BSB | Lee Hardy: “It’s not over yet”

BSB reporter, Michael Burton
By Michael Burton

MichaelBurton94  BSB reporter, bike lover, born in the wrong era, britpop music worshipper and works in marketing for Club Doncaster

RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki team owner Lee Hardy said he was ‘gutted’ as he left the TT Circuit Assen, after a technical issue forced rider Jake Dixon to retire from race two.

Dixon picked up a podium in the opening race of the weekend, finishing second to his closest rival in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which kept his hopes alive of toppling Haslam at the top of the table. 

Although, as he went in pursuit of the then race leader Peter Hickman in the afternoon’s second race the 22-year-old lost power with his machine, and was forced to retire from the race. 

Leon Haslam grabbed the victory, leaving a tearful Dixon to watch on and his team boss Lee Hardy told us that both he, and Dixon are disappointed and upset with what went on during race two.
 

 

Dixon
“I’m gutted to be honest, Jake’s pace was really good in race two and he said he felt really strong and he could have gone at any point,” an emotional Hardy told BikeSocial. 

“He was just chipping away to chase down Pete, we always knew he would drop off with the SC0 tyre and it was just a waiting game. Like I say it’s gutting, Leon had an engine go at Oulton Park and we’ve had ours today in the race, so it’s 1-1 in that sort of sense. 

“You can’t take it away from the guys at MSS Performance who do the engines, they do a great job and we’ve not had one go all year, it’s nobody’s fault it’s going to happen in racing and it will happen at some point. 

“We’ve just got to re-group for Brands, go and do what we normally do, go and enjoy it and try and win some races.”

The gap between the two at the top is now 61 points, although 75 are still available at the final round at Brands Hatch, all Haslam needs to do to collect his first British crown is finish on the podium in the first of three races. 

But, it isn’t over yet and that is exactly what Hardy told Dixon following the disaster at Assen. 2017 saw Haslam head into the final three races with a healthy lead, but disaster struck, with Leon failing to score points in the last two races leaving Shane Byrne to collect the crown.
 

 

Jake Dixon BSB 2018
And Hardy was quick to remind Dixon of that in the aftermath of the technical issue, and knows that mathematically, the title still isn’t decided.

“I said that to him after the race, he came in and he was distraught, he was in tears and the first thing I said was ‘it’s not over’ and anything can happen. 

“You don’t wish bad luck on anyone though, we are 61 points behind with 75 left on the table so you can’t say it is over, because mathematically it isn’t over. 

“But, like I say it will take a large amount of bad luck to make it possible. To look at it, it’s a long way out of reach but we’ll re-group, we go to Brands with the possibility that we can still do it, and we’ll go about our work the same way that we have done all year and we’ll see what we can achieve.”
 

 

Lee Hardy Racing

The RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki team are one of many privateer outfits on the Bennetts British Superbike grid, and competing against the factory backed JG Speedfit squad has been a tough ask. 

But, Hardy said no matter what support his team receives from the manufacturer, it’s been a year to remember. 

“At the moment it’s probably the wrong time to talk about that because at the moment you reflect on the bad things, but when we get home we’ll re-group. 

“We’ve had that feeling all year, the team has done fantastic job and the sponsors we have onboard they’re all a part of this journey aswell, and without them we couldn’t do this. 

“We are a small team, we go about our business the right way, we don’t concentrate on the things we don’t need to concentrate on and we make sure the effort we put in is 100%. 

“Like I say it’s been a fantastic year, it’s just a shame with Jake going next year that he couldn’t have gone with being Champion. We aren’t talking negatively it’s just a long way out of reach, but anything can happen, there is a possibility that we could still do it.”

 

 

Jake Dixon BSB crew

It was an emotional time for Dixon and Hardy, who showed their dismay clearly on Sunday afternoon, with the pair breaking into tears as he returned to the garage. 

But Hardy admitted that he wasn’t afraid to show his emotion, something that he feels isn’t portrayed enough in the Bennetts British Superbike paddock. 

“People don’t want to try and show their emotions, but we did. Both me and Jake had a hug and tear together because like I say I want it as much as him, and he wants it as much as me. 

“I think that’s a big problem with a lot of the teams in the paddock, they aren’t prepared to show their emotions and sometimes with that the riders don’t always feel 100% they don’t have the support behind them. 

“We’ve had 10 or 20 seconds of emotions between us, like I say we’ll continue to re-group and we will concentrate going forward to Brands.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Dixon will head to the Moto2 World Championship as the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Champion, but with the maths stacking against him and the consistency of Haslam, it is looking more and more unlikely he’ll lift the trophy. 

Tickets for the final round of the 2018 season are available from brandshatch.msv.com with prices starting from £38 for full weekend admission.

  

  

Dixon and Haslam
British Eurosport Race 2 Highlights
Disaster for Jake Dixon in Assen as a technical problem put him out of race two.

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