Leon Haslam has reflected on his long struggle to a first-ever professional title and feels the hard work has been all worthwhile to claim the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike championship.

Since returning to BSB in 2016, Haslam endured two consecutive near-misses for the title losing out to Shane Byrne in both years, and despite a 61-point lead coming into the final round at Brands Hatch this season he felt nothing could be taken for granted.

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But in a trouble-free finale Haslam sealed his first riders’ championship in the opening race of the triple-header by finishing sixth with Jake Dixon only second to take the pressure off going into the final two races.

Haslam also achieved a final feat of a maiden Brands Hatch GP win on a Kawasaki, meaning he has won at every BSB circuit for the Japanese manufacturer, and completed his sensational 2018 with a 100% record scoring points in every race.

The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider feels the lessons learnt from his painful title misses were key to his 2018 charge and securing the BSB crown in such dominant fashion is a tribute to his tireless work. Haslam ended the riders' standings 70 points ahead of Dixon - the largest title-winning advantage of any BSB rider since the introduction of the Showdown.

“It has been an awesome year to finish every single race along with 15 wins,” Haslam. “We had such amazing battles with Jake, with Glenn and with everyone. I’m just happy I stayed on in that final race as I had so many big moments!

“So many people were in the mix on any given weekend, that is BSB, always good battles on the last lap. Big thank you to the team on my second year with the team which has given credit and allowed us to get the most out of the bike and understand the bike. So a big credit to them             

“I couldn’t have wished for anything more after a hard slog with ups and downs but the team has been faultless. A big thank you to everyone involved around me allowing me to do my job.”

The 2018 BSB title marks Haslam’s maiden professional championship win after finishing runner-up in the national series in 2006, 2008 and 2016 plus second place in the World Superbike championship in 2010.

Haslam returns to WorldSBK next season at the factory Kawasaki Racing Team alongside Jonathan Rea for 2019 after three years in BSB.

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