Walker in tears as Hodgson celebrates title win

Neil Hodgson, the 26-year-old Burnley rider, clinched the British Superbike crown in a dramatic, incident-packed double-race final round here in which the local favourite, Chris Walker, walked away tearfully after mechanical problems ended his hopes of taking the title with the finish line in sight.

Neil Hodgson, the 26-year-old Burnley rider, clinched the British Superbike crown in a dramatic, incident-packed double-race final round here in which the local favourite, Chris Walker, walked away tearfully after mechanical problems ended his hopes of taking the title with the finish line in sight.

Walker who had been the runner-up in the series for each of the past three years, had gone into the meeting with a 21-point advantage over Hodgson and knew that solid results would be enough.

Walker qualified on pole and after setting the early pace in the first race was overtaken by Hodgson, who knew his only hope was to win. Hodgson powered to his seventh victory of the season with Walker having to settle for third place as John Reynolds nipped through in the closing stages.

It meant that Walker went into the final race needing to finish in the top four. Even though he was pushed back into fourth place amid a fierce front-running battle he was running strongly until he was forced to pull out with oil smoke trailing from his Suzuki with just eight miles of the race remaining.

Hodgson took second place in a race won by James Haydon, the Berkhampstead rider, clocking up his third success of the season on a Ducati.

On Saturday Kenny Roberts became the first son of a former champion to take the world 500cc title. The American needed to finish the Brazilian Grand Prix in the top six to be sure of championship victory which he duly did, crossing the line in sixth place.

"I did not want to push the bike to the limit. I just wanted to make sure I didn't fall," Roberts said. He paid tribute to Kenny Roberts Sr, who was the 500cc world champion in 1978 to 1980 saying it was his father who had helped him become more consistent and avoid unnecessary risks.

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