Newly crowned British Superbike Champion John Reynolds certainly didn't have it easy as he took pole position for the final round of the 2001 series at Donington Park for despite the absence of the injured Steve Hislop, there were plenty of other riders snapping at the heels of the Reve Red Bull Ducati man.

John Reynolds began the 2001 British Superbike Championship by taking pole position at the 2.5-mile Donington Park circuit in Northern England and he repeated his earlier feat on Saturday in qualifying for the 2001 season finale at the picturesque Derbyshire track.

After being crowned 2001 BSB Champion two weeks ago at Rockingham and with season-long nemesis Steve Hislop still convalescing in hospital with a badly broken ankle and fractured collarbone, Reynolds began his reign as Champion with a fighting pole ahead of James Haydon and the continually emerging Paul Brown. The Reve Red Bull Ducati rider beat off the challenges of Brown and Haydon by a mere single tenth of a second as he lapped the undulating circuit in a best time of 1 minute 33.841 seconds.

Haydon, on the first of three Virgin Mobile Yamaha's present at the 13th round of the Championship, finished the session second quickest with a best time of 1 minute 33.976 seconds, just eight hundredths of a second quicker than Brown as he bids to overhaul Sean Emmett for third place in the riders championship.

Brown's dark, imposing DiEnza Ducati eventually carried its charismatic rider to a best time of 1 minute 34.038 seconds, less than two tenths of a second slower than Reynolds and, sadly, with no Steve Hislop to contend with both Haydon and Brown will feel that they will have their best chance yet to claim their respective first race victories of the year on Sunday.

Completing the front row, and less than three tenths of a second slower than Reynolds was Emmett on the second Reve Red Bull Ducati and after going almost unnoticed as the man who eventually broke the Reynolds/Hislop stranglehold on the top step of the podium at Rockingham two weeks ago, Sean will be even more determined than ever as he not only bids to hold off Haydon for third in the points table but aims to cash in on some of the 'team' performances asked of him when the Championship fight was still alive.

Michael Rutter, race two winner at Rockingham, will start fifth on the lone works Kawasaki while John Crawford, Steve Plater and Jamie Robinson completed the second row on the remaining non-privateer machines.

As is customary, Shane 'Shaky' Byrne, led the privateers aboard his Performance House Suzuki in ninth overall although he was disappointed not to be mixing it with the non-privateers with Myco Motorsports Dave Wood, DBK Racing's Jason Davis and Hawk Racing's Gordon Blackley completing the third row of the 20 bike field, all of whom comfortably qualified within the 110% qualifying rule.



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