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Leon Haslam profile

By Dan Moakes
October 16 2006

Leon Haslam
nationality · English
born · 31 May 1983
grand prix début · 1998
world superbike début · 2003

The ‘Pocket Rocket’, 23-year-old Leon Haslam has been on the British scene for a decade, and was a world championship rider before turning 17. In his fourth Superbike year, he is therefore more experienced than most of his senior rivals and, as well as his abundant talent, can draw on the knowledge of father ‘Rocket’ Ron - a GP regular for eight years. Leon’s career to date has taken him to all levels of the sport on the world stage, and has seen him as an international podium finisher in Superbikes, and a frequent race winner in the same class back at home. The runner-up in 2006, he will be a definite contender in 2007

Leon Haslam - photo by Carly Rathmell
Leon Haslam in 2003 ·
photo by Carly Rathmell

1991
Made schoolboy motocross début

1995
National Youth Motocross Champion

1996
National Youth Motocross Champion

1997
Gilera Scooter National Champion - 12 wins from 16 races; Honda CB500 Newcomers Cup - won the only race he entered, at the British GP meeting

1998
7th in British 125cc championship at age 15, with number 19 Honda RS125 for Honda Britain - won Knockhill, two fastest laps; 17th in 125cc Grand Prix début as wildcard at Donington Park, riding number 80

1999
5th in British 125cc championship, with number 19 Honda RS125 - four podiums, won Silverstone; British Under-23 125cc Champion; 4th in Spanish 125cc championship; 125cc GP wildcard at home - 19th riding with the number 72

2000 Italjet Moto / PRD Italjet, number 24 Italjet
Leon embarked on his first year of 125cc Grands Prix at the age of 16, joining Italjet on their return to racing. The bike had plenty of technical issues, but a wet weather race in Catalunya allowed him to get into the points for the only time, with tenth, and this amounted to 27th in the final table
He also took the same machine to 7th in the British 125cc championship, with three wins from four races in the series

2001 Shell Advance Honda, number 9 Honda
For his second GP year, Leon moved straight to the 500cc class, with the V-twin NSR Honda. He had the pace to beat the other twin riders, but found the equivalent V4 machine more of a handful after team-mate Chris Walker was dropped. The answer was to go back to the twin again, recording 11th in Brazil to add to four other points scores. His total of 13 gave him 19th overall

2002 Cibertel Honda BQR, number 19 Honda
A year in the 250s was not much easier for Leon, with his Honda not one of the more competitive machines out there. Even with a fall in the race, rain in Portugal allowed him to take his best result with seventh, and four other points results gave him 19 in total, for 18th in the table

2003 Renegade Ducati, number 91 Ducati
Leon started the year for Renegade with the number 19 Ducati 749 in British Supersport, recording three fourths and second at Knockhill. When Superbike colleague Sean Emmett was dropped, Leon was promoted to the 998 for the last six rounds. He was a top eight regular, with a fourth at Cadwell Park and two fifths. His two half-seasons left him eleventh in both championships, and with 98 Superbike points
Also raced at three events as a World Superbike wildcard, always qualifying on the third row, with a racing best of sixth twice, and scoring 35 points

Leon Haslam 2004 - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2004 Renegade Ducati Koji, number 91 Ducati
Leon had done well and was retained by his team as they moved into the World Superbike arena, with experienced Noriyuki Haga as team leader. The Englishman started by qualifying on the front row twice, but his bike then failed when leading in Australia on lap one. However, he had started out with a fifth place, and regular top fives followed across Europe, including two fourths and a third in Germany. 169 points gave him an excellent eighth overall with the 999 RS 04 machinery
Also raced as a wildcard in the British series, also with number 91, taking his Pirelli-shod bike to victory in a rain-affected Brands Hatch meeting. 19th overall with three finishes from four rides

Leon Haslam 2005 - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2005 Airwaves Ducati, number 91 Ducati
Leon got one of the best bikes as he returned to British Superbikes with the re-formed GSE Racing team. Expected team leader James Haydon could not start the season through injury, and Haslam took over with pole position for the first event. He took the Ducati 999 F04’s first UK win at Oulton Park, defeating the HM Plant Hondas for the first time, but by then new team-mate Gregorio Lavilla had beaten him home several times. The Spaniard would record several victories, and Haslam came on strong in the second half of the season, winning twice more but also running back up as Lavilla won the crown. Nineteen times in the top five meant 350 points and fourth overall, and three poles helped him to be the year’s best qualifier

Leon Haslam 2006 - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2006 Airwaves Ducati, number 91 Ducati
For the longest time, Leon went without a win in the 2006 season - but he was on the podium fourteen times from his first sixteen starts. Then he came through in difficult conditions to decisively beat Karl Harris for victory at Croft, and was right into the championship hunt with second and first at the following Cadwell round. A crash then proved costly when leading at Silverstone, but again Leon had been the best qualifier on his 999 F06, and he finished second to Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari with a strong final round performance. Scored 458 points



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