BSB Round 4 2007 Oulton Park

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    Leon Haslam took the positives of a strong points haul in the fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park despite having to give second best to first his team-mate Gregorio Lavilla and then to reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari.

    The Derbyshire rider showed no signs of the lingering discomfort of the leg injuries sustained in a high speed crash during the previous round as he took the lead in each of the races with a strong performance that came close to rewarding him with a first victory of the season.

    “My target was to be on the podium in both races to get my title challenge back on track,” explained Haslam who had always been in contention in the opener, running third in the early stages as HM Plant Honda rider Kiyonari led from Lavilla, who was to power his Airwaves Ducati into the lead on the fourth lap.

    Haslam was closing in and just into the final third of the race found way through at Old Hall to displace Kiyonari from second place – the scrap for the lead was developing with Haslam reeling in Lavilla and again, timing his move to perfection, he moved into the lead at Old Hall with four laps to go.

    Lavilla was in no mood to concede the race, and the two Airwaves riders duelled intensely, with on the penultimate lap the Spanish rider barging his way through at the Hairpin. “It was a harsh move but he had lost his braking point and left his tyre mark on my fairing. Greg apologised to me straightaway – it was one of those things,” explained Haslam as he came in less than a quarter of a second down on the Spaniard who was enjoying his fifth victory of the campaign.

    Kiyonari took third place ahead of his team-mate Jonathan Rea with Tom Sykes holding off his Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda team-mate, former champion, Shane Byrne, to take fifth place.

    Lavilla’s hopes of a daily double were dashed by a poor start, but he made up for that with a hard charging performance, carving through the pack from fourteenth on the opening lap. Up front, Tommy Hill was leading on the Virgin Media Optoma Loans Yamaha, with Haslam in close contention and it was no surprise when the Airwaves rider moved ahead on the fourth lap, but he was struggling a little with grip and that was allowing Kiyonari to make inroads into his lead: “To be fair, I was praying for the end of that race,” reflected Haslam: “I was suffering a bit on the left side, not with my leg, but a lack of grip.”

    Kiyonari was having no worries as he completed his third victory of the season, taking the flag two seconds clear. Shane Byrne rode hard, but was unable to catch Haslam, having to settle for third, with Lavilla coming through fourth ahead of Rea and Sykes. Hill took seventh from Leon Camier.

    There were no happy returns for Chris Walker to the circuit where he won on his previous appearance, albeit seven years earlier. He slid off in the opener, and brought his Rizla Suzuki home ninth next time out.

    James Buckingham, returning from injury, took his Quay Garage Honda to a daily double in the British Superbike Cup, finishing ahead of Tristan Palmer and Malcolm Ashley in each race.

    Dennis Hobbs, riding Padgetts Honda, won the Maxxis British Supersport race ahead of Relentless Suzuki by TAS duo Ian Lowry and series leading Michael Laverty. Luke Jones moved clear in the British 125GP Championship as he enjoyed his second victory in as many rounds. BJ Toal enjoyed his third success in the Virgin Media Cup. Local rider Howie Mainwaring won the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Championship race ahead of Glen Richards while success in the Cup went to Dean Johnson.


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