Silverstone produced a sensational Bennetts British Superbike Championship Showdown Six decider as Leon Haslam held off his McAMS Yamaha rivals Josh Brookes and rookie Tarran Mackenzie to make it a hat trick of wins whilst Peter Hickman incredibly held on to the final Title Fighter position by just four points.
In the second race of the weekend Haslam overcame the pressure from his title rivals to win after a dramatic final lap, despite a clash with Bradley Ray who secured his place in the Showdown with one race to decide the final Title Fighter.
At the start of race two Ray got off to a lightning start on the Buildbase Suzuki ahead of Jake Dixon and Mackenzie with Haslam and Brookes next in line.
By lap seven the lead had changed as Mackenzie again hit the front of the field at Copse as he aimed to add to his debut podium finish yesterday. Ray then was under fire from Dixon and he made a move into second, pushing the Buildbase Suzuki rider to third and in striking distance for Haslam.
A lap later and as Haslam went for a move on Ray the pair collided, sending Ray completely off line, rejoining in eighth and the championship leader was issued a drop of position penalty for the incident.
Dixon had pushed his way through to the lead with a move on Mackenzie at Brooklands and the leading quartet then duelled for the position as Dixon led Mackenzie, Haslam and Brookes.
Haslam was instantly back on the attack after completing his penalty and he recaptured the lead, but there was drama for Hickman as the Smiths Racing BMW rider was sidelined with just three laps to go with a technical problem.
Hickman’s retirement closed up the battle for the final place in the Showdown with eight points to Danny Buchan, who ended race two in 12th and eleven points to Christian Iddon who heroically finished in fifth despite his collarbone fracture.
The battle for the win was going down to the wire on the final lap but Dixon and Mackenzie both crashed out at Brooklands, handing the podium positions to Brookes and Glenn Irwin.
Jason O’Halloran secured a fourth place for Honda Racing but he crashed after crossing the line ahead of Iddon and Tommy Bridewell on the Moto Rapido Ducati. Gino Rea held seventh place for OMG Suzuki with Luke Mossey, Andrew Irwin and Richard Cooper completing the top ten.
In the final race all eyes were on the riders battling for the final Showdown spot and at the start O’Halloran fired himself into the lead of the race, which gave him a chance of making the cut for Honda Racing, holding off Haslam and Dixon behind him initially.
There was high drama for the Smiths Racing BMW team as Hickman encountered a technical problem on the sighting lap and was forced to start the race from pitlane.
The race was red flagged on the second lap though when Luke Mossey crashed out at Copse, he was later able to walk away from the incident, before the race was restarted shortly afterwards.
Again O’Halloran got the jump off the line ahead of Haslam and Australian rival Brookes with Mackenzie also in the pack. Remarkably Iddon was holding fourth on the Tyco BMW as he fought back from injury in a determined bid to make the Showdown.
At the front Brookes captured the lead on lap five which put O’Halloran back out of Showdown contention and Iddon back in the Showdown game as Hickman held a position outside the top ten.
As O’Halloran dropped back to fifth it dashed his top six hopes despite his ambition to still make the cut despite his mid-season injury, but Hickman was soon back in contention as he climbed inside the top ten and Iddon ran on at Brooklands on the eleventh lap.
Brookes was holding the lead from Haslam and Mackenzie until lap 19 when Haslam made his move; diving down the inside at Copse and the pair were inseparable!
Haslam’s lead didn’t last long though as Mackenzie hit the front for McAMS Yamaha on lap 21 as Brookes dropped back to sixth. The fight for the win went down to the wire though as Mackenzie held the lead on the penultimate lap, but Haslam was back ahead at Brooklands.
The Championship leader held the position to the line to win race three, but only just from Mackenzie, with Dixon adding to his Podium Points in third as Glenn Irwin just missed out on a podium finish in fourth.
O’Halloran held onto fifth ahead of Brookes with Cooper and Bridewell adding another top ten to their tally this weekend.
Iddon meanwhile held on to tenth place to miss out by just five points on a Showdown position with Hickman still suffering with a problem which put him 19th but still the final rider in the standings top six.
The Showdown kicks off next weekend at Oulton Park featuring one previous champion (Brookes), two Showdown debutants (Ray and Irwin), five different manufacturers (Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati and BMW) from six different teams (JG Speedfit Kawasaki, RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki, McAMS Yamaha, Buildbase Suzuki, Be Wiser Ducati and Smiths Racing BMW).