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Round 4 – Bennetts British Superbike Championship – Oulton Park

Round 4 – Bennetts British Superbike Championship – Oulton Park

Round 4 – Bennetts British Superbike Championship – Oulton Park

Leon Haslam held on under severe pressure from Bennetts British Superbike Championship leader Michael Rutter to snatch the victory in the second race of the fourth round at Oulton Park.

The two riders battled furiously on a dramatic final lap of a rain-affected race that had made tyre choice something of a lottery. Haslam had taken the lead at half distance as Karl Harris ran wide at the chicane; with Rutter relegated to third place in the move. Then tyre wear – the full wets chosen by most of the riders – began to over-heat, proving to be problematic.

"I was in trouble - my tyres were shredding," said Haslam. "I knew that Michael was right behind me but when he pushed inside me at the chicane I was not going to give up that easily."

The Airwaves Ducati rider managed to stay on the power to take his seasonal first victory, ending Honda's seven race unbeaten run: "I wanted that victory – it is fantastic for me and the team."

Rutter, who put his feet down to keep his bike upright settled for second place. "I could have left it to the final corner, but that left me with only once chance to take him, so I had to go for it – fair play to him.

"Halfway through the race I was in trouble with my tyres but then they started working again and that gave me the confidence to go for it," the HM Plant Honda rider explained.

Harris hit back to take third place, just ahead of James Haydon who was completing a solid day's work as he deputised for the injured defending champion John Reynolds aboard the Rizla Suzuki.

Earlier, Rutter had taken his third victory, by some four seconds, ahead of Gregorio Lavilla, despite making a tardy start that knocked him from pole to sixth on the opening lap.

He had the power and the determination to charge through the pack, but adrift of him Haslam was battling brilliantly. He had started from the pit-lane after the brake lever on his Ducati snapped in a warm-up lap tangle with Harris.

Haslam came through to take fourth place, just adrift of Harris, with the Hawk Kawasaki duo of Glen Richards and Dean Thomas not far behind.

The day though belonged to Rutter: "I'm delighted, a first and a second, and a big lead in the points." He now leads Lavilla by 56 points in the title stakes.

MotoGP, 2005

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