Leon Haslam has secured his first win of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike championship by perfecting his late race charge on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki in wet conditions at Brands Hatch Indy.
After the initial race was red flagged as rain fell at the Kent track, the shortened 22-lap race two produced a tense tussle between a number of front-runners with the lead passing between seven riders.
On lap nine Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty made a move at the front on Haslam and looked to build a gap but the Northern Irish rider was reeled in by the chasing pack in the closing stages with Glenn Irwin getting past his countryman with two laps to go.
Haslam also nipped past Laverty to set up a two-lap sprint against the Be Wiser Ducati rider with the pair trading passes on sections of track where each rider was stronger in the wet.
On the final lap Haslam dived up the inside at Surtees and blocked the inside line around the last bend to power to a first victory of 2018 ahead of Irwin in second. Laverty held on to take third and his first podium for over a year in BSB less than two-tenths behind Irwin.
Race one winner in the dry Shane Byrne had to settle for a distant fourth for Be Wiser Ducati ahead of McAMS Yamaha’s Josh Brookes who produced an impressive recovery ride in front of Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon.
Surprise early BSB championship leader Bradley Ray has kept hold of his points advantage by taking seventh place for Buildbase Suzuki in the wet ahead of fellow Suzuki rider Tommy Bridewell as Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) and Carl Phillips (Gearlink Kawasaki) rounded out the top ten.
James Ellison charged from the back of the grid to take 11th place for Anvil Hire Yamaha after failing to get out on track before the pit lane closed to finish ahead of FS-3 Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan and JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Luke Mossey.
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) and Taylor Mackenzie (Moto Rapido Ducati) completed the points places while Jake Dixon crashed out for RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki with the same fate falling on Richard Cooper for Buildbase Suzuki.
Jason O’Halloran was the sole rider to gamble on an intermediate rear tyre but it backfired for the Honda rider who retired at midrace distance as conditions proved too slippery in the rain.