It was a big weekend of superbike racing as Kawasaki stars Jonathan Rea and Jake Dixon were unbeaten in their respective world and British superbike championships, while Leon Haslam retained his BSB series lead despite starting from the back of the grid.
World superbikes returned from its extended summer break at Portugal’s demanding Portimao circuit but it was business as usual for Ulsterman Rea as he stormed to two more dominant wins, taking his third consecutive double win and putting himself in a position to win a fourth back-to-back title in France in two weeks time.
“The run right now is incredible,” said Rea. “It was a really tough race (on Sunday), as I had to fight a lot in the beginning. I made a very good start and had good track position early on. At turn five an opportunity opened up behind two riders and I found myself right behind Tom. He proved very hard to pass. I made a pass stick in T13, and chased Chaz down within a lap. Then it took me so many laps to go past him because he was braking so late, and his bike was so fast in the straight. Once I got past I just concentrated on making a couple of clean laps and setting my rhythm. The pace today was a little bit slower (than Saturday) because the temperature had risen a bit and also I used the tyre a little bit more coming through the pack. I put everything into the race and managed to get 25 points, so I am really happy.”
In the UK, the first round of British Superbikes’ end of season Showdown saw Dixon take both wins while Haslam overcame a qualifying mishap to salvage two podium finishes to keep his championship lead. The series leader’s JG Speedfit Kawasaki developed a serious engine problem at the start of Saturday’s qualifying session, meaning that he did not set a time and relegating him to the back of the grid for Sunday’s wet first race.
Despite the handicap, Leon scythed through the field to take third behind runaway leader Dixon and second placed Tommy Bridewell. Race two, held in mainly dry conditions again saw Dixon get away at the front, while Leon took second ahead of Bridewell. The result sees Haslam take a 31 point championship lead over Dixon into the penultimate race weekend, which takes place at Assen in two weeks time.