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Walker winds back years with stunning win

7 May 2012

Veteran Chris Walker wound back the years with a stunning performance in mixed conditions to claim his first MCE British Superbike race win in 12 long years at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

The Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki rider battled his way through to fourth place from his third row start by the start of lap three and set about reeling in leader Shane 'Shakey' Byrne on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10R.

He first passed reigning British champion Tommy Hill on the Swan Yamaha before setting his sights on Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes, who was over two seconds in front, with Byrne a further 2.6s clear as he set the pace in the damp conditions.

The front three broke clear of the chasing pack of Hill, Stuart Easton on the second Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty, Patric Muff, Tyco Suzuki's Alastair Seeley and Tommy Bridewell.

Byrne stretched his lead to 3.4s over Brookes after eight laps, but the Aussie was beginning to come under pressure from Walker and as the pair increased the tempo, they began to reduce the deficit to the leader.

Wet weather specialist Michael Rutter, who had been fastest during the wet qualifying session prior to the race on his MSS Bathams Kawasaki, crashed out unhurt at Druids.

Walker made a move on Brookes at Knickerbrook but couldn't make it stick and the Tyco Suzuki ace regained second position, albeit temporarily as Walker eventually forged his way through and began to eat into Byrne's lead.

By lap 15, Walker was now riding in Byrne's wheel tracks and with the smell of victory in his nostrils he made a clinical move at Island to snatch the lead.

Walker pulled away in the closing stages of the race to win by 1.8s from Byrne, with Brookes finishing 4.212s behind the winner to secure a podium for the Northern Ireland Tyco Suzuki outfit.

It was Walker's first return to the BSB rostrum since Donington Park in 2009.

Hill came home in a lonely fourth place on his YZF-R1, almost 15 seconds in arrears.

Easton, Seeley and Bridewell had a personal battle of their own as the race reached a climax, with the diminutive Scotsman holding on for fifth as they finished in that order to round out the top seven.

Muff, Dan Linfoot and Alex Lowes were the top ten.
Michael Laverty dropped to 12th position behind Peter Hickman, with Noriyuki Haga – who claimed his first podium in BSB in Sunday's race –13th.

Ulsterman Ian Lowry, the championship leader coming to Oulton, could only manage 21st on the Padgetts Honda.

Graeme Gowland will start from pole position in the second race after setting the fastest time of the race on his way to 15th place.

As it stands, Brookes has moved into the championship lead by a point from Hill, with Byrne third (63), Lowry (49) fourth and Seeley (44) fifth.



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