Renegade Racing marked their debut in the British Superbike championship with strong performances from both team riders at Silverstone yesterday afternoon.

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne opened the score with a fifth place in race one, with Michael Rutter going one better and claiming fourth place in a restarted race two.

Confusion over pit lane timings meant that both Rutter and Byrne were forced to start the first race from the back of the grid after missing the sighting lap. Despite the obvious disadvantage of starting dead last, both Rutter and Byrne had forced their way into the top ten by the halfway stage in the race, with Byrne eventually claiming fifth place at the line.

"Working your way through from the back of the grid is always a bit risky, because the guys at the back of the field ride the circuit a lot differently to those at the front," said Shakey Byrne. "It got a lot easier to put in the passes as I worked my way up the order and, if the race had been just a few laps longer, I'd probably have been able to steal fourth place from John Reynolds."

Faced with battling his way through the field, Michael Rutter opted to change to a softer rear tyre on the grid; a decision he was soon to regret.

"We just went too soft on the rear tyre and it was shot after just seven laps,' explained Michael Rutter. 'It was definitely worth the risk considering our starting position at the back of the grid, but it didn't work out how we'd hoped and we'll be reverting to the original tyre for race two. Some of the passes I had to put on the slower riders during the early part of the race were a bit hairy, but only because they seem to ride a completely different line around here. I don't know what happened with the sighting lap, but I expect we'll be doing the last two laps of the 125cc race, to make sure we're on the grid in plenty of time for race two!"

Back on the second row of the grid and with his original tyre choice for the second race, Michael Rutter got a good start and was running with the leading group when the race was red flagged after just four laps. From the restart Rutter was involved in a frantic four-way battle for second place on the track, eventually getting the better of race one winner, Sean Emmett and reigning Champion, John Reynolds to cross the fine in second place. However, with aggregate times coming in to play, the 28-year-old former GP privateer found himself relegated back to fourth.

"I knew I was going to have to get my head down from the restart and try and pull out a gap on Emmett and Reynolds if I wanted to finish on the podium," said Rutter. "I managed to push my way through to second place on the track and then got my head down and tried to string a few fast laps together to pull away from the battle for third. It didn't work quite as planned and I missed out on a podium finish, but I'm happy with the progress we've made this weekend; we've learnt a lot and confidence within the team is high. Roll on Brands Hatch..."

For Shane Byrne, the second race of the day didn't go quite so well. The Sittingbourne rider didn't make the grid for the restart, after being catapulted over the top of his Ducati 998 Testastretta at Brooklands shortly before the race was stopped.

"We've had to stiffen the back end up so that I can hold a line through the corners, and that was my undoing," explained Byrne. "It got to the point where I couldn't feel what the rear was up to, which meant I got no warning when it let go at Brooklands and flicked me straight over the highside. It's been a disappointing weekend, because I was so sure we could pick up a podium finish here, but we've learnt a lot and I can't wait to get to the next round at Brands Hatch."

The next round of the British Superbike Championship takes place at Brands Hatch, Kent on April 14th.

 

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