Leon Haslam ensured that the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship fight will go down to the wire after completing the double at Assen.
The Pocket Rocket’s victories mean that he is only 17 points behind Shane Byrne as the series head to its finale at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks.
A dramatic race one saw Haslam and Byrne pull away from the chasing pack. Haslam made his move on the penultimate lap but Byrne wasn’t about to let him take the win easily.
The pair would be neck-and-neck throughout the last lap, with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki man eventually crossing the line just +0.001s ahead of Byrne.
Race two saw Haslam briefly fall down to fourth but he soon found his rhythm once again. The 33-year-old made his move on lap nine and managed to fend off Byrne once again to take his second win of the day.
A delighted Haslam said: “It’s fantastic to be leaving here with the double. That second race I was watching Shakey’s pit board and could see him coming through the pack so I knew he was there and that last lap I rode defensively to get it done.
“A huge thanks to the team, we struggled a bit but they got it turned around and we can head to Brands with a chance. Shakey rode fantastically today and Brands is his home round so we know he’ll be fast, but I’m feeling good on the bike and we know our strengths so I’m looking forward to it!”
With three races and 75 points up for grabs at Brands Hatch it is likely that this year’s championship will go down to the final race of the season.
Team manager, Terry Rymer is confident that Haslam and the team can turn around the deficit and end the season as champions.
He said: ” Wow! What a weekend. We had a few small issues to begin with but the guys worked exceptionally hard and we were able to turn it around today. Shakey was so strong yesterday but Leon pushed to the maximum in both races and to walk away with two wins is incredible.
“We’ve clawed back a few points in the Championship and although it’ll be tough at Brands we believe we can do it!”
The final round of the 2016 season gets underway on Friday, October 14.