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Saturday, October 13 2018

'Pocket Rocket' Leon Haslam played it safe in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race of the weekend to finish sixth and take the title, securing enough points to put the championship beyond Jake Dixon's reach with two races to go.

Haslam, who narrowly missed out last year to Shane 'Shakey' Byrne after crashing out of the final race of the season, looked comfortable as he closed in on championship victory. Dixon admitted he struggled to keep pace with the Be Wiser Ducatis of  eventual race winner Glenn Irwin and his brother Andrew and could finish only second, ensuring Haslam's sixth place was enough to take his first BSB crown.

Haslam said afterwards: "It's like a big weight's been lifted off my shoulders. Honestly it was kind-of one of those races I knew I didn't need to push on, I needed to stay out of trouble. I got really pushed out wide in turn two and then it was Cooper I think crashed out in front of me and I was just like 'stay out of trouble, stay out of trouble'.

"I saw Jake wasn't leading so I knew top seven was good enough and I was running in sixth with a big gap. I wanted to have a go at Hicky (Peter Hickman) and Tarran (Mackenzie) to try and get on that podium but I just didn't want to risk it. After the last few years, I just wanted to bring it home and tomorrow I can enjoy now. I can go out there and have a bit of fun. That last lap felt like an eternity, was a long old race! It's been one of those years, it's gone so well and I'm so grateful for everyone around me." 

Dixon's second place confirmed him as runner-up for 2018.

The Bennetts British Superbike Championship season concludes at Brands Hatch tomorrow with the remaining championship places still to be settled. Adult tickets are £34 on the gate with reductions for teens and seniors. Kids under 13 go free - click here for full details.