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Haslam mugs Ellison at the line in MCE BSB race one at Brands Hatch

Sunday, May 22 2016

Leon Haslam claimed a dramatic race win in the opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, following the final blast to the line between the two JG Speedfit Kawasaki riders, with James Ellison missing out by 0.057s.

Ellison had fired off the grid to lead the pack into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time ahead of pole-sitter Luke Mossey and Richard Cooper as Shane 'Shakey' Byrne dropped back to 15th from his front row start.

The first rider on the move though was Tommy Bridewell on the Bennetts Suzuki; he held fourth position on the opening lap, waiting until two laps later to make his move on Cooper with a decisive move at Paddock Hill Bend. The Buildbase BMW rider instantly fought back though and reclaimed the position on the run into Druids.

Danny Buchan's race ended prematurely when he suffered a huge high-side on the exit of Clearways; crashing out on the fourth lap.

At the front Ellison was holding his position and pushing hard to break the pack, but with Mossey, Cooper and Bridewell not giving an inch the leading quartet were inseparable. On the eighth lap Bridewell made his next move with a pass down the inside at Paddock Hill Bend on Cooper, just after Mossey had pulled the same move on Ellison to take the lead.

Three laps later their battle was paused when the Nissan GT-R Safety Car was deployed after Jenny Tinmouth, James Rispoli and Vittorio Iannuzzo crashed out together at Druids. The race resumed and Ellison was trying everything to make the pass, but finally make it stick on the 17th lap at Paddock Hill Bend.

A lap later and Mossey lost another place at the first corner when Bridewell pulled an incredible move with the pair almost touching mid-corner. The Bennetts Suzuki rider was then hunting Ellison, but the rider on the move was Leon Haslam as he made a move on Mossey and then Cooper to start his push to the front.

On the final lap Haslam first made his move on Bridewell with a move into Paddock Hill Bend and then had Ellison in his sights. He was pushing to make a move on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate and as the leaders exited Clearways for the final time Haslam had the narrow advantage as they crossed the line to give the team their first one-two podium finish.

Bridewell held onto third to secure Suzuki's first podium finish since 2014 ahead of Cooper and Mossey with Michael Laverty the first of the Tyco BMWs in sixth place. He held off Peter Hickman and Jason O'Halloran with Byrne climbing back to ninth and Dan Linfoot completing the top ten.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch Indy, race one:

  1. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
  2. James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.057s
  3. Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.458s
  4. Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) +0.801s
  5. Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) +2.216s
  6. Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +2.325s
  7. Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +5.235s
  8. Jason O'Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.415s
  9. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +5.847s
  10. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +8.333s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch race one:

  1. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 77
  2. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 77
  3. Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) 66
  4. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 65
  5. James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 60
  6. Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) 54

The next major event at Brands Hatch is the Masters Historic Festival on 28/29 May. Tickets are available in advance from £16, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.