Thruxton hosted the 7th round of the Bennets British Superbike Championship as JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam looked to extend his title advantage around the Hampshire circuit.
Originally a World War II army base, Thruxton race circuit is one of the fastest tracks on the current British Superbike calendar. The 2.3Mile long circuit has fast straights, sharp bends, and the always entertaining final chicane where anyone can win or lose the race.
6x British Superbike champion Shane Byrne holds the record with 8 wins around the Thruxton circuit with Brookes in second on 7 wins, could that change at round 7?
The weekend kicked off in glorious conditions with the Smiths Racing BMW taking the top spot in both FP1 and FP2 at the track ‘Hicky’ bagged his latest win 12months ago.
Bradley Ray was hot on the heels of Hickman in FP1 with Josh Brookes fresh from his double at Brands Hatch 2 weeks ago in third.
Championship leader Leon Haslam seemed to struggle on day 1 with the Pocket Rocket languishing down in P11 in FP1 but jumped up to P4 in the final session of the opening day.
Glenn Irwin ended the day in P2 despite Bradley Ray’s earlier performance as the irishman ended the day 0.053s clear of Jake Dixon.
Qualifying kicked off at Thruxton with the sun beating down on the Hampshire countryside.
It was a good day for Paul Bird and the Irwin brothers, as Glenn lined up on pole and Andrew in 3rd, with Luke Mossey lining up between them in 2nd.
The second row was headed by Josh Brookes who was joined by Buildbase Suzuki Bradley Ray and RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki, Jake Dixon.
Leon Haslam could only manage a third row start as the second JG Speedfit Kawsaki would start behind Iddon in 7th and 8th position ahead of Knockhill double podium finisher, Danny Buchan.
Jason O’Halloran qualified in 10th with the fastest man on Friday Peter Hickman managing 11th despite being seriously sick. The pair lined up ahead of Tommy Bridewell who also had a strong day 1.
With the grid set, it was unclear as for who will be in the mix for victory with so many riders having a very strong pace.
Sunday kicked off in a bad way with the news of Peter Hickman being rushed into hospital during the early hours of Sunday morning, the Smiths BMW rider announced that he would miss warm-up but would try to return to the track to take part in the two races. Hickman later was diagnosed with a Kidney infection.
Race 1 kicked off and it was Luke Mossey who grabbed the wholeshot into turn 1 leading McAMS Yamaha Josh Brookes as the pack headed towards the chicane of turn 3 and 4.
With Mossey pulling away at the front it left Dixon to fight the PBM Ducati’s of Andrew Irwin who had got the better of his brother Glenn on the opening few laps.
Bradley Ray’s race would end early after the Milky Bar Kid tucked the front of his Suzuki taking down Buchan and Laverty who had made a good start from 19th on the grid.
A few laps later Andrew Irwin suffered a huge highside on the exit of turn 4 but luckily escaped un-injured despite hitting the tarmac hard.
With one JG Speedfit Kawasaki at the front, the other was picking the other riders off as Leon Haslam moved up into the podium positions and left to fight with Jake Dixon in a battle that went on for a good few laps of the 20 lap race.
Honda Racing’s Tom Neave who had been brought in to replace the injured Dan Linfoot tipped off the fireblade in his debut race.
Back at the front the gap was closing down with Luke Mossey falling into the clutches of teammate Leon Haslam and fellow Kawasaki of Jake Dixon, all while Brookes, O’Halloran and Hickman was all in contention of the podium. Luke Mossey was hanging in at the front but made a mistake allowing Dixon who had re-passed Leon Haslam through into the lead and was soon followed as Leon made the move on his teammate into the final corner.
Josh Brookes, O’Halloran, Irwin and Hickman then all made the pass on the Cambridge rider leaving Mossey to settle for 7th.
Leon Haslam made the race winning pass on Jake Dixon whilst Brookes dived up the inside of the sole Honda forcing both himself and O’Halloran off the track with a sneaky Hickman passing both to the line to take 3rd place.
Leon Haslam took his first ever win at the Hampshire circuit with Dixon a close second and Hickman from Hospital to 3rd.
Luke Mossey started race 2 from pole position ahead of Leon Haslam and Jake Dixon.
Jake Dixon got a lightning start from 3rd as he swooped ahead of both JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s who had also been passed by Brookes who headed the 2nd row.
Leon Haslam then made the pass on Brookes into the final chicane whilst his teammate Mossey was picked up by Tarran Mackenzie and forced to run across the chicane getting himself a 2.1 second penalty for exceding track limits.
Brookes then repaid Haslam with a brave move into Church but was once again passed by Haslam with the help of the slipstream as they approached the Club chicane.
That then left Brookes to fend of fellow Australian Jason O’Halloran as the pair battled for half a lap allowing Hickman to take advantage, but the McAMS Yamaha was soon back into 2nd place and started hunting down the Kawasaki of Jake Dixon.
Brookes then snatched the lead at Cobb corner with a beautiful switch on Jake Dixon but Jake defended hard but couldn’t hold off Brookes.
Hickman then moved into 2nd place as he tried to catch Brookes but missed out when the flag came out by 0.3s.
Brookes took his 8th BSB win at Thruxton with Hickman taking a double podium and Dixon in 3rd.
Race 1 winner Leon Haslam ended race 2 in 4th but did extend his lead to 82 points over Dixon.
Tarran Mackenzie finished 5th after O’Halloran was slapped with a 2.1s penalty for cutting the chicane.
The next round of the championship is at Cadwell Park, a track that once again has a mixture of fast corners, like turn one, sharp corners like the final 2 corners on the track, the fast change of direction as the bikes float through hall bends and of course, The Mountain.
Who will be King Of The Mountain in 2 weeks time? Find out here at NowMoto.
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