Leon Haslam overcame the challenge of Bradley Ray in the opening race of the day to take his eighth career victory at Cadwell Park.
Haslam was pushed all the way by a confident Ray, however the championship leader was able to use all of his experience to get the better of the Suzuki man. Victory means that Haslam maintains his record of winning at least one race in every British Superbike round he’s contested at Cadwell Park.
The leading duo were joined on the podium by Jake Dixon, who had an entertaining battle with Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell. The RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider managed to get by both riders on the final lap of the race. His podium finish also confirms his place in the showdown.
Irwin crossed the line in fourth, with Bridewell close behind in fifth. The top five riders were well clear of the chasing pack, with Christian Iddon taking sixth for the Tyco BMW team.
Peter Hickman was next up in seventh, which was enough for him to move up into the showdown places following a crash for Danny Buchan. Tarran Mackenzie was an impressive eighth, with James Ellison and Josh Brookes completing the top 10.
The start of the race was delayed due to the mixed weather conditions. Andrew Irwin never made it out onto the grid due to a mechanical issue with his Be Wiser Ducati.
Once we got underway it was Haslam who got off the line quickest and he took the lead going into the first turn. Behind him, Buchan also made a positive start and managed to move past Irwin into fourth.
Martin Jessopp’s race came to an end of the opening lap after a coming together with Chrissy Rouse led to him crashing out.
Ray got a great exit from the final corner at the end of the second lap and he took the lead of the race coming over the start/finish straight. Moments later, Dixon had a huge moment as he nearly went onto the grass. This incident allowed Iddon and Bridewell to go through, however the latter went into too hot and pushed Iddon wide – allowing Dixon back through.
Danny Buchan crashed out of the race, and the showdown positions, on lap three as he went down going through Mountain Bottom.
The following lap saw further drama as Rouse went down hard whilst going through Hall Bends. The crash brought out the safety car and the Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki man was taken to the medical centre.
At the restart, Ray was able to pull away at exactly the right time and opened up half-a-second on Haslam. Behind them, Dixon went down the inside of Bridewell for fourth. Iddon would follow him through, pushing Bridewell down to sixth.
Haslam set the fastest lap of the race on lap 10 and had closed right up to the back of Ray. On the same lap, Bridewell was able to take fifth back from Iddon.
On lap 12, Michael Laverty went off track after going into Park Corner too deep trying to overtake Jason O’Halloran for eighth. Meanwhile, Irwin was now under pressure from Dixon for the final podium spot.
Haslam recorded the fastest lap of the race once again on lap 13 and was now all over the back of Ray. The following lap he would go down the inside at Park Corner, only to go wide – allowing Ray back through.
Haslam thought about repeating the move at Park on the following lap, but backed out of the move on this occasion. Further down the order, O’Halloran was forced off the track after a coming together with Brookes.
With only two laps remaining, Haslam put in a tough move on Ray heading into Park Corner and was able to make it stick. Just behind the leaders, Dixon made exact same move on Irwin for third.
On the penultimate lap Dixon nearly went into the back of Ray, averting disaster by a few inches! Dixon and Bridewell pounced immediately and pushed Dixon back down to fifth.
Heading onto the final lap of the race, Dixon was determined to make up for the incident on the previous lap. He went down the inside of Bridewell at Park Corner, before getting the better of Irwin in the Woodland Section.
At the front Haslam crossed the line to take victory and increase his championship lead over the chasing pack. The title favourite now sits 91 points clear of Dixon in the standings.