3 May 2004
Kagayama savours Oulton double.
They say he's not 100% back to health: if that's the case then John Reynolds has a lot to fear from Japanese sensation Yukio Kagayama for the rest of the season after Yukio led home the second Rizla Suzuki 1-2 of the day at Oulton Park.
Virgin Yamaha's Gary Mason led the pack into the first corner from fifth on the grid, closely followed by Sendo Ducati's Dean Thomas and Rizla's John Reynolds. JR, again wasted no time getting to the front and was in the lead by the end of the first lap.
JR's team mate and race one winner, Yukio Kagayama, made his way past the fourth placed Cup contender James Ellison to take fourth. He then quickly joined Reynolds at the front and from lap three the Rizla pair where again in a race of their own. As in race one, JR led Kagayama for much of the race but in the dying stages Kagayama seemed to be giving it that extra bit trying to get past. Yuki's hard riding style made his tyres go off towards the end and this made for some exciting riding as his Suzuki threatened to spit him off out of almost every corner.
Kagayama finally made the move he had been threatening on lap fifteen by putting a block pass on the leader JR. Some thought he may have made the pass too early, with three laps to go Reynolds may have had a chance to come back at him. This theory was extinguished as Kagayama immediately pulled a small lead. JR closed this on the last lap and lined Yuki up for a pass but was too far behind to make it stick.
Michael Rutter nearly didn't start at all as an electrical fault before the the grid lined up meant he had to start the warm up lap from the pits on his spare bike. This meant Rutter had to start the race at the back of the grid. Maybe he likes a challenge as he seems to start badly almost every race, and has to battle through half the field to get back to the leaders where he should be. This time was no different, in fact it was a whole lot worse, but true to blade style he carved up the whole grid to lie seventh by the forth lap.
By the very next lap he had taken Smart, Mason and Thomas to lie third behind second placed Kagayama. In the chase for Kagayama Rutter set a new lap record of 1min 37.272secs. However, Kagayama and JR had over a three second lead over Rutter, which Rutter tried to close but the pace of the Rizla boys was too much and Rutter slowed to take a secure third as his tyres started to complain.
The Hawk Kawasaki boys had another solid finish in fifth with Scott Smart, and Glen Richards in ninth with rear tyre complaints. The Hawk Kawasaki pair are still dialling in the chassis after switching to the new 205 section rear Dunlop, and with a significant power shortage compared to the other four cylinder riders, the pair are showing their skill of riding an under powered bike at the front. The big Kwak is due more engine development in time for the next round at Mondello, which both riders are looking forward to, and hopefully this will put them on a level par with the other four cylinder machines in time for the longer circuits to follow Mondello.
Dean Ellison, a championship Cup contender, showed what privateers can do as he mixed it with some of the best racing teams in the world to take a good eighth on the track and first in his championship.
1. Yukio Kagayama
2. John Reynolds
3. Michael Rutter
4. Dean Thomas
5. Scott Smart
6. Leon Haslam
7. Gary Mason
8. James Ellison
9. Glen Richards
10. Noriyuki Haga
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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