Smart pounces on Reynolds' lapse to gain first victory

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The Independent Online

Scott Smart snatched a dramatic maiden win in the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship here yesterday.

Scott Smart snatched a dramatic maiden win in the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship here yesterday.

Smart nosed his Hawk Kawasaki ahead of John Reynolds, the series leader, on the final corner of the last lap of a hard-fought race.

The 27-year-old Maidstone rider had always been in contention but the chance seemed to have gone as Reynolds eased his Rizla Suzuki ahead as Michael Rutter tumbled out of the action with four laps to go.

But Reynolds found himself under pressure. "I pulled him back and was trying to hang in there," Smart explained. "John had swept through the corner a bit wide on the previous lap. I thought I might be able to win this one, went inside him into the corner and got the win."

It was also a first victory in the series for the privately owned Hawk team, and Smart praised their hard work. "It has been fantastic for everyone, I am really, really pleased."

Then Smart, the nephew of Barry Sheene, the late dual world 500cc champion, paid tribute to some of his sport's lost luminaries. "I am dedicating my first win in the championship to my friends Steve Hislop, David Jefferies and, of course, Barry, who all died last year. Hopefully, they were watching from up there."

Reynolds was bitterly disappointed at being relegated to second by 0.002sec. "I had settled for the win and have never made a mistake like that before," he said. "It just shows, you never stop learning."

Rutter, who had shattered the record to take a third pole start on his HM Plant Honda Fireblade, was determined to atone for his earlier disappointment when he led throughout the second 18-lap race, with Reynolds pressing hard.

Although Reynolds had to settle for a fourth consecutive second place, the former champion left the Irish circuit with an increased lead of 33 points over Rutter. Smart, again running strongly, took third in the second event, one place ahead of his Hawk team-mate Glen Richards.

BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP Fifth round (Mondello Park) Race 1: 1 S Smart (Kawasaki) 30min 33.487sec; 2 J Reynolds (Suzuki) +0.002sec; 3 G Richards (Kawasaki) +9.258; 4 Y Kagayama (Suzuki) +15.235; 5 D Thomas (Ducati) +18.745; 6 S Emmett (Ducati) +21.103; 7 J Buckingham (Suzuki) +42.692; 8 C Coxhell (Honda) +43.337; 9 J Haydon (Yamaha) +49.919; 10 K Clarke (Yamaha) +50.800. Race 2: 1 M Rutter (Honda) 30min 33.011sec; 2 Reynolds +1.299sec; 3 S Smart (Kawasaki) +5.566; 4 Richards +10.283; 5 Kagayama +17.129; 6 T Hill (Yamaha) +22.737; 7 Emmett +29.204; 8 Clarke +36.890; 9 Coxhell +44.131; 10 Buckingham +49.076. Leading overall championship standings: 1 Reynolds 207pts; 2 Rutter 174; 3 Kagayama 152; 4 Smart 130; 5 Emmett 105.