Motorcycling: Hislop and Rutter win as oil spill causes havoc

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The Independent Online

Steve Hislop and Michael Rutter emerged the winners in a dramatic double-race fourth round of the British Superbike Championship here yesterday.

Rutter's success came in the second race which had been halted after eight laps when oil sprayed on to the circuit and three riders crashed out. The incident happened while the defending champion John Reynolds was powering through a section of the Cheshire circuit known as the "Avenue and Cascades", and the engine of his Rizla Suzuki suddenly blew.

Reynolds quickly pulled off, but among the riders to crash was his team-mate Karl Harris, who sustained multiple injuries and concussion. The race was quickly stopped, to scramble medics to the scene and to allow marshals to clean up the oil spillage. The re-start was scheduled over 10 laps, but after the riders had made a sighting lap before forming up on the grid, they expressed concerns about safety.

Race officials decided to give them an eight-minute free-practice session to assess the situation more fully, but after that the riders again made representations to officials.

Race Director Stuart Higgs said: "The feeling was that it was rideable in a single file, but not in a close pack." The result was declared, giving Rutter victory by 0.204 seconds from Hislop, but only half points were awarded.

British Superbike series director Jos Foulston added: "Conditions were such that that section of the track had deteriorated and was deemed unsuitable for racing."

Earlier, Hislop had ridden his MonsterMob Ducati to take his fourth victory of the season from Rutter, with Sean Emmett taking the first of two second placings on the day. Hislop now leads Emmett by 34 points in the title race.