Rizla Suzuki's John Reynolds hustled his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to hard fought second and third places here yesterday at Brands Hatch in front of over 21,000 enthusiastic race fans, setting a new lap record in the process.

In cold but bright conditions the 1.22-mile Indy Circuit witnessed some fast and furious action with the Rizla Suzuki team experiencing the ups and downs of British racing.

Karl Harris took an eighth position in the first race and team scholarship rider Nick Medd showed considerable improvement, narrowly missing championship points.

Race 1:

John Reynolds charged his Suzuki off the line in fifth position and by the end of the first lap had quickly worked his way through to third behind Ducati mounted Steve Hislop and Paul Brown. Staying with the leaders, Reynolds seized the opportunity to pass Brown on lap 5 and set about closing down the gap on Hislop.

Reynolds kept the pressure on, working his Suzuki hard around the fast Indy Circuit, snapping at the rear wheel of the Ducati man. His progress was halted at two thirds race distance when a group of back markers hindered his progress. With two tenths of a second lost, Reynolds crossed the finish line in a strong second position.

"Once I got tangled up with the back markers the charge for the lead was over," said the British No 1. "It was a good race though as I'm riding the bike better and getting far more out of it as a result."

After a poor start, Karl Harris completed the first lap in ninth position and put in some strong lap times to pick through to seventh. A series of crashes directly in front of the Suzuki youngster caused him to lose sight of the front runners and although he maintained consistent, Harris had to settle for eighth place.

"A couple of riders came off in front of me and I lost the pack," said the reiging British Supersports champion. "Once that gap was there, it was impossible to knock it back. The bike's fine and I know that with a better start I can go faster."

Scholarship rider Nick Medd completed the race in 19th place, one lap down.

Race 2:

A good clean start from the second row saw Reynolds in third place in the early stages of the race behind Michael Rutter and Hislop. A first lap crash called for the safety car to be brought out, leaving the pack to circulate in position until the end of lap 4. As the race got underway, a small mistake allowed Sean Emmett through but Reynolds was never far away and swiftly passed the Ducati on the inside of Brands Hatch's notorious Druids Bend. He then went on to attack second placed Rutter. At the halfway stage, the Nottinghamshire ace was through to second and challenging for the lead with his Suzuki.

In his pursuit of Hislop, Reynolds set a new lap record, the first for the new Suzuki GSX-R1000.

As in the first race, Reynolds fell foul to back markers and was unable to find a quick and safe route through, losing his second place to Emmett. The result of this delay was such that the Suzuki rider took third position almost three seconds behind race winner Hislop.

"I'm getting more familiar with the bike now and am finding out how far I can push it," said John Reynolds. "It really is as good as the Ducati and, if anything, I gave it too much respect at Silverstone.

"With it being an all-new bike we do not have data for any of the circuits so qualifying at every round is a steep learning curve. Having said that, a good race bike should work anywhere and I think the Suzuki will do just that. You need to race it hard to find any weaker points and then concentrate on making the good points even better. We're developing it all the time.

"I knew that we could be on the rostrum today and I really thought I was going to win the second race. It was frustrating hitting a bank of back markers again. When you're racing on a circuit as unforgiving as this one here at Brands, you're riding on the edge all the time and do not have the time to look ahead to avoid back markers. There's simply nowhere to go.

"The next round is at Donington Park which is my home circuit. I'm itching to get there."

Karl Harris had a much stronger start in the second leg of today's British Superbike round and from a seventh start held a solid sixth position for much of the race until high-siding on the Cooper Straight at half race distance.

"I just didn't see it coming," said Harris. "One moment I'm pushing hard and the next on the ground. I landed on my hands so they're a bit tender at the moment but I'll be back fighting fit for Donington. I know that once I can get away with the front pack there'll be no looking back"

Yorkshireman Nick Medd narrowly missed the points threshold by just two tenths of a second. He put in steady lap times to bring his Suzuki home in 16th place.

Paul Denning, Team Manager concluded: "Whilst we are naturally delighted with two podiums today [Sunday], that delight is mixed with a twinge of disappointment as the results do not reflect on John's excellent performance in both races. He rode faultlessly and pushed himself and the Suzuki to the limit. It was unlucky timing that ruined the second race for John but we head to Donington Park for the next round boosted by the knowledge that we clearly have a race bike capable of running with, and beating, the Ducati machines."

"Karl was flying in the second of today's races and was on for a top five position. He is rapidly adapting to the style of the superbike and I'm sure he will soon start to turn in some consistently high results."

"Scholarship rider Nick's 16th in race two is his best result to date and shows that he is going in the right direction. It's only a matter of time before he starts securing championship points."

 

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