Monday, September 15, 2008

BSB Croft: Leons, Leons Everywhere.

The two Leons shared the spoils in the British Superbike visit to Croft, with Camier winning race one and Haslam winning race two. Shane Byrne did not manage to seal the championship as he had hoped, but still holds a commanding lead. Cal Crutchlow had taken pole position for the second year in a row, in front of Michael Rutter, Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam.

Race One
Cal Crutchlow took the hole shot from pole position on his HM Plant Honda, while Tom Sykes rocketed off the line to take second place on his Rizla Suzuki. Michael Rutter grabbed third place on the NW200 Ducati, but had a frantic first lap, losing out to Haslam on the second HM Plant bike and Shane Byrne on the first of the Airwaves Ducati machines. At the last turn, Tom Sykes managed to block pass Crutchlow and take the lead, but the Suzuki was much slower through the fast corners than the chasing Honda.

Crutchlow seemed to be riding erratically, running wide in corners, and later revealed that he had a gear selection problem and kept finding false neutrals. His team-mate Haslam sneaked past and took off after Sykes. In the background, Leon Camier had risen from sixth to fifth place after a battle with fellow Ducati rider Michael Rutter. Camier proceeded to set fastest laps as he homed in on his team mate Byrne. Back at the front, Leon Haslam took advantage of a poor corner exit by Sykes to draw alongside, and pass into Tower corner.

Leon Camier was on a mission, and took a tight line at the hairpin to launch past Shakey Byrne, who was taking his usual wide, swooping route around the slowest corner on the track. Another false neutral from Crutchlow saw him run wide at Tower. Camier easily passed to take third, and Byrne just managed to sneak through for fourth. The giraffe-like Camier was now by far the most impressive rider on track, passing first Sykes then Haslam to take the lead and start to pull out a gap which he held to the chequered flag to take his second win of the season. Third place was then the subject of open warfare between Sykes, Byrne and the still-erratic Crutchlow. Into the last corner, Byrne was in third, but a banzai move from Sykes saw the Suzuki slam into the side of Shakey's Ducati, pushing them both well wide. Crutchlow saw his chance and nipped into fourth, but Sykes managed to hold him off and secure third place, immediately turning round to apologize to Byrne for the strong pass. Shakey was unimpressed, shaking his head mournfully as he crossed the line in fifth...

That's your taster. To get the full skinny, read my full review of the Croft round of BSB at Motorbikesport.

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