JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam was again a force to be reckoned with in 2016 British Superbike and the former Grand Prix and WorldSBK ace racked his third win of the season in what was the fourth meeting of the campaign around the speedy kinks of Knockhill in Scotland. Typically changeable and ultimately damp conditions blighted BSB and the trip north but Haslam helped served up an authentic treat in the first race that had both fans armed with umbrellas-at-the-ready and viewers through TV screens gasping for more.
The Kawasaki man duelled with Dan Linfoot for victory in a dry first affair and earned spoils by just two tenths of a second after several close exchanges on track and a brief threat from Yamaha’s John Hopkins who showed some of his most potent form of the term so far. Riders like Shane Byrne and Michael Laverty were collecting paint scrapes from other bikes in what was an action-packed outing through much of the duration.
“It is tough around here and my plan was to go hard and pull away,” Haslam said to BSBTV. “But as the race went on the lap-times were not coming as easy as they had done all weekend. I didn't want to be in a position where I didn't have anything left at the end so I tried to play it smart. Dan pushed me all the way and we made it count when we needed to.”
The generous Scottish heavens opened for the second race and created a different prospect at the Fife venue. The BSB stars had already wiped rain from their visors at Oulton Park for round two and these were familiar conditions. Linfoot was again a protagonist along with Haslam but was joined by Byrne, Hopkins and a resurgent Kawasaki duo of Peter Hickman and James Ellison. The charge for podium spots kept alternating and was difficult to predict. Byrne eventually won with Ellison sealing second spot right at the flag.
“We fought for that – like everyone else out there!” said Ellison, who was seventh in the dry opener to the programme. “I was a bit disappointed when it started to rain because we’d made some progress in race one and when our fuel load lightened. Then it rained and we knew we had a good set-up from Oulton Park and it worked out perfectly. We’re really happy.”
Team Traction Control saw James Westmoreland, who started from Pole, post a podium double with a second and a third in the Sprint and Feature races of the Supersport class as Joe Francis grabbed top five finishes on both occasions.
The fifth meeting of BSB takes place in three weeks time with the high speed of Snetterton ready for the latest chapter in one of the most-watched and competitive national superbike series in the world.