It was a strong weekend for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team, claiming their first ever MCE British Superbike Championship 1-2 finish in the opening race before a further podium in the second outing gave Leon Haslam the series lead.
Using the practice sessions to dial the JG Speedfit Kawasaki machines into the short 1.2 mile long circuit, all three riders impressed with James Ellison topping the final practice session, as Leon Haslam logged tenth following a heavy crash at Clearways and Peter Hickman in 11th. Continuing their form into qualifying, James missed out on pole position by just 0.028s whilst Leon secured seventh and Peter tenth.
With the predicted wet weather failing to materialise for race day, the opening outing was a scintillating encounter. Grabbing the holeshot, Ellison ran at the front for the majority of the race in an almost carbon copy of the 2015 event. Running in sixth for the opening half of the race, Leon then began carving his way through the field to be in third at the start of the final lap. Swiftly moving past Bridewell, he followed James into the final corner and was able to just draft past him at the line to claim his second win of the season by 0.057s to secure the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team’s first ever 1-2 finish. Similarly, Peter was able to work through the pack from his fourth row start to claim seventh place at the flag.
Ellison again started from the front row for race two whilst Leon and Peter moved forward to sixth and seventh respectively. All three enjoyed strong starts to the race, and things were shaping up to be a repeat of the opening encounter however disaster struck on lap 15 when an electrical fault forced James out of the lead. Unable to find the same grip from the earlier race, Leon still secured another podium finish with a third place, giving him the series lead. Another good race from Peter saw him claim eighth place at the line.
The GBmoto Racing run team now head back to their workshop before leaving for the Isle of Man TT on Thursday.
New MCE British Superbike Championship leader Leon Haslam said, “After the crash on Saturday, I would take a win and a third place all day! The bike felt really good in both races - I actually felt comfier in the second outing but I just didn’t have the same grip so couldn’t go with the two front guys. I’ve never won at the Indy track before, coming here it was probably the circuit I was dreading the most so to walk away with two trophies and the series lead is brilliant and sets us up for the rest of the season.
We move onto Knockhill next which is a circuit I enjoy and one that I’ve had some good results at before so I’m looking forward to going there – like here, the short nature means it’s going to be a scrap but hopefully we can continue this form.
Disappointed to be forced out of the second race, James Ellison said “I honestly don’t know what to say! That first race was good and I felt strong so to just miss out like that is gutting – but it’s great to see the team up here claiming our first one-two and it shows the strength of the package we have. In the second race, I was feeling good again and although it was closer at the front I thought we could win but an electrical fault robbed us of the chance.
It’s a long championship though and we’ve now got a setting with the bike that I feel real comfortable with. We know what we’re capable of so we’ll regroup and come out ready to challenge for further podiums at Knockhill”
Having set a new personal best around the Indy circuit, Peter Hickman said “I’m really happy with today. The shorter Indy track has never been one of my favourites so walking away with two top eight places is fantastic – if you had told me that at the start of the weekend I would have taken it. We made some changes to the bike ahead of race two which was a definite improvement so we know what direction we need to go with on the bike at Knockhill too.
We now have a few days to rest before heading to the Isle of Man, which couldn’t be any further from this weekend!”
GBmoto Racing Team Principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen concluded, “What a fantastic weekend for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team! All three riders have proved how competitive they are and we leave here with further trophies as well as the Championship lead. I’m absolutely crushed that a very small electrical problem ruled James out of what certainly could have been a race winning ride but we know what he can do and I’m sure we’ll see him bounce back at Knockhill.
The highlight of the weekend though has to be Leon’s performance in both races which has seen us propelled to the top of the standings. It’s been incredibly close again today and it’s still all to play for, for all three riders, so I look forward to heading north and seeing what Scotland brings!”