Round 2 of the closest showdown yet took place at Assen with anyone of 6 riders still very much in contention this is how it played out :
Leon Haslam took a further hold on this years title taking hard fought victory in race 1 and extending his lead at the top of the table, Setting a good time in qualifying starting on the front row whilst the rest of his title challengers struggled Haslam looked strong from the start and ran at the front for the entire race timing his move for the lead to perfection taking the lead with 5 laps to go and breaking away from the battle behind him and in the end taking a comfortable win.
Joining him on the podium was Shane Byrne the 5 time champion had an awful qualifying starting well down the field but he took no time in scything through the field getting to the front but got caught in a battle between Sylvain Guintoli and James Ellison while Haslam was making his break at the front, Considering his qualifying for Byrne to take 2nd and limit the damage of Haslam winning was a great result adding to the fact he was to start on pole for race 2.
James Ellison completed the podium he had started on pole and was leading the way for the majority of the race showing that if not for some bad luck he should be one of the contenders for the title, He was made to work for the final podium place by the hard charging Guintoli who showed that on a track he likes he can still challenge at the front of a race. Josh Brookes much the same as Byrne had an awful qualifying and salvaged a solid 5th place to keep his title challenge alive of the other title challengers Hickman finished highest coming home in 7th place just ahead of Jake Dixon in 8th and Jason O’Halloran all but ended his hopes of a title with another disappointing result in 10th.
Sylvain Guintoli took an very impressive victory in what was a brilliant race 2 involving 5 riders locked together at the front, Guintoli managed to get away well at the start and sat in with the leading group taking the lead on lap 16 getting a tad lucky when Jame Ellison who was second at the time had a moment mid corner holding up the riders behind this opened up enough of a gap to let Guintoli ride home in relative comfort, This was the first Superbike victory in BSB for the new Suzuki as well as a much needed boost for Guintoli whos future is still undecided.
Josh Brookes did his title hunt the world of good bringing his Yamaha home in 2nd place he had to work for it looking a little off the pace at the start of the race he was just about able to hold onto the front group he managed to gain pace later in the race moving through on the last lap getting the best of title rival Leon Haslam to re take some points on him.
Finalizing the podium for race 2 was title leader Haslam unlike race 1 he was never able to make the break saying after the race he was struggling with the front end of his bike as well as it cutting out on the back straight which allowed Brookes to pass him overall this was a great weekend for him gaining points on his rivals and having a strong lead going into the final round.
Shane Byrne was only able to finish in 5th losing more valuable points to Haslam he was looking strong at the start of the race but lost out when he ran wide into the first turn on lap 16 this cost him massively and he was never able to recover, Peter Hickman was next up finishing in 6th just ahead of Jake Dixon in 7th and Jason O’Halloran continued his awful form coming home in 13th place.
As they head into the final round this is how the title hunt is shaping up
- Leon Haslam 612
- Josh Brookes 580 -32
- Shane Byrne 579 -33
- Jake Dixon 558 -54
- Peter Hickman 549 -63
- Jason O’Halloran 526 -86
The final round at Brands Hatch with 3 races is sure to be an exciting event with it looking like its down to Haslam,Brookes or Byrne to take the title now it could be one of the best racing weekends British fans will have seen in many years.