Outstanding performances from Team Renegade Ducati stars Shane Byrne and Michael Rutter left fans open mouthed during two incident packed races at wet and windy Donington Park circuit on Sunday.

With Rutter having qualified on pole and Byrne his first ever Superbike front row start in third, both riders were in a perfect position to capitalise on their hard work during qualifying until a seized fuel pump wrecked Rutter's chances during the warm-up lap for race one. With his machine stopping well short of the start and finish straight, Rutter performed a 500 metre sprint back to his garage, mounting his spare bike well after the red lights had gone out. Well adrift of the last rider, he charged through the field to take fourth place after a truly heroic ride. However, Byrne made up for his team mate's misfortune by claiming his maiden victory for the all-new Renegade squad, despite intense pressure and an epic battle with Steve Plater.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet," said Byrne. "When Michael wasn't alongside me for the start my concentration was broken as I had no idea what had happened. It spoiled my start and I had a lot of work to do. I just got stuck in and rode as hard as I could. I'm naturally delighted."

Race two was a completely different affair as rain lashed down well before the sighting lap leaving masses of surface water throughout the circuit. Despite pleas from the leading teams for the race to be delayed or reduced in duration, it went ahead as scheduled providing the fans with unprecedented action as the Renegade duo wrestled with each other for well over 33 minutes, swapping the lead on a regular basis before Rutter finally broke his team mate's charge.

"Shakey made me work very hard for the win and I can genuinely say that it's the hardest I've ever had to ride to win a race in the wet," commented Rutter. He went on to say, "I was out of the seat on a few occasions and the conditions were horrendous. The spray was so bad I couldn't see my pit signals so I didn't know how close Shane was when I was in front. Everyone says I like the wet but I really don't want to do that again!"

Team principal Mark Griffiths could not hide his delight. "Our boys have been truly magical all weekend," he said. "Shane's performance in race one was measured, controlled and mature. He demonstrated qualities for all to see and I'm completely thrilled for him and his crew."

He went on to say, "I felt for Michael at the start of race one. My heart sank when I saw him running back as I knew how much he was looking forward to making use of his pole position. It's a relief he was able to make up for it in the second, and the excitement for the fans must have been breathtaking. We may be new, but I think we've earned the respect of many today. I am proud of our achievements so far and we have a wonderful spirit within the garage."

Having provided an extra dimension to the Championship, the team will continue the battle at their home circuit of Oulton Park in just a few days time, in the hottest of form.

 

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