Carole Nash ambassadors Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam enjoyed the perfect Sunday in the world and British superbike championships, completing stunning double wins in their respective series.
With his fourth consecutive title wrapped up 24 hours earlier, Rea continued his Doohan-esque domination of world superbikes with yet another win at Magny Cours in France, completing his fourth successive double win and extending his record of race wins to 68.
Starting from ninth on the reverse grid, the 31-year-old Ballymena racer, running a special gold livery to celebrate his title, quickly cut through to third but was made to work hard for his Sunday victory as Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark passed and repassed the champion in the opening laps. Early race leader Chaz Davies, back on form after an injury-hit summer, also provided brief resistance but by lap 11 of 21, Rea had hit the front and on his way to a near two second victory.
“It was an awesome weekend,” said the Kawasaki Racing Team rider. “With the pressure off I was able to ride a bit more aggressively. I put myself in great positions in the first laps and found great track position early on. It proved pretty hard to get past van der Mark, as he kept counter-attacking but once I got clear track I was able to catch up to Davies. But he had, again, proved quite difficult to pass. My team gave me the perfect bike today, also in terms of final gearing. Especially on the straight, I could really make some inroads into Chaz and draw alongside. I tried to outbrake him twice and just went long, missed the apex and then he cut back. So I readjusted the strategy a little bit to go and pass on one of the other corners. My bike was turning really tight and I could see he was struggling to find that apex in turn eight. Then I made my rhythm and rode to my pit board. It was a really nice feeling.”
In the Netherlands, Haslam took a double win at Assen to put one hand on the British superbike title. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider, who will join Rea at the official Kawasaki world superbike team in 2019, held of a late challenge from title rival Jake Dixon to win race one. In an accident strewn race two, Leon took the 14thwin of his dominant season. With Dixon retiring through a mechanical problem, Leon takes a 61 point advantage to the season closing triple header at Brands Hatch, meaning that he needs 14 points across the three races to secure his first British title.