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Reynolds tightens grip on BSB title

Reynolds tightens grip on BSB title

Reynolds tightens grip on BSB title

John Reynolds and Scott Smart took the victories in the ninth round of the THINK! British Superbike Championship at Mallory Park but there was little cheer for Michael Rutter who lost ground in the title chase as he crashed out of the second race.

The HM Plant Honda rider who had earlier struggled into sixth place saw his title dreams diminish as he tumbled spectacularly out of fourth place and could only watch as Reynolds edged closer to taking the crown for a third time.

But there was nothing easy for Reynolds as he powered his Rizla Suzuki to a fifth victory of the season, despite intense pressure from his team-mate Yukio Kagayama.

The Japanese rider who had moved ahead in the final third of the race underlined again there are no team orders, as, after being overtaken by Reynolds he tried to bite back with a determined challenge at the Hairpin on the final lap.

"I was expecting him to have a go at me, but I held him off, and I enjoyed the race. At the end of the day it is satisfying to know that you have won the race without any help," reflected Reynolds.

Scott Smart, third for Hawk Kawasaki in that race, set the pace next time out. He shrugged aside the early stoppage while marshals cleared the heavy crash in which Malcolm Ashley sustained wrist and leg injuries, and then two periods when the Safety Car controlled the action, to take his third victory of the season.

Reynolds took second place to move 73 points clear of Rutter with four rounds remaining: "these races were as hard as they come - I came here determined to outscore Michael but he was unlucky to crash out. He will be back fighting and there is still a long way to go in the championship."

Smart moved into third place in the standings, at the expense of Kagayama, who finished the second race in a distant fifteenth and Sean Emmett who struggled, taking seventh and fifth placings.

THINK! British Superbike Championship standings after round nine:

John Reynolds 335
Michael Rutter 262
Scott Smart 240
Yukio Kagayama 229
Sean Emmett 226
Dean Thomas 124
Ryuichi Kiyonari 124
James Haydon 111
Tommy Hill 98
Gary Mason 85

MotoGP, 2004

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