Chris Walker returns to top step of podium at Oulton Park

Victorious Chris Walker returns to top step of rostrum with clinical ride in difficult conditions at Oulton Park
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.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chris Walker - Jamie Morris
Jason O`Halloran, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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