An evening with Leon Haslam

Colin Appleyard’s annual night with a star of the race track has once again proved to be a real crowd pleaser with 250 motorcycle racing enthusiasts packed into their Keighley bike showroom recently for an evening of entertainment with Leon Haslam.

Leon, son of former road racer ‘Pocket Rocket’ Ron Haslam, began racing at a very early age and was just 15 when he made his GP debut. By his late teens he had enjoyed success in both British and International championships and in 2004 rode for Ducati in World Superbikes. During his career he has been a regular front-runner in the British Superbike Championship as well as finishing runner-up in the 2010 World Superbikes. This year sees Leon return to Britain riding for the JG Swiftfit Kawasaki team. Engine failure disrupted his first race of the season at Silverstone before finishing 5th in the second race. Despite this he is confident of success as his times in free practice would have won him both races.

During the evening he delighted the audience by relating stories of his racing career from its very beginning and how he had benefited from the full support and experience of his father Ron, who now runs a race school at Donington Park. Afterwards he answered questions from the audience who teased him about being the country’s best ‘test rider’ having raced most makes of bike including BMW, Honda, Aprilia, Suzuki and now Kawasaki.

Compere for the evening was Jack Appleyard, son of Managing Director Robin Appleyard, who has now established himself as a regular commentator at British Superbike Championship race meetings.

Reflecting on the success of the evening Jack said: “What a great night! The showroom was rammed and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Our thanks go to Leon for generously giving up his time.” During the course of the evening a charity raffle and auction were held with over £1300 being raised Manorlands, the local Sue Ryder hospice which is the company’s official charity partner. The top prize in the auction was a pillion ride with Leon.