Byrne and Rutter share the honours

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The Independent Online

Shane Byrne and Michael Rutter each took a victory in the third round of the Motor Cycle News British Superbike Championship as the Renegade Ducati team celebrated their first double victory at Donington Park yesterday.

Byrne, the 25-year-old Sittingbourne rider, moved ahead on the fourth lap of race one, and then withstood severe pressure as he held on to take his maiden victory by little more than a third of a second from Steve Plater.

"It's a great feeling – I thought I was going backwards in the first couple of laps, but then I was running out front," Byrne said. "There was a lot of pressure in the final stages, but it is great to win for the first time.

Byrne had to battle to hold off Sean Emmett, then the series leader Steve Hislop before a final struggle with the Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha rider Plater.

Rutter came in fourth – the pole starter had lost that advantage when a machine problem on the warm-up lap forced him to take the start from the pit-lane aboard his spare bike. But he charged brilliantly through the pack, finishing a second down on Hislop on the MonsterMob Ducati.

The defending champion John Reynolds crashed heavily out of the action on the seventh lap, the Rizla Suzuki rider taking a bang to the head which ruled him out of the second race. Both Karl Harris and Simon Crafar, who crashed out at McLean's, bounced back.

Crafar took a fine third in the rain-lashed second race, which produced a thrilling battle in atrocious conditions between Rutter and Byrne. Both survived scary moments and exchanged the lead, before Rutter asserted himself at half distance and took the victory by two seconds.

Fourth place went to Emmett, who had slid off at Goddards, but remounted to charge through the field, finishing ahead of Paul Brown. Hislop settled for a solid sixth place which keeps him 23 points clear of Emmett in the overall standings.