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Silverstone: Haslam recovers for another win

28 September 2008

Leon Haslam has won his fifth Bennetts British Superbike race of the season after a commanding ride to victory at Silverstone.

Scorned after being taken out by Tom Sykes whilst leading in the first race, no such controversies afflicted the HM Plant Honda rider this time as he maintained the remarkable run of form that has seen him win five of the last seven races.

Comparatively uneventful next to the first race, Haslam once again powered into the lead of the race from the lights after out-dragging pole sitter Cal Crutchlow.

Crutchlow also lost out to Karl Harris coming into Copse, while James Ellison, newly crowned champion Shane Byrne and Michael Rutter followed closely.

As expected, Haslam embarked on his charge at the front of the field, quickly establishing a gap over Crutchlow by the end of the second lap after prevailing in a dice with Harris from Abbey up to Priory.

However, Crutchlow's hopes to challenge Haslam came to an end shortly afterwards when he ran off the circuit on lap three and dropped down to 13th position. He would later retire with a mechanical problem having fought his way up to sixth again.

It left Haslam in an even more commanding lead, with Harris back up to second place, Ellison third, Byrne fourth, Rutter fifth and Tom Sykes a superb sixth, the Rizla Suzuki rider having risen from 17th position on the grid following his race one punishment.

Byrne was also on the move, passing Ellison for third on lap four before out-dragging Harris for second out of Luffield two laps later. With three seconds to make up on Haslam, Byrne proceeded to give chase to his rival, but despite pumping in a series of quick laps, he couldn't break down the gap.

Haslam was on fine form though, responding to his fall from the first race in the best way possible by winning by almost four seconds from Byrne, the Airwaves Ducat rider reeling off his 19th podium result of the year in the process.

The battle for the final podium slot was hotly contested. Eventually it was Sykes who emerged on top after fighting his way up to fourth, where he would embark on an enjoyable tussle with Harris, the Yamaha rider gamely holding on for what would have been only a second podium result this year.

Eventually Sykes passed Harris on lap 14 at Copse, leaving the Rob Mac Racing rider to slip into the clutches of race one winner Leon Camier, who had a quiet start to the race before battling back into contention. Passing Harris for fourth on the penultimate lap, Camier almost caught Sykes too, but had to be content with just missing out on the podium.

Harris finished a still satisfying fifth, ahead of Ellison and Rutter, the pair fading in the latter stages after strong starts. Still, their cause was aided by the elimination of Michael Laverty, who was on the verge of sixth place when he came down at Brooklands for the second time today, albeit unassisted this time.

Simon Andrews completed a strong day in eighth, with Billy McConnell and Jason O'Halloran rounding out the top ten after Gary Mason was disqualified [see separate story]. It meant John Laverty claimed Cup honours in 15th place overall.


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