bridewell. Dixon crossed the line in third place, 11 seconds behind the winner.
Cooper had taken the bull by the horns from the start, surging forwards from the pack to take the lead. By lap three he had gained a 2.66 advantage over Tommy Bridewell.
Cooper continued to extend his lead and by midway through the race he and Bridewell had opened a five second lead over the chasing pack, headed by Dixon. With the weather conditions so bad, riders seemed content with their positions in the last remaining laps. Brookes had a late push to pass Haslam, securing fifth place, his best finish of the weekend.
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