Leon Haslam suffered a re-emergence of his backshifter issue during the opening session in qualifying but didn’t let it phase him to secure a front row start for the opening Cadwell Park race.

The Bennetts British Superbike championship leader comfortably topped both Q1 and Q2 but in the first session almost saw his qualifying ruined by running on at the hairpin and coming to a halt in the barrier.

Haslam explained he was forced to run off by a backshifter issue which kicked him out of gear – something he suffered with in race one at Knockhill earlier this year which dropped him from the lead and into third place – but with no damage sustained in the incident he was free to continue in qualifying.

The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider had also topped two of the three practice sessions at the Lincolnshire circuit and looked strong favourite for pole only to be beaten by Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray by just 0.036s.

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“I’m still having an issue with the backshifter which I suffered with at Knockhill which cost me a race win there,” Haslam explained. “I got a false neutral and it blipped out of gear on me so I had to get on the back brake and then going into the hairpin wasn’t ideal.

“We are slowly getting back to where we were at the test, we tested here six weeks ago, and we were really fast – a lot faster than even today. We are struggling to get that same feeling back but we have been working a lot on race pace so I am really happy with a front row start.

“I was pushing every lap as I knew it was close so I thought if I could just get a lap together I’d be good but I made a little mistake on the last lap. Fair play to Brad who had an awesome lap.”

Haslam has a formidable record at Cadwell Park in BSB having won at least one race in every round he’s contested at the track in his career while he held the race lap record for a decade before Lee Jackson bettered it last year in the opening race.

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