Monday, July 21, 2008

BSB: Double Joy for Sykes at Oulton Park

Tom Sykes blew the Ducati domination of this year's British Superbike Championship to shreds at Oulton Park with not just a debut win, but a debut double on the Rizla Suzuki.

Race 1
Cal Crutchlow had taken pole position ahead of Shakey Byrne, Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam. The 2nd Airwaves Ducati was missing after the giraffesque Leon Camier crashed heavily in qualifying . A wet race was declared, with the track damp and the clouds threatening, but all riders started on slicks. When the lights went out, Sykes took the holeshot. Behind his Suzuki were Leon Haslam, James Ellison and Karl Harris. Cal Crutchlow and Shane Byrne both made poor starts, and were 5th and 7th on the first lap.

James Ellison took the lead on lap 2, passing Sykes at the hairpin, running wide but cutting back down the banking. A 5-bike train soon developed, with Crutchlow up to 3rd ahead of Haslam and Harris. With the sun starting to shine, Sykes managed to outbrake Ellison for the lead, with the charging Crutchlow passing Ellison a lap later. Shakey Byrne was now up to speed, and on lap 10 the race would explode into controversy. Karl Harris ran wide at the hairpin, but when he cut back he was clobbered by Byrne's Ducati. Shakey had gone for a gap that wasn't really there, and Harris was punted off his bike into the scenery while the Ducati wobbled but carried on. Would the stewards have the guts to punish Byrne like they did to Haslam when he accidentally punted off Sykes at the same track a few months ago? Nope. What was the difference between the two incidents? Who knows?...

Read the rest of this review of the BSB action from Oulton Park at, where my race reports for this weekend's racing are appearing. The site has news, reviews, a forum and all the great galleries you'd expect from a site run by a pro photographer.

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