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Cadwell Park: Haslam keeps up Cadwell run
25 August 2008
Leon Haslam has consolidated his status as a Cadwell Park expert after streaming to victory in the first Bennetts British Superbike race of the day around the Lincolnshire circuit.
A winner at Cadwell for the last three seasons, Haslam extended that run by another year after prevailing in a tussle with Tom Sykes as the two riders destroyed the rest of the field with their relentless pace.
Starting on the second row of the grid, Haslam wasted no time in pulling himself up into the lead fight as he slotted into second place behind the equally fast starting Sykes.
Although Cal Crutchlow initially gave a spirited chase, with fastest laps almost half a second quicker than the majority of the opposition, Sykes and Haslam began to pull away quickly as they embarked on a display of precision riding around the intricate circuit.
For the most part, Sykes looked comfortable out front, with Haslam feigning several moves coming down Park Straight into Park Bend but being unable to find a way past the distinctive Rizla Suzuki.
Nonetheless, Haslam knows his way around Cadwell Park better than most and after harassing Sykes for a number of laps, he finally made his move stick on the run down the hill into Park, Haslam dipping beneath Sykes and holding off any chance of a switch back.
Not that he was allowed to get away, with Sykes shadowing Haslam's every move for the next few laps, but just as it looked like he was readying himself for an attempt at wrestling the lead back off his rival, the front end almost tucked beneath him at the Hairpin, causing him to lose some ground.
Giving him too much ground to make up over the remaining four laps, Haslam crossed the line just over half a second up on Sykes to record his second consecutive victory following on from his maiden HM Plant win at Knockhill.
Although a little disappointed to miss out on a fourth win in five races, second place for Sykes does nonetheless lift him up to second place in the standings after a struggling Crutchlow slipped down the order to an eventual fifth place.
Blaming excessive chatter for his lack of competitiveness, Crutchlow resisted the attentions of Shane Byrne for several laps before falling behind him at just over the half way point. Leon Camier promptly followed through, although Crutchlow was able to resist the advances of Michael Rutter to the chequered flag for fifth place.
Rutter did run as high as third in the early stages but sixth place still means he moves up to the same position in the overall standings at the expense of the absent James Ellison.
Some distance back, Simon Andrews finished in seventh after a rather lonely race, ahead of Michel Laverty and Atsushi Watanabe, the Japanese rider securing a much needed top ten finish.
Just behind, Gary Mason made the most of his strong starting position to secure a top ten finish in tenth. Also winning the Daily Star Cup race, the Quay Garage Honda rider was some four places up the road on nearest rival John Laverty.
Meanwhile, although it was a race that was unusually devoid of entertainment, there was one disappointing constant after Karl Harris experienced a fall on lap four. Injuring his finger in the process, he is expected to make the start line for the second race.
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