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Jake Dixon and the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team enjoyed a superb round three of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship as they came away from Oulton Park with brilliant second and third place finishes to firmly get themselves back into title contention.

2018 British Superbike Championship, BSB R03, Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK. 6h May 2018.
Jake Dixon, Dover, RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki

It had been a tough start to the season for the team but, fifth overall in free practice, Dixon converted his pace into a good qualifying performance and he lined up for Monday’s first 18-lap race in a brilliant second place, race day again seeing the Cheshire venue bathed in warm sunshine. An equally brilliant start saw the 21-year old grab the lead on the opening lap and here he remained until the seventh lap when he was overhauled by fellow Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam.

For the remainder of the race, there was never more than half a second between the two riders and although it was Haslam who ultimately prevailed, Jake brought the bike home for an excellent second place, his first podium of the season.

It meant he started the second race from second on the grid once more and with another great start, he hit the front on the opening lap, a position he held until the fifth lap when Jason O’Halloran took over at the front. Two laps later and Jake had been pushed back to third by Haslam but it remained close until the final stages when the front two pulled away to leave Jake fighting off the close attentions of Shane Byrne.

He duly kept his rival at bay though and the haul of 36 points saw him leap up the Championship table with the Ashby resident now sitting in a strong sixth place overall.

Regular team-mate Jordan Weaving was forced to miss the weekend due to a damaged shoulder sustained in testing but his place on the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki was taken by Gary Johnson for the single Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship race. Using the meeting as a shakedown prior to the International road racing season, which gets underway next week, the Lincolnshire rider gained some valuable track time and finished Monday’s race in 24th place.

Jake Dixon: “It was really warm out there today but from where we were on Saturday morning to where we were today, I’m very pleased with the results. I’ve struggled in the dry so far this season but we found something in qualifying and although Leon was stronger in the second half of the first race, particularly on corner entry, the team gave me a great bike today and one that I felt comfortable on”.

“For some reason though, the bike, especially the front end, didn’t feel the same in the second race and from lap one onwards, it was a battle not to lose the front. I could hear Shakey coming but knew if I hit all my markers and apexes, it would be difficult for him to get by so to come away with two podiums is fantastic. The whole team have done a mega job and it’s great to get our season firmly up and running.”

Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “It’s been a fantastic day for the team and one that’s been coming as Jake’s pace has been good and it was only a matter of time before he turned it into results. We could have made some more changes to the bike after qualifying, especially for race two, as Jake was struggling a bit with the front end but we didn’t want to take a risk and potentially ruin another podium. As it was, he ended the day with two podiums and that’s exactly what we needed to get us back in the mix.”

“It was a shame that Jordan couldn’t ride this weekend but, on the plus side, Gary had a really positive run out and gained a lot of confidence which will put him in really good stead for the road racing season. He worked really hard all weekend and it’s really important that we give him everything he needs to challenge at both the North West 200 and TT. The plan is to keep it simple and keep it safe and we’re all really looking forward to the weeks ahead.”

The team now turn their attention to the International road races with the North West 200 taking place on the streets of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush in Northern Ireland from May 15-19.

Pictures by Impact Images Photography

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (18 laps)

1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)

2 Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki)

3 Shane Byrne (Ducati)

4 Bradley Ray (Suzuki)

5 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

6 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (18 laps)

1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)

2 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

3 Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki)

4 Shane Byrne (Ducati)

5 Glenn Irwin (Ducati)

6 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

Championship Standings (after three rounds)

1 Haslam 115pts

2 Ray 101

3 Byrne 98

4 O’Halloran 63

5 Irwin 59

6 Dixon 55

2018 British Superbike Championship, BSB R03, Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK. 5th May 2018.
Jake Dixon, Dover, RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki

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