Reynolds savours first win

John Reynolds secured his first-ever World Superbike race win as new champion Colin Edwards capped his season by winning the last heat of the year for the Castrol Honda team at Brands Hatch yesterday.

John Reynolds secured his first-ever World Superbike race win as new champion Colin Edwards capped his season by winning the last heat of the year for the Castrol Honda team at Brands Hatch yesterday.

For many of the 75,000 fans packing the Kent track, the star of the show was Nottingham's Reynolds, who scored his first World Superbike victory for Ducati in a thrilling opening leg and finished fourth in the second. "The party starts now," said the 26-year-old Edwards, from Conroe, Texas, after beating the Suzuki of Italy's Pierfrancesco Chili by fractionally over a second in race two.

Chili became the first superbike rider to mount the podium in his boxer shorts after flinging all his race equipment, from crash helmet to chest protector, into the crowd.

Edwards took over the lead after Britain's Neil Hodgson retired his Ducati with a massive oil leak, and fought off a late challenge from Chili. Troy Corser of Australia was third for the Aprilia team, passing Reynolds as Hodgson's crippled machine delayed his British rival.

It was a disappointing weekend for new British champion Hodgson, who started from pole position but only finished fourth in race one after a collision with the Yamaha of Anthony Gobert. Reynolds had already built up a big lead on a wet track in the same race.

* Newly crowned world champion Kenny Roberts junior enjoyed a runaway 500cc victory in the Pacific Grand Prix at Motegi in Japan, the season's penultimate round. The Suzuki-riding American swept aside Max Biaggi, who began from pole position, to win the 74.58-mile race round 25 laps by 6.17 seconds.

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