It was second time lucky for the re-run of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship season opener at Brands Hatch today. The glorious sunshine saw the Bennetts Babes sunbathing and eating ice cream in stark contrast to the snowball fight that the girls enjoyed here five weeks ago when the weather stopped play. With qualifying positions from the first event still in place, the scene was set for two more exciting Bennetts BSB showdowns. Shane Byrne and Cal Crutchlow enjoyed one win apiece for the second time this season with Byrne fighting his way back from a bad start in race one to claim the victory and further cement his championship lead. He was followed past the chequered flag by Tom Sykes and Crutchlow respectively. Race two was equally dramatic with a HM Plant Honda one-two for the first part of the second race until Leon Haslam ran straight on at Surtees before rejoining the field in 11th place. Sykes and Byrne set about hunting down Crutchlow but the entrance of the safety car on to the circuit calmed proceedings for four laps. The pair seemed equally determined to steal the race lead when the car entered the pits but a Sykes highside brought out the red flag. Crutchlow was declared race winner ahead of Byrne and team-mate Leon Camier. The action was witnessed by Bennetts British Superbike enthusiast Jodie Marsh. Race one result: 1. S. Byrne 29:24.345; 2. T. Sykes +1.855; 3. C. Crutchlow +3.111 Race two result: 1. C. Crutchlow 30:31.299; 2. S. Byrne +0.110; 3. L. Camier +0.748 Championship standings: 1. Byrne 140; 2. Crutchlow 96; 3. Camier 83; 4. Ellison 64; 5. Haslam 56; 6. Rutter 55; 7=. Easton 52; 7=. Laverty 52; 9. Sykes 49; 10. Palmer 29 More, from a press release issued by NW200 Ducati: Mixed Weekend for NW200 Ducati It was a mixed weekend for the NW200 Ducati team at the rescheduled Brands Hatch round. In completely contrasting weather conditions from the cancelled race in April the two riders Michael Rutter and John Laverty secured varying results in the two 20-lap Bennetts British Superbike races. Rutter on the Ducati F08 was unfortunate to crash out of race one but secured a solid fifth place in race two, team-mate John Laverty on the Ducati 1098 R took a third and a confident win in the two Daily Star Cup races in glorious sunshine at the Kent circuit. With the qualifying positions already decided at the original round Rutter lined up on the grid in seventh place and John Laverty first in the Daily Star Cup (14th overall). Two 30-minute sessions yesterday did not give the riders the ideal time they required to get the two bikes set up properly for the races. Rutter crashed out of race one on lap 13 whilst battling for seventh place with James Ellison. A strong start by Rutter was short lived when he was blocked into the first corner, Paddock Hill Bend, pushing him back to 11th after the opening lap. Fighting hard Rutter looked good and was consistently running fast times but lost the front going into Surtees, cutting his race short. In the second race Rutter gained and awesome start and was fourth into the first corner. A charging Shakey Byrne and Leon Camier managed to find away past the North West 200 rider by the end of the fifth lap but the West Midlands based rider dug deep and fought his way back through to fifth. Tom Sykes blew an engine on lap 19 and the race was red-flagged and a race result was declared. The 36-year-old, who is preparing for the North West 200 this forthcoming week, is still sitting in fourth place in the overall Championship. Michael Rutter commented “I’d been struggling a bit with the front end during free practice yesterday, due to the short sessions we had, it was hard to find the problem and try and rectify them fully. I was pushing hard in the first race as I could see the leaders getting away. After getting blocked into the first corner I think I was riding a little harder than normal and just tucked the front end going into Surtees. The second race was much better and I got a great start and was eager to finish and keep a good position in the Championship. I could see the leading pack making a gap but I wanted to secure a solid result for the team, I’m a bit disappointed but I still got some good points in the second race and have a good position in the Championship. I leave for the North West tomorrow so it’s a busy few weeks, the North West is one event in the year that I really look forward to and this year would be a great year for me to get some good results there with the team’s association with the event.” John Laverty on the Buildbase Ducati further extended his lead in the Daily Star Cup Championship today by 39-points from his nearest rival Martin Jessopp. Laverty took two solid podium finishes including the race win in the second race. After crashing during the second practice session yesterday Laverty missed out on valuable track time as he currently only has bike to compete on. Laverty was locked in a tight scrap for second in the cup in race one with Martin Jessopp