Monday, June 30, 2008

BSB: Rain Raises Pulses at Mallory

This year's BSB Ducati-fest continued at Mallory Park with a pair of those bloody 1098's taking the victories. Fortunately, only one of them was Shakey Byrne, although he preserved his record of finishing no lower than 2nd. The other was Michael Rutter, who took a brilliant win in dodgy conditions for race two.

Shane "Shakey" Byrne is completely dominating the British Superbike championship this year. He's on the best bike, he's a noted Ducati specialist and he's having all the luck that seemed to have deserted him in previous years. Byrne hates the Mallory Park track, which is a Mickey Mouse twisty little thing with a lot of 1st gear work that is better suited to a Mini-Moto than a superbike. Doesn't stop him going quick there, though.

In race one, Shakey was well down the pecking order, but gradually hauled everybody in. He made a bit of an ambitious move at the hairpin, getting squished by Laverty on the Relentless Suzuki and ending up completely stationary leant against the wall on the inside of the corner. When he took the lead, the rest of the guys were held up by some atrocious riding from a dim-witted backmarker who was having the day from hell. This gave Shakey the couple of seconds gap that he needed to seal the win.

The second race was in very dodgy conditions. The track was wet but drying. Some riders went out on wets, others intermediates, others used a wet front and intermediate rear. A couple of real loonies went out on slicks, despite the fact that the dry line was less than a foot wide and to stray off it would mean a trip to the perilously close barriers.

One of said loonies was Michael "Blade" Rutter on the NW200 Ducati. He worked his way into the lead and built up a decent gap to the pack behind, which was staggering when you consider that the track wasn't really dry enough for slicks yet, and the guys who were most comfortable were on wets. However, it was an excellent choice as the track dried and the rain tyres fell to bits. Behind him, Shakey Byrne grabbed 2nd on the Airwaves Ducati.

People often talk about a rider's home race. Sometimes that uses a very broad definition of home, meaning anywhere in the same country. However, in Rutter's case this was almost literally a home race, as he lives in the village a hundred yards from the Mallory circuit and could easily have nipped to his house for a cuppa. A great display from "Blade", showing that he's still got it.

No comments: