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Smart dominates to take race one victory

4 July 2004

Scott Smart won the first race of the eighth round of British Superbikes from Knockhill on a drying track b y nearly twenty seconds. Tyre choice was critical for the race which saw James Haydon come home in second followed by Yukio Kagayama.

Before the start of the race it looked likely that it would rain, many riders choosing a full wet front and an intermediate rear. Smart chose cut slicks all round in a gamble that it wouldn't, and luckily for him the rain held off enabling him to romp home to his second victory of the season.

Smart dominated from the early laps making his way to the front by the fifth lap off his fifth placed grid position, closely followed by his team mate John McGuinness. Smart pulled a small lead on McGuinnes on lap eight, and went on to lap nearly a whole second faster than anyone else, enabling him a 18 second lead by the end of the race.

It looked to be a Hawk one-two until McGuinness fell at the tricky hairpin on the 12th lap. The Hawk newcomer tried desperately to bump start his Kawasaki to rejoin the race but it was all in vain as the green machine refused to start.

Gary Mason also had a great start, leading for the first lap. Like many he chose to gamble on rain fall and went out on wet tyres, unfortunately the wet weather didn't come and so lost places to finally finish in sixth as his tyres started wearing excessively.

Mason's Virgin Yamaha team mate, James Haydon worked his way through the pack to be in a strong third after 11 laps. When McGuinness fell this promoted Haydon into second where he stayed for the rest of the race. Haydon couldn't challenge the charging Smart as he had chosen to use a full wet front, coupled with a cut slick rear, and so finished nearly 20 seconds behind.

Championship leader John Reynolds had a dismal start dropping way back down the field. Reynolds looked to be struggling but soon picked up his pace and started taking places back. He moved from 12th on the second lap to fifth by half race distance, to finish in fourth behind his Rizla team mate Yukio Kagayama who finished third.

Reynolds main championship threat, Michael Rutter also had a bad first race and went from sixth on the grid to a nightmare 16th just outside the points. He managed to claw back some positions, and made up some others from riders falling, to finish an overall tenth, gaining valuable points in his championship bid.

Third in the championship Sean Emmett had an unfortunate race which saw him crash out on the first lap following an incident instigated by Tommy Hill high siding his Virgin Yamaha at the very tight hair pin. Emmett was following Hill and had no where to go when the young Yamaha rider fell in front of him. Neither rider was hurt in the incident but both had to retire as a result.

Cup contenders Jon Kirkham and James Ellison mixed it right up with the BSB factory teams coming home in fifth and seventh on the track respectively.

First race top ten
1. Scott Smart Hawk Kawasaki
2. James Haydon Virgin Yamaha
3. Yukio Kagayama Rizla Suzuki
4. John Reynolds Rizla Suzuki
5. Jon Kirkham* Kirkham Suzuki
6. Gary Mason Virgin Yamaha
7. James Ellison* Jentin Yamaha
8. Iain MacPherson ETI Ducati
9. Michael Rutter HM Honda
10. Ryuichi Kiyonari HM Honda

* indicates cup runner


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