Jake Dixon and the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team enjoyed another strong showing at round seven of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Thruxton on Sunday with second and third place finishes maintaining his second place overall in the title standings.
Jake showed good form right from the off and after recording the third fastest time overall across the three free practice sessions, he went into Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session in confident mood and although at one stage it looked like he’d be at the bottom end of the top ten, he dug deep to put the Kawasaki ZX-10R into a good sixth place.
Starting the first 20-lap race from the second row of the grid, Jake completed the first lap in fifth place but it didn’t take him long to improve upon that and just a lap later, he’d climbed all the way up to second. From that moment on, he remained in the top three and after a series of consistent, fast laps, he moved ahead of Luke Mossey and into the lead on lap 13.
He quickly opened up a lead of 0.7s over Leon Haslam but in the final quarter of the race, no less than five riders were disputing the race lead although it was the two Kawasaki riders that continued to hold onto first and second places. Haslam grabbed the lead on lap 17 and although there was nothing between the two riders, he managed to repel Jake’s attack on the final lap to leave the Ashby resident in second place for yet another podium finish.
The second encounter later in the day saw Jake start from the more advanced position of third and the front row of the grid where he was keen to turn the tables and pull back some points on Haslam in the title race. It was another close affair with the same group of riders disputing the leading positions and although Josh Brookes edged ahead to take the win, Jake got the better of Haslam in the closing stages to claim third and another podium credit at the expense of his rival.
Haslam continues to lead the Championship standings but with eight podiums now to his name, Jake remains in second overall and now has 20 podium credits to Haslam’s 43.
Jake Dixon: “I did a lot of homework during practice and qualifying to put myself in the strongest position possible on race day and whilst there were all manner of tyre combinations out there, the soft tyre worked best for me and was what I stuck with. I felt comfortable leading the race but each time Leon got into my draft and came by, the bike kept hitting the limiter which held me back a bit. I thought I’d done enough on the final lap and had squeezed him enough at the final chicane to take the win but it wasn’t to be.”
“I wasn’t happy finishing third in the second race but I was pleased to pick up another podium credit and even more pleased that Leon didn’t pick up any. Josh and Peter (Hickman) had a little bit more rear grip than me and for some reason we seem to struggle a bit in the higher temperatures. The team have done a mega job all weekend to give me a bike to fight for the race wins and we’re still in an extremely strong position in the Championship so roll on the next round.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “All in all, it’s been a good weekend but we were a bit annoyed to lose out to Leon in race one as every podium credit is crucial at this stage of the season. There was nothing more that Jake could have done though as he was hitting the rev limiter each time Haslam drafted him. We didn’t make any changes to the bike for race two but instead had a slight change in our approach and although we didn’t have the speed of Josh, we were able to get the better of Leon this time around. The riders were tripping each other up a bit but Jake put in a good move at the chicane and opened up enough of a gap so that Leon had no chance to re-pass. Third place was the least Jake deserved and it continues our good run of form so we’re all looking forward to the next round.”
Round seven of the series takes place in two week’s time at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire on 17-19 August.
Pictures by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (20 laps)
1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
2 Jake Dixon (Regular & Reserve Kawasaki)
3 Peter Hickman (BMW)
4 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
5 Glenn Irwin (Ducati)
6 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (20 laps)
1 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
2 Peter Hickman (BMW)
3 Jake Dixon (Regular & Reserve Kawasaki)
4 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
5 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
6 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
Championship Standings (after seven rounds)
1 Haslam 280pts
2 Dixon 198
3 Brookes 168
4 Irwin 163
5 Ray 119
6 Buchan 111