Leon Haslam and Jake Dixon locked horns in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Assen as the leading title contenders fought to the chequered flag for the victory with Tarran Mackenzie claiming another top three finish.
At the start of the race Dixon had initially launched into the lead onboard the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki but Mackenzie was on a mission to hit the front, which he did with a move up the inside on the opening lap with Haslam in third.
As Mackenzie held the lead at the front, Peter Hickman moved into fourth with a move on Christian Iddon into the chicane at the end of lap one. The leading four later edged out a breakaway charge with Hickman then moving ahead of Dixon on lap four, but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki was instantly shoved back ahead.
Haslam wasn’t going to settle though and he waited a lap later to make a decisive move on Hickman into the final chicane to move into third with Mackenzie and Dixon ahead of him. The leading pair in the title standings were then inseparable with Haslam gaining the position on lap ten to put his main rival back into third.
Haslam hit the front of the pack with three laps remaining as he fired the JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of Mackenzie, but the McAMS Yamaha rookie wasn’t settling for that and made a hard move back into the lead. The championship leader was then back ahead as the pack hit the final chicane.
Haslam then held off Dixon, who had moved into second on the penultimate lap but despite his best efforts he was unable to stop the hard-charging Haslam who claimed his first victory of the Showdown.
Mackenzie held onto fourth despite an attack from Hickman in the closing stages on the Smiths Racing BMW with Glenn Irwin holding an isolated fifth place ahead of an impressive Tommy Bridewell after his huge crash yesterday.
Bridewell had got the better of the Jason O’Halloran and Christian Iddon in the closing stages with Showdown contender Josh Brookes climbing from twelfth to ninth with James Ellison completing the top ten for Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Assen, Race one result:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +0.086s
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +1.679s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +2.059s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +6.333s
- Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati) +8.130s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +8.746s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +9.101s
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) +11.020s
- James Ellison (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +11.415s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Assen Race 1:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 629
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 593
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 541
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 537
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 533
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 524