Motorcycling: Haslam beats rain and Rutter in thrilling finish

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The Independent Online

Leon Haslam held on under severe pressure from the British Superbike Championship leader, Michael Rutter, to snatch the victory in the second race of the fourth round at Oulton Park yesterday. The two riders collided heavily on a dramatic final lap of a rain-affected race which had made tyre choice 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. But then tyre wear, as the full wets chosen by most of the riders began to over-heat, became a factor.

"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 land his first victory of the season, ending Honda's seven-race unbeaten run.

Rutter, who won the first race by four seconds from the Spaniard Gregorio Lavilla, leads the standings by 56 points from Lavilla.