Leon Haslam says he relished returning the thick of the action battling for victory in the wet race two at Brands Hatch Indy as he clinched a first win of the year to kick-start his 2018 Bennetts British Superbike title challenge.

The JG Speedfit Kawasaki looked in strong contention for a first victory of 2018 before the initial race two was red flagged due to rain hitting the Kent circuit.

Using the Pirelli wet tyres and switching settings with his ZX-10RR, Haslam remained in the fight at the front against Glenn Irwin, Michael Laverty and Jake Dixon before making a decisive move on the final lap to nip up the inside of Irwin and storm to a dramatic victory.

Haslam’s first race win of the year fires him up to third place in the early BSB standings, 14 points behind surprise leader Bradley Ray and just four points off of defending champion Shane Byrne, and feels it was a win which rewarded risks.

“The rain helped in race two but it’s no secret I’ve not always had the best of results here on the Indy circuit, so the fourth place in the dry race one for me I was quite happy with,” Haslam said. “Normally I wouldn’t be, but the pace wasn’t too bad and it was one of those where it was really hard to make passes.

“We made some good changes to the bike and I was running second before the red flag and I think I got the fastest lap up to that point so the changes did work, so for me we’ve learnt quite a lot in the dry which is nice.

“With the rain we just threw a setting in that we thought might work and it was just about feel and pushing and waiting for someone to brake and then I braked a little bit later.

“It was one of those races that you never wanted to end so it was so much fun and I had a real good battle with these guys and to make it pay off on that last lap, sometimes it doesn’t work out in your favour so a big thanks to Kawasaki and well done to these guys as well and we’ll move on to Oulton Park.”

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