who is riding the ex Stobart Honda, only 0.8 separated the pair as they crossed the line with Jessopp making a pass on Laverty on the final lap. Race two was a different matter for the Ulsterman, feeling happier on the bike he rode a strong and confident race and was dicing in a battle of 11 riders for ninth place overall. Fending off the challenges from Aaron Zanotti and Luke Quigley he took his fourth win from six races and 13th overall in the main Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Speaking with John Laverty he said “I was really annoyed with myself after the first race as I just couldn’t get comfortable on the bike. I’m still running the Metzeler front tyres and they are really difficult to ride on. Plus with me still being on a stock bike I don’t have the same specifications on my bike as the other cup riders, I have different forks and also a smaller radiator, which in the boiling hot conditions today my bike was getting too hot and causing me to lose power. I struggled in race one but I’m much happier about my second race result and once again I’ve pulled an extra advantage in the overall Cup Championship. I’m looking forward to Donington in a few weeks time as it’s a track I like a lot and hopefully I’ll be able to get some good results there too.” Race 1 Result 1 Byrne Ducati 2 Sykes Suzuki 3 Crutchlow Honda Race 1 Cup Result 1 Burns MV Agusta 2 Jessopp Honda 3 Laverty Buildbase Ducati Race 2 Result 1 Crutchlow Honda 2 Byrne Ducati 3 Camier Ducati 4 M Laverty Suzuki 5 Rutter North West 200 Ducati Race 2 Cup Result 1 J Laverty Buildbase Ducati 2 Quigley Suzuki 3 Jessopp Honda Championship Points Byrne 140 Crutchlow 96 Camier 83 Rutter 66 Cup Championship Points Laverty 126 Jessopp 87 Burns 81 More, from a press release issued by British Superbike Championship organizers: Byrne and Crutchlow take the victories in more dramatic action BENNETTS BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP Brands Hatch Sunday 11 May 2008 Cal Crutchlow powered through the pain barrier to take third place, adrift of Shane Byrne and Tom Sykes, and then took a victory in the re-scheduled round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch. The HM Plant Honda rider sustained a dislocated right ankle and ligament damage in a crash in the Holiday Monday round at Oulton Park and was passed fit to race after lengthy treatment by the Coventry City physio and series’ medics. He had started alongside Byrne at the front of the grid the positions had been decided five weeks earlier at the snow aborted opening round, and in total contrast the races were fought out over a sun-drenched Kent grand prix circuit. Crutchlow made the early running ahead of Tom Sykes aboard the Rizla Suzuki with Byrne running third, though a rare mistake by the former champion as he ran wide at Westfields left him having to make up time. He put in a series of fast laps to reel them back in and was running second at two thirds distance and soon Crutchlow was beginning to feel the heat. “I felt comfortable enough even though we were running at a hard pace,” explained Byrne. “I’d just taken Sykes but ran ride and I thought to myself you are an idiot. But a few quick laps towards the end got it back and I took the victory ahead of him.” He finished 1.855secs clear with Crutchlow third from his team-mate Leon Haslam with Leon Camier running ahead of James Ellison and the MSS Discovery Kawasaki duo of Stuart Easton and Billy McConnell. Chris Burns won the Daily Star Cup section on his MV Agusta, finishing ahead of Martin Jessopp and John Laverty. Haslam charged clear at the start of the second race with, as the race settled into a pattern, Crutchlow, Sykes and Byrne in hot pursuit but just before half-distance the leader made an error, running straight on at Surtees and dropping back to eleventh place. Crutchlow was ahead with Sykes closing in on him and Byrne catching fast but just into the final third of the race, Malcolm Ashley crashed heavily and the Audi Safety Car was introduced while marshals and medics dealt with the incident. That bunched the pack, with Byrne who had moved second just as the flags came out, instructed to drop back into third place, behind Sykes to avoid the risk of any penalty. The Safety Car was withdrawn after half a dozen laps, with Race Control extending that scheduled race distance from 20 to 23 laps, but within a lap of the action resuming for real, the red-flags were out. Sykes went tumbling, without injury, as his Suzuki bucked wildly out of line amid a cloud of oil smoke, the engine blown and spraying oil over the track. Crutchlow took the victory, reflecting: “If you’d said a couple of days ago I would have done this I would have laughed I was glad to see the red-flags to stop the race as Shakey was challenging hard, but I hung on.” Byrne was just 0.110secs down on him, while Camier ran third ahead of Michael Laverty, Michael Rutter, and Haslam while victory in the Daily Star Cup went to Buildbase NW200 Ducati rider John Laverty, ahead of Luke Quigley and Martin Jessopp. Results – Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Race one 1 Shane Byrne (Airwaves Ducati) 29m 24.345s, 93.89mph 2. Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) +1.855s 3. Cal Crutchlow (HM Plant Honda) +3.111s 4. Leon Haslam (HM Plant Honda) +3.887s 5. Leon Camier (Airwaves Ducati) +4.996s 6. James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +15.815s 7. Stuart Easton (MSS Discovery Kawasaki) +16.645s 8. Billy McConnell (MSS Discovery Kawasaki) +26.446s 9. Simon Andrews (Lloyds British Jentin Racing) +30.384s 10. Tristan Palmer (Tena for Men Honda) +33.728s Race two 1. Cal Crutchlow (HM Plant Honda) 2. Shane Byrne (Airwaves Ducati) +0.110s 3. Leon Camier (Airwaves Ducati) +0.748s 4. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +2.221s 5. Michael Rutter (North West 200 Ducati) +2.906s 6. Leon Haslam (HM Plant Honda) +3.097s 7. Stuart Easton (MSS Discovery Kawasaki) +3.121s 8. James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +4.147s 9. Billy McConnell (MSS Discovery Kawasaki) +1 lap 10. Scott Smart (Hawk Kawasaki) + 1 lap Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings: 1. Shane Byrne (Airwaves Ducati) 140 2. Cal Crutchlow (HM Plant Honda) 96 3. Leon Camier (Airwaves Ducati) 83 4. Michael Rutter (North West 200 Ducati) 66 5. James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 64 More, from a press release issued by Hydrex Bike Animal Honda: SOLID POINTS FOR ELLISON AND MARTIN AT BRANDS In totally contrasting conditions to the snow that caused the postponement of round one of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship five weeks ago, the rescheduled races took place at Brands Hatch today in glorious conditions and it saw Hydrex Bike Animal Honda riders James Ellison and Guy Martin score more solid points. Languishing well down the grid after problems in the initial qualifying session back in April, Ellison rocketed through to run with the leading bunch in the 20-lap opening race in front of another bumper Brands Hatch crowd. After a good performance, Ellison ended up sixth which he followed up in the second leg, which was stopped early due to oil being deposited on the track, with an eighth place finish to end up in fifth place in the Championship standings. Meanwhile Martin overcame a crash in practice on his Honda Fireblade to finish thirteenth in the opening race which he followed up with a battling twelfth place finish in race two to move him to fourteenth place in the Championship but more importantly, to set him up for next week’s big North West 200 road race which takes place in Northern Ireland. James Ellison: “I’m a bit disappointed really, we made a few changes with the bike and the pace was a bit better but the problem we had didn’t really disappear so we haven’t really gained too much from it. The pace car came out for a long time in the second race and the tyres went cold and I couldn’t get any heat back in them and then I got snagged up in a couple of places also. We’ll get some testing done and I like Donington Park so hopefully we can get sorted and get back on the podium again where we should be.” Guy Martin: “This weekend was really a case of getting the job done and damage limitation and we just wanted to collect a few points and keep myself and the bike in one piece ready for the North West next week and that’s exactly what we’ve done. I’m happy with the bike now and I just need to take it from here really. It’s onwards and upwards and God loves a trier.” Shaun Muir (Team Owner): “I’m happy with the results overall. Guy is happy with his settings now and he knows where he needs to be. I would have been happier if the pace car hadn’t come out in the second race as James was just starting to catch up and I feel he could have got a fifth place, but he’s fifth overall in the Championship and we’ve got a bit of breathing space now to do a bit of testing and overall we’re happy.” The Championship action moves on to Donington Park in two weeks time where both riders will be looking to increase their points tally and Ellison in particular will be looking to maintain his standing of second placed Honda in the Championship behind Shane Byrne (Ducati), Cal Crutchlow (Honda), Leon Camier (Ducati) and Michael Rutter (Ducati). Martin, meanwhile, starts as one of the favourites for next week’s Kennedy International North West 200 which gets underway with Tuesday evening practice followed by a second practice and qualifying on Thursday with the races taking place on Saturday. Superbike Race One Result 1, Shane Byrne (Ducati) 29m24.345s, 2, Tom Sykes (Suzuki) +1.855s, 3, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +3.111s, 4, Leon Haslam (Honda) +3.887s, 5, Leon Camier (Ducati) +4.996s, 6, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +15.815s, 7, Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +16.645s, 8, Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +26.446s, 9, Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +30.384s, 