Race 1 - Emmett Wins First Rockingham BSB Race
Sean Emmett, riding the Reve Red Bull Ducati, has won the first ever British Superbike Championship race at Rockingham Motor Speedway. The race was run in two parts after Steve Hislop crashed heavily at the first corner bringing the red flags out on lap 10 of the 20 lap race.
Emmett led the pack away at the start with pole position holder dropping down the field to end the opening lap in 6th. Emmett and teammate John Reynolds were nose to tail for the first two laps, with Reynolds making a move on Emmett on lap 3 to move into the lead.
Emmett then started to lose ground as first Michael Rutter and James Haydon moved ahead of the Ducati rider on lap 4. Hislop then started to move back towards the front, passing Emmett for 4th place and then closing the gap to James Haydon within half a lap. Privateer Shane Byrne then lost control of his machine on the fourth corner, forcing the Suzuki rider into retirement.
On lap 6 Hislop moved ahead of Haydon with Emmett also finding a burst of speed to get ahead of Haydon's Yamaha. However, Haydon fought back and retook the position from Emmett at the hairpin.
John Crawford then went off at the first corner, bringing the safety car out onto the track while the marshals cleared the track. Crawford was fine and after two laps behind the pace car racing commenced. Hislop, now in second, closed right up behind Reynolds and as the two leading bikes exited the first corner Hislop appeared to clip the rear of Reynold's Ducati. Hislop went down and both rider and machine slid into the recticel barriers. The race was red flagged as the medical staff attended to Steve Hislop, taking the Ducati rider to the circuit medical centre.
The race was restarted over 11 laps with the result decided on a aggregate of the two race starts. At the start Reynolds lost out to Emmett and Rutter but was still classified as the leader as the score board took the first part of the race into account. Emmett and Rutter moved away from the rest of the field as Reynolds came under pressure from Paul Brown. On lap 18 Emmett had a moment at turn 4 as the bike bucked underneath him, allowing Rutter to move into the lead for the first time. Emmett fought back and on the last lap he retook the lead with a brilliant out braking manouver at the Hairpin. However Michael Rutter wasn't about to give up on his first win of the season and at the very last corner the Kawasaki moved alongside the Ducati but was forced to back off as Emmett closed the door to take his first win of the 2001 season. John Reynolds brought his Ducati home to take the final podium position.
Sean Emmett was pleased to take the winners garland, "I'm pleased for the team and for my boys! It is very nice to win the first Superbike race at Rockingham." <pre> Provisional Result - Round 23 British Superbike Championship
1 - 5 - Sean EMMETT - Ducati - 24:16.448 - 20 Laps 2 - 9 - Michael RUTTER - Kawasaki - +0.255s 3 - 3 - John REYNOLDS - Ducati - +9.486s 4 - 34 - Paul BROWN - Ducati - +16.297s 5 - 4 - James HAYDON - Yamaha - +35.094s 6 - 19 - Lee JACKSON (P) - Yamaha - +39.711s
Fastest Lap - Michael RUTTER - 1:10.629s - 88.70mph P - Shane BYRNE - 1:12.378s - 86.56mph
Weather - Cloudy / Damp
</pre> Race 2 - Michael Rutter Takes Last Gasp Victory in Second BSB Race
Over 18,000 fans packed into Rockingham Motor Speedway to witness Kawasaki's Michael Rutter taking the chequered flag after a nail biting finish that saw the lead change hands three times in the last couple of laps.
John Crawford got the best start as the lights turned green to start the second British Superbike race, but Rutter moved ahead of the Suzuki rider on the run into turn 2. Then Sean Emmett and John Reynolds slotted in behind Rutter and for lap after lap these three riders circulated around the 1.75 mile Rockingham Superbike circuit in line astern, opening up a gap to 4th placed James Haydon.
On lap 11 Reynolds passed his teammate at the Hairpin and set about catching the leading Kawasaki. Reynolds was visably trying every trick in the book as his Ducati was bucking and sliding around underneath him as the leaders crossed the line to start the 16th lap. As the two riders entered the last chicane Reynolds dived to the inside and the Kawasaki and Ducati were side by side, and there wasn't a glimmer of light between the two machines. Reynolds managed to make the move stick and he took the lead as they crossed the line for the 16th time. Emmett followed his teammate to take 2nd place from Rutter in the first corner, but the Kawasaki rider wasn't finished yet.
On the penultimate lap a gaggle of backmarkers played right into Rutter's hand and he seized his opportunity to retake the lead at the Hairpin, moving from 3rd to 1st in one swift move. However, the Kawasaki ran wide on the exit and Reynolds dived through to retake the lead as the three leading riders started the final lap.
The three machines were nose to tail as they exited the first corner, with Rutter getting the better run into turn 2. Rutter dived to the inside and made the move stick to take the lead once again. With the two Ducati's swarming all over him, Michael Rutter kept his cool to take the chequered flag, celebrating by pulling a wheelie as he crossed the line. "I'm over moon, really speechless!" was the only comment a smiling Michael Rutter could make as he accepted the winners trophy. <pre> Provisional Race Result - 20 laps
1 - 9 - Michael RUTTER - Kawasaki - 25:58.837s 2 - 3 - John REYNOLDS - Ducati - +0.187s 3 - 5 - Sean EMMETT - Ducati - +0.572s 4 - 4 - James HAYDON - Yamaha - +32.768s 5 - 11 - Shane BYRNE (P) - Suzuki - +37.636s 6 - 34 - Paul BROWN - Ducati - +57.116s
- Michael RUTTER - 1:16.443s - 81.96mph P - Shane BYRNE - 1:18.615s - 79.69mph
Weather - Cloudy / Damp