After a sensational debut year in World Superbikes on board his Renegade Koji Ducati, Leon Haslam's hard work and determination has paid off, when he was awarded with a cheque for US$20,000 for Rookie of the Year Award.

The cheque was presented at an award ceremony on Sunday evening at Magny-cours in France, after a tough days racing.

Leon was still struggling with his wrist, but managed to qualify for Superpole and was ninth on the grid for the race. Magny-Cours is one of three circuits that Leon is familiar with on the World Superbike calendar.

He put that circuit knowledge to good use in both races, finishing in the top ten in both. Race one Haslam finished seventh ahead of Chris Walker on board the Foggy Petronas machine and former GP star Gary McCoy on the Xerox Ducati.

In race two Leon bagged a sixth place finish managing to pip pole sitter Troy Corser over the line. He was pleased with the results.

"Yeah I'm happy enough," stated Haslam. "I've suffered a lot with my wrist, but basically I've got it sorted and I'm concentrating on getting a job for next year and getting fully fit. I feel confident for next year I know most of the circuits now. There have been a lot of new things this year, I just can't wait to get back out there on a competitive bike like this year, and be able to do the same again and hopefully get on that podium more often."

Now that the 2004 season is over Leon is already looking ahead to 2005. His first priority is to get his wrist healed and back to full fitness.

"I've got an operation on my wrist on Wednesday straight after we leave here," continued Haslam. "Its going to be at least two or three weeks, so I'm going on holiday at the end of the month, so by the time I get back form my holiday it should be pretty much sorted. Then I can start training and getting ready for next year."

His third place podium finish at Oschersleben proved that Haslam is capable of running with the top riders when fully fit.

"Its been up and down, frustrating more than anything," admitted Haslam looking back at his season. "I can be up in the top three, and we've had a lot of little problems here and there as all teams do. Definitely been a good learning year, I've learned all the new circuits, and obviously I've been finishing in the top five as well. Its been hard but its all good grounding for next year."

Winning Rookie of the Year has been a huge boost to the young Brit and has fired him up even more for next season.

"Its fantastic, I mean, I'm 21 still, I'm not 22 until the middle of next year. So even next year, I've got a few years on my side. I've done GPs I've done World Superbikes, all the different circuits. The knowledge and the data that I'm collecting is unbelievable, next year we need to go out and put it into practice and hopefully do some winning."

After a successful debut year with Renegade Koji Ducati on the World stage Leon is keen to stay with the team and build on their success.

"For me I'd like to stay with Ducati, it's a fantastic bike, Mark Griffiths and Koji are a perfect image for me. Its just a matter of sorting things out, its that time of year, obviously you want to sign a contract now but there is more to it than that. Its just a matter of waiting and fingers crossed we'll be where we are now and we'll be winning races."

 

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