John Reynolds led the way in today's wet Superpole session at Knockhill, the Red Bull Ducati rider's championship hopes being boosted by a strangely off-the-pace Steve Hislop, while BSB returnee Niall Mackenzie proved to be Reynold's nearest rival.

First out on track for the 30minute session was Michael Rutter, the sole Team Kawasaki rider immediately setting a strong pace and by the end of his four lap run (out of 12 allowed) he had put his #9 machine firmly on provisional pole by 0.634secs from local hero Niall Mackenzie, who put in a measured ride to record a 'banker' lap in case the conditions worsened.

Not looking so comfortable was Privateer Gordon Blackley, who crashed his Hawk Racing machine early on, but was fortunately unharmed and rushed back to the pits.

Meanwhile, John Reynolds, who had set the pace in qualifying, was now out on track and with ten minutes of the session gone he immediately picked up where he had left off by demoting Rutter from pole - then going even faster.

By the end of his six lap stint, Reynolds was almost 1 second ahead of nearest rival Rutter, while Sean Emmett was struggling to match his teammates pace and sat down in seventh place.

Fairing even worse than Emmett was championship leader Steve Hislop, the Scotsman suffering from an all round lack off grip in front of his home crowd and with five laps completed the MonsterMob Ducati rider was a massive 1.76secs slower than Reynolds.

Countryman Mackenzie was looking much more impressive and the 40 year old, in what may believe will be his farewell race weekend, steady improved his time and by just over the half way mark in the session he had demoted Rutter from second and closed to within 0.759secs of Reynolds, before returning to the pits with his allocation of laps complete to see if anyone could better his mark.

Minutes later, Reynolds returned to the track for his second and final stint (with Hizzy now up to fifth) but track conditions were clearly deteriorating further and the spray hanging along the start/finish line made visibility especially difficult.

Reynolds struggled in his early laps as the bike twitched nervously beneath him as he tried desperately to get some heat into the tyres, while stealing the limelight was Paul Brown on the #34 Ducati who shot into third - only to have the time cruelly disallowed after he completed more than his 12 allowed laps - possibly because of the difficulty in reading his pit board in the 'zero-visibility' conditions.

"Rain-master" Rutter was also having problems - although his involved running out of road in his efforts to displace Mackenzie, but the Kawasaki man steered clear of trouble on the wet grass and returned to the track for another attempt.

Into the last 8 minutes and Hislop returned to the pits - his allocated laps complete - and will start from just sixth tomorrow after never getting on top of the handling problems that have haunted him all weekend.

Only Rutter was left on track in the final minutes - but despite defying the conditions and threatening the top two he was eventually caught on heading into the Clarkes right hander when the back stepped out and sent him tumbling into the Knockhill gravel.

Rutter was unharmed but clearly annoyed with himself at damaging his Kawasaki a day before points are on offer.

Full results to follow...

1. Reynolds
2. Mackenzie
3. Rutter
4. Emmett
5. Brown
6. Hislop

 

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