Leon Haslam posted an impressive lap to take pole position the lap was under the lap record time he set in 2007. Shane Byrne took second place again setting a lap time under the lap record the Ducati man looking to continue his fine form that has seen him leap ahead of the field in the title hunt. The man completing the front row was Richard Cooper the Buildbase BMW rider setting an impressive time and looking very competitve on race pace his team mate Lee Jackson was also looking fast and came home in 4th place.
Race 1 :
Haslam got away well but was beaten into the first corner by Byrne Cooper slotted into third place. Haslam passed Byrne at turn 3 to re take the lead behinf them it was Cooper followed by O’Halloran Jackson and Bridewell as the riders all started to look for ways past on the tight and twisty tarmac. Haslam and Byrne had started to open a bit of a gap to the group behind, O’Halloran passed Cooper on lap 3 the austrailian looking to close the gap on Byrne and Haslam at the front setting the fastest lap in the process. Jackson crashed out on lap 4 tucking the front and destroying th bike he was fine but very annoyed.
Byrne opened a gap at the front after Haslam made a mistake falling to 3rd place behind O’Halloran allowing Byrne some breathing room. Bridewell had closed right up on the back wheel of Cooper as he was being pressured from behind by Linfoot,Ahead of them Haslam retook second place from O’Halloran as he looked to re group after his earlier mistake.
The TYCO BMW team were having another rough weekend both riders not qualifying well and not progressing much in the race the wheels seemingly well and truly falling off Laverty running in 9th with Iddon in 11th. A hard charging Linfoot made a crucial mistake clipping the curb and crashing out of the race. At the front of the race Haslam had really closed down Byrne setting a brand new lap record in the process and looking strong for the race win.
Bridewell moved into 4th place passing Cooper who didnt seem to have the same pace he showed in qualifying he seemed to be holding up Ellison and Mossey behind him, Haslam passed Byrne for the lead on lap 9 and set about opening up a gap behind them O’Halloran was having a lonely ride in 3rd place.O’Halloran looked to be closing in on the front two as did Bridewell who was setting lap times a second faster than Haslam and Byrne the pace dropped considerably when Haslam took the lead. Irwin had closed onto the back of the group that was fighting for 5th place at the same time his team mate Byrne was passed by O’Halloran after making a few un Characteristic mistakes on lap 12.
Haslam opened up a sizable gap after O’Halloran and Byrne exchanged positions, Byrne looked to have regrouped from his earlier mistakes riding right on the rear wheel of O’Halloran with Bridewell closing onto the back wheel of them both. Iddon had moved into the 10th place passing his team mate but not running at the front where both bikes had been at the start of the season.There was now a 3 way fight for the final two podium places a mistake from O’Halloran slowed himself and Byrne up allowing Bridewell to relly close the gap, Byrne moved past O’Halloran later in the lap and instantly opened up a gap and closed in on Haslam. The Battle for 5th was all change with Ellison moving to the front of the group and Irwin following him through.
In one lap Byrne closed up the gap to Haslam and was right on the rear wheel of the Kawasaki as it looked like the experienced Byrne had worked a plan to perfection. Iddon crashed out at the mountain section on lap 16 and losing out vaulable points in his hunt for the top 6.
At the front it looked like a matter of time till Byrne passed Haslam as they went onto their last lap behind them it was a real battle between Bridewell and O’Halloran for 3rd place. Byrne passed Haslam with a great move O’Halloran was holding off Bridwell for 3rd place Bryne took the win from Haslam with O’Halloran 3rd followed by Bridewell in 4th. Irwin came home an impressive 5th ahead of the Kawasaki’s of Ellison and Hickman. Another impressive win from Bryne further cementing his domination of this years championship it does not look at this point that anyone has the speed to stop him this year.
Grid for race 2:
1. Leon Haslam JG Speedfit Kawasaki
2. Shane Byrne PBM Be Wiser Ducati
3. Jason O’Halloran Honda BSB
4. Tommy Bridewell Halsall Suzuki
5. Dan Linfoot Honda BSB
6. Richard Cooper Buildbase BMW
7. Glenn Irwin PBM Be Wiser Ducati
8. Peter Hickman JG Speedfit Kawasaki
9. James Ellison JG Speedfit Kawasaki
O’Halloran got the start in race 2 but was quickly passed by Byrne and Haslam,A crash in turn one between Mainwaring Smart and Backlund caused the safety car to be deployed Byrne was leading at this point from Haslam,O’Halloran,Linfoot,Bridewell, Cooper,Hickman,Iddon,Ellison and Irwin completed the top 10. The race restarted on lap 4 with Haslam closing right up on the back of Byrne passing him but running wide and going back to second place.
Haslam passed Bynre and forced the Ducati man wide letting O’Halloran through as well hoping that others might be able to help keep Byrne in check. Bridewell was running well again just ahead of Linfoot in 5th with Hickman setting the fastest lap in 6th place, Hickman passed Bridewell as the Kawasaki man looked to have a lot more pace than he showed in race 1.The move from Hickman allowed the front 4 to open up a slight gap with O’Halloran pressuring Haslam at the front of the race Byrne meanwhile as sitting in third looking to be making a plan much like he did in race 1. Iddon was having a much better showing in this race unfortunately not the result he or the team would be looking for.
The front 3 of Haslam O’Halloran and Byrne had slighty broken away from Linfoot in 4th on lap 9 with Haslam looking to set a hot pace to break the riders following him, Hickman in 5th was still looking fast and was close to the back wheel of Linfoot with Bridewell a touch of him in 6th. Iriwin had moved back up to 8th place behind Cooper and young Northern Irish man getting faster as the race went on much like he did in Race 1.
The battle for the Podium had seperated themselves from the group fighting for 4th slighty by lap 12 Haslam fending off the hard charging O’Halloran with Byrne watching on behind him. Hickman had taken over 4th place from Linfoot with Bridewell keen to follow him through as it looked like they had the pace to run with the front 3, Iriwn was still preogressing forward passing Cooper and looking like he was going to do as he did in race 1 and carve up the field in the final laps.
Haslam had opened up a gap over O’Halloran and Byrne as it looked like he had the pace to really take control of the race. There was a 4 way fight between Hickman,Linfoot,Bridewell and Irwin for 4th place with Irwin looking the strongest out of that group. Lap 15 and Byrne was looking eager to find a way past O’halloran as he could see Haslam escaping slightly. Lap 17 and Haslam had really checked out and was well in control of the race as Byrne struggled to find a way past the Honda of O’Halloran behind them the battle was still raging for 4th place with all four riders still glued together no one able to get away. Iddon made a late move on Cooper and hit the Buildbase rider making Cooper crash followed by Iddon crashing himself.
Haslam controlled the race on the last lap with Byrne and O’Halloran fighting it out throughout the lap but it was the Austrailian who came out on top beating Byrne to the line Hickman broke away on the final lap and took home 4th place followed by Bridewell and Linfoot respectivley. That win is a huge boost for Haslam and much needed for the championship as it very much looked like Byrne would be running away with it Haslam now very much looks the man to take the fight to Byrne now with O’Halloran and outside bet.
With only one round left before the shootout Byrne,Haslam and O’Halloran look secure in their positions the final 3 spots are anyones for the taking and the 3 races at Oulton will be hard fought battles to see who gets in.