Leon Haslam won the most prestigious accolade of his career to date yesterday when he was voted Man of the Year at the MCN Awards.
The award, which is voted for by MCN readers, has an impressive list of previous winners including John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giagomo Agostini and 2005 winner Valentino Rossi. Two ex GSE riders Neil Hodgson and James Toseland are also previous winners of the award. Leon follows in his dad, Ron's, footsteps as he was awarded Man of the Year in 1981.
Leon collected his award at the National Motorcycle Museum last night in a ceremony which recognised his achievements with Airwaves Ducati this year. 2006 was Leon's most successful season with a second place finish in the championship, 18 podium finishes including 3 wins and the Audi Performance award for the fastest qualifying times.
Leon has been a crowd favourite this season, providing what was widely appreciated as the best race of the year at Croft when he closed a 9 second gap on Karl Harris to take his first win of the season. Last night he expressed his surprise and happiness at being named Man of the Year attributing much of his success to his fans and their support saying,
"I am over the moon! I have had so much support from the fans this year and I was gutted that I didn't win the championship for them, so knowing this award has been voted for by MCN readers makes it even more special. The reception I got from the fans at Brands Hatch was so amazing and I am really grateful to them for all their support, winning this award makes up for not winning the title for me, but it also makes me want it even more next year. I want to thank everyone for their support, especially the fans, the team, GSE Group, Wrigley's Airwaves and all of our sponsors who have played such a big part in my successes this season.