Friday, December 08, 2006

British Superbike Armchair Awards

Now it's time to reward the stars of the British Superbike Championship for their achievements during 2006.

Incredible Hulk Award
for the best display of superhuman strength
Winner: Karl Harris
Tip a couple of beers down any bike racer's neck and he'll tell you about all the times he's saved the bike from crashing by putting his knee down and lifting the machine back up. Ask for the video and you'll just hear various reasons why the camera missed it. Burly Yorkshireman Karl Harris did it for real in turn 1 at Silverstone, right in front of the TV cameras. Losing the front end, he dug his knee into the tarmac, picked the bike up, put it back on two wheels and rode off as if nothing had happened. Incredible.

¡Ay Caramba! Award
for scariest moment captured on TV
Winner: Gregorio Lavilla
Greg had a minor collision with Karl Harris at the beginning of the back straight at Brands Hatch. It wasn't until the braking zone when he found out that the collision had ripped his brake lever off. The Spanish star had no option but to hop off the bike at well over 100mph. Luckily Greg was OK, but his championship hopes were over.

Cor, Blimey Guv'nor! Award

for scariest moment not captured on TV
Winner: Shane "Shakey" Byrne
Shakey had "a bit of a moment" in a practise session for the Snetterton rounds, when a vital part of the brakes fell off. Bad enough at any time, but especially bad when you're doing 187mph at the end of a kilometre-long straight. Seeing a tyre wall approaching fast, Shakey hopped off the bike. He was knocked out, battered and bruised, but thankfully made a full recovery.

Where The Hell Did You Come From? Award
for appearing from nowhere and winning a race
Winner: Leon Haslam
The weather for race 2 at Croft was horrific, with everybody tippy-toeing around the track. Leon Haslam was in 11th place on lap 1. Karl Harris pulled out a good lead, and looked a dead cert for the victory. That was until Haslam decided that he could go a second a lap faster than everybody else. And he did. He started the last lap 1.4 seconds behind Karl Harris, and incredibly passed him for the victory, setting fastest lap as he took the chequered flag. A stunning way to take his first victory of the year.

Dukes of Hazzard Award
for most spectacular jump
Winner: Shane "Shakey" Byrne
I'm not sure if Shakey yelled "yeeee-harrr!" when his bike took off over the mountain at Cadwell Park, but it was an amazing sight as he flew through the air all crossed up, and swerved all over the place when he landed. Just to even things out, Lady Luck made him fall off a couple of laps later. Such is life.

The Terminator Award
for using the least number of words on the way to a title
Winner: Ryuichi Kiyonari
He might not speak much English, but he does at least have a huge smile on his face after a good result. With 11 victories this year, he was smiling a lot. Like the Terminator, he was unstoppable. The young Japanese rider has gained a huge number of fans in Britain for his outright speed and guts in the last couple of years. A worthy champion.

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