Haslam, Crutchlow & Honda – Reunited In 2008 BSB ‘Dream-Team’
By: Gary Gas | Published 30 October 2007, 10:00 | Views: 2,021 | tags: bsb, leon haslam, cal crutchlow, honda hm planet, cbr1000rr fireblade, neil tuxworth, steve martindale
Honda Racing has announced that Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow are to join the new-look HM Plant Honda team to compete in the 2008 British Superbike championship.Honda Racing and HM Plant have won the last two British Superbike titles with Japanese ace Ryuichi Kiyonari and now they’ve put together a team of two young British stars who will be going all-out for glory from the first race of the season next year.
24-year-old Haslam from Derbyshire and 22-year-old Crutchlow from Warwickshire will both campaign the all-new CBR1000RR Fireblade on behalf of the official Honda team in the 12-round championship, which begins at Brands Hatch in Kent next April.
Haslam, who finished third in the 2007 championship, brings a wealth of experience to the Honda British Superbike team, despite his young age. He was a national motocross champion before becoming National Scooter champion in 1997 at the age of just 14.
In 2001, Haslam became the youngest ever rider to compete in the 500cc road racing world championship on a Honda NSR500V, following in the steps of his father, Ron Haslam, who raced for Honda in GPs during the 1980s.
"I’m so excited to be back with Honda on the new Fireblade in BSB," enthused Haslam. "Honda is a very big part of my family’s history and the new bike looks like a winner straight out of the crate. I just can’t wait for next season to get started."
Crutchlow was a product of the highly successful Junior Superstock series and the Virgin R6 Cup, where he finished second in 2003 before riding Honda machinery in the closely-fought British Supersport championship for a number of years.
With his Northpoint Ekerold Honda team, Cal won the 2006 British Supersport Championship on the CBR600RR and then made the leap into BSB with the Rizla Suzuki team. This season he scored his first podium at the final round at Brands Hatch and won the Mallory Park Race of the Year.
Cal’s father Derek – like Leon’s dad Ron – was also a racer, but it wasn’t certain that he was going to follow in his father’s footsteps as Cal could have become a football star after having trials for his home team of Coventry City!
"I think in my first year of being in the British Superbike series I’ve done myself proud and enjoyed it immensely," explained Crutchlow. "Moving to HM Plant Honda is a step towards wining the BSB title – which has always been my aim – so this is a fantastic opportunity. I was a winner with Honda in Supersport last year, so I’ve only had a year away from them so it’s good to be coming back home to Honda. I ended 2007 on a high with a podium and the Race of the Year win so that’s a good stepping-stone for 2008."
Honda Racing manager, Neil Tuxworth, is delighted at his latest signings, saying: "I’ve known Leon all his life and seen him develop into a very mature and committed rider. It’s hard to believe he’s still just 24 but it’s clear he’s got what Honda needs to retain the British Superbike title in 2008. With Cal we have another young rider who knows what it takes to win a championship and his determination and sheer ability have made a very big impression on me in the few years that he’s been racing."
Honda UK’s General Manager, Motorcycles, Steve Martindale says the "dream team" is fantastic news for the new Fireblade – and Honda dealers. "Achieving first and second this season has been tremendous – now we’re really looking forward to doing the double in ’08."
The new Fireblade is a really radical machine which UK fans will get their first chance to see at the NEC Show in three weeks ahead of it going on sale in the New Year. Honda dealers are especially looking forward to the new riders, added Martindale: "Many of them have a great association with the Haslam family and they have great expectations of the new Fireblade."
Place of Birth: Derbyshire, England
Date of Birth: 31st May 1983
Hometown: Smalley, Derbyshire
Marital Status: Single
First Race: Brands Hatch 1997
First Win: Silverstone 1998
1995: National Young Motocross Champion
1997: Scooter Champion at age of 14
1998: Young Rider of the Year Award – Motor Cycle News
1999: Winner Under 23 British Championship
2001: Youngest ever rider to compete in 500cc World Championship
2002: 7th in Portugal in debut season in 250cc GP class
2003: 12th in British Superbikes Championship
2004: Winner of BSB Race at Brands Hatch and named Rookie of the Year
2005: 4th in British Superbike Championship
2006: 2nd in British Superbike Championship
2007: 3rd in British Superbike Championship, four wins
Place of Birth: Coventry, England
Date of Birth: 29th October 1985
Hometown: Coventry, Warwickshire
Marital Status: Single
First Race: Darley Moor 1999
First Win: Darley Moor 1999
1999: 1st UK Junior Challenge
2000: 5th Aprilia RS125 Challenge
2001: 1st Aprilia RS125 Challenge
2002: 4th Junior Superstock Championship
2003: 2nd Yamaha R6 Cup
2004: 10th British Supersport Championship
2005: 3rd British Supersport Championship
2006: 1st British Supersport Championship, six wins
2007: 9th British Superbike Championship, one podium