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Cadwell Park: Haslam does the double

25 August 2008

Leon Haslam has recorded his third consecutive Bennetts British Superbike Championship win of the season after once again winning out in a tussle between himself and Tom Sykes at Cadwell Park.

The 'Pocket Rocket' tailed Sykes in the early stages, just as he did in the first race, before pulling off an identical move to take the lead on lap seven and romp home to victory.

An identical top four result to that of the opening race, the battle for victory was at least closer this time as Shane Byrne and Leon Camier came close to disputing the eventual order, but in the end Haslam, Sykes, Byrne and Camier finished line astern, little more than a second separating them.

From the lights, Sykes managed another good start to dip into Coppice with the lead of the race, although it was the HM Plant Honda of Cal Crutchlow that followed him this time, closely followed by Haslam and Byrne.

Further back, Gary Mason's hopes of a second Daily Star Cup win came to an abrupt end when he slid off at considerable speed. Although visibly frustrated, he was otherwise unhurt.

Up at the front, Sykes sprinted off into the lead, followed gamely by Crutchlow, the runner-up rivals embarking on an enjoyable battle until lap three when Crutchlow suddenly came down. Replays appeared to show his engine casing grinding against the kerb as he meandered through the Hall Bends, causing him to lose the bike and leave him flat on his front, cursing the error.

His fall, however, provided the release Haslam needed to quickly latch himself onto the back of Sykes once again. Then, in an almost carbon copy of his move in race one, he got the run down to Park Bend to slide through into the lead.

Sykes maintained a spirited pursuit, but he found himself under pressure from Byrne and Camier, who came good on their belief that they would improve in the latter stages of the race.

Up to that point, Byrne had kept a relatively distant watching brief, while Camier was forced to battle back from a lacklustre start that had left him in sixth at the end of the first lap. However, when an enthusiastic looking Camier began putting the pressure on Byrne, it appeared to prompt him to forge forward again.

A series of fast laps pulled both riders onto the tail of Sykes, but they were eventually beaten by the clock as they crossed the finish line in close contention, but unable to do anything about passing.

Michael Rutter endured a lonely fifth place, but two strong top ten finishes have helped him move comfortably ahead of James Ellison to sixth in the standings, much to his obvious delight.

Simon Andrews put his injuries behind him to claim a promising sixth too, although he was able to take advantage of Karl Harris who was running in that position for much of the early part of the race before slipping down the order as the legacy of the hand injury he sustained in the first race began to make its presence felt.

Others to benefit were Atsushi Watanabe in a fine seventh place, Scott Smart in eighth, and Michael Laverty in ninth, all of which finished ahead of tenth place Harris.

Further back, Cal Crutchlow scored three precious points after getting back on track following his fall, but his disappointing day means he has dropped to fourth behind Sykes and Haslam in the standings.

Byrne, meanwhile, continues to lead the way on 110 points and he heads to Croft with the chance to wrap up the title two rounds early.

His advantage is now over Sykes, while Haslam is just five further points adrift. Crutchlow remains in touch though, 18 points behind Sykes, with just three rounds remaining at Croft, Silverstone and Brands Hatch.


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