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Byrne seals title year with twin win at Donington

Shane Byrne completed his dominant British Superbike campaign with a double victory at Donington Park on Sunday and although the MonsterMob Ducati rider didn't have to contend with Sean Emmett during the second race of the day, John Reynolds made 'Shakey' work his socks off every inch of the way.

Happier with his bike for the second and final 20-lapper of the day Byrne had the lead once again by the end of the first lap despite getting out dragged to the first turn by Emmett and the incredibly fast starting Niall Mackenzie.

During the opening couple of laps as the rest of the field sorted themselves out Byrne was able to ease away into a four second lead before Suzuki's John Reynolds dispatched second place Emmett at Redgate on lap seven to begin his pursuit.

Lap by lap the pint-sized veteran sliced a couple of tenths out of Byrne's lead with Emmett's ETI Racing Ducati shadowing Reynolds in third. By lap 14 Reynolds had caught his adversary but just as the Donington crowd was reaching fever pitch Reynolds got caught out by a backmarker at the Fogarty Esses and lost almost a full second.

Undeterred, and to the surprise of many, Reynolds managed to regain his momentum and started hacking away at Byrne's lead once again. Refusing to lie down Reynolds looked to have Byrne within his grasp two laps from home before yet more backmarkers got in the way at the Fogarty Esses. This time there was no coming back for Reynolds and Byrne held on for a two second victory, his 12th of what has been a remarkable season for the charismatic Englishman.

Emmett's challenge faded slightly in the final laps and he was unable to threaten Reynolds for second place and by the end of the 20th lap Michael Rutter had moved to within half a second of the stuttering ETI Ducati.

Leon Haslam capped an excellent half-season with the Renegade squad with a stout sixth position, seeing off Glen Richards on the final appearance of the ancient but incredibly well sorted, and ridden Kawasaki 750.

Yamaha duo Gary Mason and Jon Kirkham took advantage of a late rash of retirements that included Mackenzie from eighth place with a mechanical failure on the second Silver Rizla Suzuki, Kawasaki's Scott Smart, Ducati's Dean Ellison and visiting MotoGP rider Chris Burns on the second Virgin Mobile Yamaha, to finish seventh and eighth respectively. Mark Heckles on the sole factory Honda and leading privateer Dennis Hobbs, who nerfed chief rival Dave Wood off his bike on the final lap, completed the top ten.

As ever at the end of the season there was a mixture of smiling and unhappy faces but after a year full of excitement, growth and emotion, everyone in British Superbikes will have a reason to remember 2003.






Related Pictures

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