BSB Round 11 - Assen
The MCE British Superbike Championship ventured across to the Netherlands for the penultimate round of the year, mixed fortunes awaiting the BMW S 1000 RR riders at the TT Circuit Assen.
As has now become a BSB tradition, The Cathedral of Speed hosted the penultimate round of the 2017 season – a year in which the most unexpected of events have happened at each and every round. This fact was no different in the Netherlands, wild weather hitting the paddock for the third straight round.
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) was able to flaunt his wet-weather ability and landed a front row start for the first race of the weekend. Conditions were as trying as ever as his teammate for the round, Josh Elliott (Tyco BMW) soon learnt. The former Superstock 1000 champion was thrown from his BMW S 1000 RR during Superpole, but a combination of skill and luck saw the Irish rider able to stay upright – executing the save of the year in the process. Despite the rodeo ride, Elliott took seventh on the grid – a career best for the fast-learning rookie.
Race One at Assen was as eventful as all the previous BSB rounds and as always Iddon proved to be amongst the best starters. The Tyco BMW rider, who announced this weekend he will remain with the Northern Irish squad in 2018, was up and into podium contention as the lights went out.
Unfortunately, a mistake from Iddon saw him drop to the back of the leading group several laps into the race. A crash followed as Iddon tried his best to make up lost ground, the rules preventing him from restarting after the fall. Disappointingly, Elliot dropped back from his grid spot as the race progressed and was only able to finish in 19th. The rookie is continuing to learn and adapt to the BMW S 1000 RR in Superbike spec, and his performance in Superpole proves a solid result is just around the corner.
Showdown contender Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) did his best to stay with his rivals, a seventh-place finish keeping his championship ambitions alive for at least another race. Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW), Martin Jessopp (RidersMotorcycle BMW) and Jakub Smrz (Lloyd & Jones PR Racing BMW) enjoyed an intense battle further down the field.
Saturday’s mixed conditions were no more as the field lined up for Race Two on Sunday afternoon. Eyes were fixed on Hickman, the Road Racing star needing a top-ten result to keep his championship hopes alive. A sixth place finish is exactly what was needed, Hickman finishing ahead of Jake Dixon after an interesting second race in Assen.
Iddon was able to recover from his Race One crash to return to the top ten, scoring eight points for eighth. With Luke Mossey suffering a difficult weekend, Iddon takes another step towards lifting the Riders’ Cup at Brands Hatch but is chased closely by Ellison.
After all was said and done, Hickman maintains fifth in the championship. 549 points have the Smiths Racing BMW rider some 63 points off championship leader Haslam, the title still a mathematical possibility with the final round at Brands Hatch a triple-header.
Meanwhile the battle for the Riders’ Cup continues to rage, Iddon just two points clear of James Ellison. BSB remains one of the closest Superbike championships in the world, just a handful of points dividing multiple riders on both sides of the Showdown. Don’t miss the final round of the year, the Brands hatch triple-header raging from the 13th to 15th of October.