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Haslam: Suzuka win means so much…
29 July 2013
Leon Haslam says his victory in the 2013 Suzuka 8 Hours endurance event is a timely boost for him in a season otherwise blighted by injury.
The British rider has been on the long road to full fitness since April when an accident at Assen left him nursing a badly broken leg.
Though Haslam has now returned to full competition with Pata Honda in the World Superbike Championship, his entry into the Suzuka 8 Hours event aboard the Musashi HARC Pro Honda team was expected to be a true test of endurance for the Briton.
As it happens, Haslam's leg would stand up well to the pressure of a lengthy race, the Briton – together with Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi – claiming an impressive victory to go one better than his father Ron Haslam, who finished second in 1979.
“This means so much after the tough season I've had. The leg held up pretty well during my stints but I just want to say thanks to the whole Musashi HARC-Pro team. They did a great job and also Mickey and Takahashi-san rode really well.
“I feel sorry for Jonathan and Kiyo [Ryuichi Kiyonari] but it's a long tough race and anything can happen. I'm just glad that we managed to hold on to the lead until the end. It's a really magical feeling.”
Haslam's win came at the expense of Pata Honda team-mate Jonathan Rea, the 2012 winner ruled out after his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari crashed out of the lead on the third hour of the race.
Van der Mark's success, meanwhile, makes him the first Dutchman to win the iconic event [CLICK HERE to read full story]