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Reynolds bids to tighten grip on BSB crown at Croft

Reynolds bids to tighten grip on BSB crown at Croft

Reynolds bids to tighten grip on BSB crown at Croft

John Reynolds is determined to add to his five race winning pedigree as he bids to tighten his grip on the THINK! British Superbike crown in the tenth round at Croft - the Rizla Suzuki rider has tested at the circuit which is hosting a round of the country's premier series for the first time and is raring to go.

The twice former champion takes a comfortable lead of 73 points into the action at the circuit, which is near Darlington, and reckons he is firmly focussed on the business of winning races, rather than consolidating his position. That spells problems for the pursuing pack, led by HM Plant Honda rider Michael Rutter, with Hawk Kawasaki rider Scott Smart and Suzuki's Yukio Kagayama in close contention.

Reynolds has raced at the circuit before. "That was back in 1998, and I took a second place and a victory, so I have good memories of the circuit, except that on that occasion it was a soaking wet and cold day – hopefully the weather will be better this time around, and I am gunning for the same results or better."

Going into the final third of the season, Reynolds is working intently to stay ahead of the pack. "We are certainly going in the right direction, and will be out there looking to win both races - there is no thought of riding just to consolidate position in the championship. There is no time for complacency. We are working hard, testing, all of the time."

It is necessary to try and stay ahead of the game in a series that has seen seven different riders, representing five manufacturers, tasted the winner's champagne so far. "I'm not surprised by the level of competition. It has been tough and hard all year, so the challenges will keep coming in. Everyone is riding better as the year has progressed."

Reynolds is ready to take them all on. "I'm really looking forward to the races - the circuit is OK, a bit bumpy, but fast and exciting."

The rider who has to beat him is Rutter. He gave the then all-new Fireblade victory first time out amid a strong start to the season, but the Leicestershire based rider has struggled to match the pace in recent rounds and now finds himself playing catch-up - he has not taken a race victory since the mid-term Thruxton round and arrives at Croft knowing that nothing short of double top will suffice if he is to head off Reynolds in the chase for the crown.

The problem for Rutter is that he has also to fight off a strong challenge for his current second place in the standings being mounted by Smart, the Kawasaki rider who took his seasonal third victory last time out at Mallory Park, while Japanese ace Kagayama is a constant threat, while Sean Emmett is keen to finish his campaign aboard the MonsterMob Ducati in the top three.

Adding to the front-running action will the revitalised James Haydon. He joined the Virgin Mobile Samsung Yamaha team as their 'super-sub' while their top rider Steve Plater recovered from a broken arm, but Haydon, with a victory and a second place, has not only caught the eye, but also persuaded team-boss Rob McElnea to field four bikes. Plater, fit again, Gary Mason and the impressive young upcoming rider Tommy Hill will be battling for points alongside Haydon.

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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