Jake Dixon and the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team battled hard at round nine of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone over the weekend and an 11th podium of the season sees them now head into the final three round Showdown.
Having placed second quickest in the dry conditions on Friday, Jake was equally comfortable in the damp on Saturday and after placing third quickest in the morning’s final practice session, he duly qualified in second place for the first of the weekend’s three races.
A good start to the 30-lap race saw him complete the opening lap in second place and here he remained until lap four when he was promoted into the lead after early pace setter Bradley Ray crashed out. By lap seven, he’d slipped back to second and by half race distance this had become fourth as he struggled for grip.
Championship leader Leon Haslam then pushed him back to fifth and although he rallied in the final third to close to within a second of the lead, he had to settle for fifth place at the chequered flag.
With the fastest lap of the race though, he started Sunday’s first 30 lap race from pole position and immediately slotted into the top three. On this occasion, he had no issues with grip and at half race distance he moved up into second, which soon became the lead four laps later. The 22-year old led until lap 24 when Haslam overtook him, but he moved back into the lead on lap 27 when his fellow Kawasaki rider was instructed to drop back a place after an earlier coming together with Bradley Ray.
He pushed Jake back to second on the penultimate lap, but just when it looked like second place would make up for Saturday’s result he slid off on oil on the final lap with just two corners to go.
Back in seventh on the grid for the third and final race of the weekend, Jake dropped back to ninth in the early stages which gave him plenty of work to do but he soon moved forward, climbing into the top six for the first time on lap six. With just five laps to go, he took over third place in what was another pulsating race and that was where he ultimately finished to finish the weekend on a high.
The third place saw Jake add another single podium credit to his total as the series now heads into the final three-round Showdown, where the points are reset at 500 with each rider’s podium credits added. This means he now has a total of 523 points, 45 adrift of Haslam with seven races remaining.
Jake Dixon: "It's been quite a tough weekend as although our one lap pace was excellent, we couldn’t string it all together for the full race distance. We were struggling in a few areas at a circuit which probably didn’t suit the Kawasaki as well as some of the other bikes. Fifth in race one was ok but the crash was completely out of our hands due to the oil and it was disappointing that there weren’t any oil flags being displayed.
"The penally that Leon received didn't seem to be executed very well and going from first to second didn’t hinder him at all. It is what it is so I had to come out fighting in the third and final race to try and salvage something from the weekend which I did with third place. The team have done a great job all weekend but we just need to improve in a few areas to give ourselves the best chance possible of winning the title."
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “The weekend hasn’t been too bad but at the same time we were all hoping for more from the three races. We had good pace but race one saw Jake struggle for grip in the middle of the race only for it to come back towards the end so whilst fifth was ok it wasn’t what we needed with Leon winning again. The second race looked like it would give us a good second place but I wasn’t happy with the way the penalty was executed as Leon should have dropped from third to fourth not first to second, so essentially he wasn’t really penalised.
“To make matters worse there were no oil flags being displayed after Peter Hickman’s bike expired so it was a frustrating outcome to say the least. Jake did manage to salvage a podium in the final race thankfully and it was a good ride into third after dropping back to ninth at the beginning. Leon has a substantial lead going into the showdown but there’s everything to play for and Oulton is a strong track for us so we’ll be looking to get it underway in the best fashion possible.”
The next round, the first of the Showdown, takes place in less than a week’s time at Oulton Park, Cheshire on September 14-16.