Late thrusts earn Kagayama two wins

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The Independent Online

Yukio Kagayama, Suzuki's Japanese rider, enjoyed a double race victory in the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship here yesterday. Kagayama, whose title hopes last season were ended when he broke his pelvis in a crash, led home his team-mate John Reynolds in both races.

But Reynolds now holds a commanding lead in the championship table, 18 points ahead of the Honda rider Michael Rutter, who finished third in both races at the Cheshire circuit on Sunday.

Kagayama took victory in race one from Reynolds with Rutter in third place. Dean Thomas took his Ducati to fourth place ahead of the Kawasaki pair, Scott Smart and Glen Richards.

Race two saw a repeat of the podium placings, with Thomas again fourth ahead of Smart and Ducati's Leon Haslam, who was returning to race in Britain on a one-off basis during a weekend off from the World Superbike Championship.

Kagayama, who returns home this week for further surgery as he continues his lengthy recovery from the injuries sustained in his season-ending crash last August, took both race victories with late but determined overtaking moves.

Reynolds, who started from pole position, had set the pace in each contest. In the opener, Kagayama had closed in dramatically, running a bike's length down as they went into the final lap before making a decisive move at the Shell Oils corner, edging alongside and then powering out of the turn with the advantage. Kagayama secured that win by 0.122 seconds.

Next time out, Reynolds again dictated terms at the front front before finally having to accept second best. Kagayama was hot on the charge and he grabbed the lead at Lodge Corner with three laps to go, hanging on by 0.16secs.

BRITISH SUPERBIKES Round 4 (Oulton Park; GB unless stated): Race 1: 1 Y Kagayama (Japan) (Suzuki) 26min 14.357sec; 2 J Reynolds (Suzuki) 26:14.479; 3 M Rutter (Honda) 26:33.878; 4 D Thomas (Ducati) 26:35.513; 5 S Smart (Kawasaki) 26:43.538; 6 G Richards (Kawasaki) 26:44.015; 7 G Mason (Yamaha) 26:44.388; 8 S Emmett (Ducati) 26:49.255; 9 T Hill (Yamaha) 25:07.725; 10 J Ellison (Yamaha) 25:10.410. Race 2: 1 Kagayama 29min 27.256sec; 2 Reynolds 29:27.380; 3 Rutter 29:40.827; 4 Thomas 29:42.176; 5 Smart 29:49.324; 6 L Haslam (Ducati) 29:50.444; 7 Mason 29:50.622; 8 Ellison 29:52.980; 9 Richards 29:56.471; 10 N Haga (Japan) (Ducati) 30:01.257. Overall standings: 1 Reynolds 167pts; 2 Rutter 149; 3 Kagayama 128; 4 Smart 90; 5 Emmett (Ducati) 86.