Rizla Suzuki regular John Reynolds and stand-in team-mate David Jefferies improved on qualifying set-backs to earn championship points here today at Knockhill in two incident-marred 30-lap British Superbike races.

Reynolds again proved the Suzuki GSX-R1000 to be the best four-cylinder machine with fifth and fourth place finishes, whilst Jefferies put in an impressive performance to take a first race seventh position from a sixth row start.

Suzuki legend Kevin Schwantz provided entertainment both on and off the track throughout the weekend taking time out to meet Scottish race fans. He donned Rizla Suzuki race leathers and jumped aboard John Reynolds' superbike to show he can still cut it on the race track. The 1993 500cc World Champion was joined for a number of demonstration laps by three times British Superbike Champion Niall Mackenzie, Isle of Man hero David Jefferies on his TT winning GSX-R1000 and World Stunt Champion Kevin Carmichael on his Suzuki GSX-R.

With red flags, safety cars and leading rider crashes the 1.3-mile Scottish circuit once again set the scene for an action-packed day of racing.

In race one from a disadvantaged third row start, Reynolds was quick off the grid taking the first corner in fifth and swiftly moved up to fourth place by the end of lap one.

He maintained pressure on the leaders, taking his GSX-R1000 through to second spot on the sixth lap. The safety car was brought out at the end of lap seven after an accident by Adrian Coates (Suzuki) left debris across the track at Knockhill's Duffus Dip.

Positions remained constant behind the Safety Car for two laps and when the race restarted in earnest Reynolds held a strong third place until the Safety Car was once again brought out at the end of lap 13 for another two laps.

With the ever-improving GSX-R1000 making heavy demands on the tyres, Reynolds was unable to fend off passes by Ducati-mounted Paul Brown and Sean Emmett. He stayed on the tail of the front group and took the chequered flag in a solid point scoring fifth behind race winner Steve Hislop (Ducati).

"I had a really good start and felt strong in the first half of the race," said the reigning British Superbike Champion. "The second safety car upset my rhythm and with the tyres starting to wear I thought it was better to get some points and settled in behind the leaders."

Weekend team-mate David Jefferies showed a measure of his never-say-die attitude. He jumped off his production-based Suzuki GSX-R1000, after taking second in the 24-lap British Superstock race, to muscle injured Karl Harris' GSX-R1000 Suzuki around the drying track. From a second-to-last 24th position, the nine-times TT winner picked his way through the field, crossing the Knockhill finish line in an impressive career-best seventh.

"I'm over the moon with that," said a delighted Jefferies. "It's a good opportunity for me to show just what I can do on a Superbike machine and, as I had nothing to lose, it was a question of no holds barred. I've got more confidence in myself on the bike now and am learning just how far I can push it."

In the second race eighth off the line, Reynolds stayed with the front runners and steadily worked his way through to sixth place on lap six, picking up another place two laps later.

Biding his time, he kept the pressure on Emmett, passing the Ducati rider at two-thirds race distance.

In the closing stages of the race the Suzuki rider was in sixth place, but with the front group still in his sights. When Rutter and Hislop collided at the last corner on the last lap Reynolds was in a position to take advantage of the situation and took the GSX-R1000 across the finish line in fourth position. Shane Byrne (Ducati) won the race.

"I'm glad to get points from both races," said the Nottinghamshire rider. "But I had hoped to get on the podium. It's been quite hard work for us at this circuit as the bumpy nature of the track has caused set-up difficulties. The objective of each individual team player is to win races and we're realistically aiming for a third overall position in the championship itself. It is achievable and everyone is working hard to get there."

Jefferies made up eight places by the end of the first lap circulating in 16th position for the first third of the race. He pushed through to a race best of 13th but suffered a technical problem during lap 28 and did not finish.

"I just couldn't get going," said Jefferies. "I battled my way through but couldn't get clear track and lost the flow."

Paul Denning, Team Manager - concluded: "It's not the result we wanted, but after qualifying in 10th and almost last, a fifth and fourth for John and 7th and DNF for David are fairly good results in terms of improvement."

"We made it difficult for ourselves in yesterday's qualifying and it's difficult to make up such a disadvantage on race day."

"Like all circuits, this is a new one to the bike and it poses limitations on race day. There are still 10 races left and we aim to win as many as we can and will continue to make small detail improvements to get the package moving forward."

Suzuki race round-up:

Performance Bikes Superstock Championship:

In the incident-packed first race of the day the mighty GSX-R1000 once again reigned supreme with 17 of the 19 finishers all mounted on the award-winning machine. Held in wet and slippery conditions, the race was red flagged in the early stages when oil was spilt on the track at Duffus Dip.

Results were decided on aggregate time over a two-part race with championship leader David Jefferies finishing in second position to extend his championship lead.

The mighty Suzuki GSX-R1000 once again reigned supreme with 17 of the 19 finishers mounted on the award-winning machine.

Race results: 1. John Crockford (Suzuki), 2. David Jefferies (Suzuki), 3. Ross McCulloch (Suzuki), 4. Sandy Christie (Suzuki), 5. Andy Tinsley (Suzuki), 6. Donald MacFadyen (Suzuki).

Championship positions: 1. David Jefferies (Suzuki) 160, 2. Chris Burns (Suzuki) 137, 3. John Crockford (Suzuki) 113

MB4u.com Supersport Championship:

Craig McLelland and Callum Ramsay took third and fourth positions on their Suzuki GSX-R600 machines in the 26-lap Supersport race. Suzuki-mounted Ton Tunstall finished in 11th position to hold on to his third place in the championship league.

Race results: 1. Scott Smart (Honda), 2. Michael Laverty (Honda), 3. Craig McLelland (Suzuki), 4. Callum Ramsay (Suzuki) 5. Ben Wilson (Honda), 6. Torquil Paterson (Suzuki)

Championship positions: 1. Stuart Easton (Ducati) 170, 2. Scott Smart (Honda) 141, 3. Tom Tunstall 80

Dunlop Junior Superstock Championship:

Suzuki GSX-R600s filled the podium today with Craig Jones taking first place ahead of Thomas Sykes and Benjie Cockerill.

Race results: 1. Craig Jones (Suzuki), 2. Thomas Sykes (Suzuki), 3. Benjie Cockerill (Suzuki), 4. James Buckingham (Yamaha), 5. Brad Howell (Suzuki), 6. Terry Brian (Suzuki)

Championship positions: 1. Craig Jones 170, 2. Thomas Sykes 168, 3. James Buckingham 107

 

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