10, Tristan Palmer (Honda) +33.728s. 13, Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +42.465s. Superbike Race Two Result 1, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 30m31.299s, 2, Shane Byrne (Ducati) +0.110s, 3, Leon Camier (Ducati) +0.748s, 4, Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +2.221s, 5, Michael Rutter (Ducati) +2.906s, 6, Leon Haslam (Honda) +3.097s, 7, Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +3.121s, 8, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +4.147s, 9, Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +1lap, 10, Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +1lap. 12, Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +1lap. More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service: Tom Sykes scored a well-deserved podium second place today for Rizla Suzuki during the Brands Hatch GP round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. In the opening race, starting from fourth place on the front row of the grid at the 2.3-mile long Kent circuit, he battled with Ducati’s Shane Byrne, eventually finishing a close runner-up. He was in second position again in race two with only a handful of laps to go, when he crashed out unscathed due to a mechanical issue. The race was won by Cal Crutchlow. Rizla Suzuki’s Atsushi Watanabe took a determined 12th place finish in race one at the Kent track, as the two times Japanese Champion continues to find his feet in the highly-competitive British Superbike Championship. His second race ended early when he was forced to retire. The fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship will take place at Donington Park on Monday, May 26th. Tom Sykes: “The podium in race one has been a long time coming. My Rizla Suzuki technicians worked really hard and I’m pleased I was able to repay them with some champagne. As for race two, it was just unfortunate as I had the pace to win but crashed out due to a mechanical failure. I don’t want to dwell on the incident as we have had a lot of positives this weekend. I just want to get on my Rizla Suzuki at Donington Park and finish both races on the podium. I know we are capable of that.” Atsushi Watanabe: “It has been a difficult weekend. I want a better result than 12th place but I am improving all the time and my team is working well. Our next race is at Donington Park which I visited with John Reynolds so I know where the track goes – now all I need to do is be fast.” Jack Valentine – Team Manager Rizla Suzuki: “I’m thrilled with the podium finish which Tom secured in race one. That is where we want to be, where we feel we should be and in Tom’s case, what he deserves. He rode a very mature race and I know there is more to come from him. As for race two, Tom crashed out at high speed due to a mechanical problem. Thankfully he walked away unhurt – he’ll be back stronger than ever and fighting for podiums. “Atsu also had a tough weekend but overall he put in a good effort at a challenging circuit. He has already visited Donington Park on a track day and it is more like the circuits he is used to in Japan, so we are hoping for a top 10 result.” Race one results: 1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 29:24.345 2: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) +1.855 3: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +3.111 4: Leon Haslam (Honda) +3.887 5: Leon Camier (Ducati) +4.996 6: James Ellison (Honda) +15.815 7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +16.645 8: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +26.446 9: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +30.384 10: Tristan Palmer (Honda) +33.728 12: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) +35.187 Race two results: 1: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 30:31.299 2: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +0.110 3: Leon Camier (Ducati) +0.748 4: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +2.221 5: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +2.906 6: Leon Haslam (Honda) +3.097 7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +3.121 8: James Ellison (Honda) +4.147 9: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +1 lap 10: Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +1 lap DNF: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) DNF: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) Championship standings: (after three of 12 rounds) 1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 140 2: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 96 3: Leon Camier (Ducati) 83 4: James Ellison (Honda) 64 5: Leon Haslam (Honda) 56 6: Michael Rutter (Ducati) 55 7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) 52 8: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 52 9: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) 49 10: Tristan Palmer (Honda) 29 15: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) 16.
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