Rizla Suzuki team-mates John Reynolds and Karl Harris were in the thick of the action at the scenic 2.17-mile Cadwell Park circuit, fighting for hard-earned results in front of a packed crowd.

Despite the onset of persistent rain, the massed 30,500 strong audience crammed into the popular Lincolnshire venue for the annual August Bank Holiday Monday event and witnessed Reynolds scoring two well deserved fourth positions and Harris a hard fought eighth and seventh.

On a damp but drying track for race one, Reynolds and Harris quickly improved on their starting positions of fifth and eleventh by completing the first lap in fourth and eighth respectively. Then, when third placed man Steve Plater crashed his Yamaha at Mansfield corner, Reynolds was in a position to take advantage of the situation and closed down on the leading Ducati duo of Steve Hislop and Shane Byrne.

He looked set to challenge for the win but, in the closing stages of the race as tyre wear came into play, the Rizla Suzuki rider was unable to fend off a late challenge by Ducati's Michael Rutter. Clearly struggling against the V-twin machines on the torturous Cadwell circuit, Reynolds put in a gritty performance to finish in a solid fourth position.

Karl Harris improved his practice lap times by over half a second and was closing on the sixth place held by Yamaha's Simon Crafar at half race distance but, with his injured wrist causing severe pain, eventually dropped back to cross the finish line in a creditable eighth place. Also suffering from a rear tyre vibration towards the end of the race, however, Harris' performance showed his potential for when he is fully fit.

With black clouds looming for race two, the Superbike contenders set off at a frantic pace in the second of the day's two 18-lap premier races. Reynolds made an aggressive start from row two to secure second position in the early laps, before a couple of slips relegated him to fifth. Pushing hard to re-establish himself, the reigning champion had caught up with the leading pack when rain called for red flags to be bought out to halt the race.

With the race run as a two-part aggregate event, all the top riders selected slick tyres for the remaining nine laps. Reynolds forced his way through to fourth, and then third, by the end of lap one of the re-started race, putting in an aggressive pass on Plater in the process. Holding third on the road, but fourth on aggregate with a two second deficit to Shane Byrne, the Suzuki rider settled into a better rhythm and improved his best lap time to 1min 25.5secs - his quickest ever around Cadwell Park - to finish in a safe fourth place.

"I hate not winning and today's no different," Reynolds sighed afterwards, "Everyone keeps telling me I did a great job, but we're not here to settle for fourth places. We still need to find a way to improve the Rizla Suzuki by small amounts, in all areas, in order for it to be truly competitive at this type of tight twisty circuit and so that I can be consistently fast for the whole race.

"Having said that, it's the first time for the bike at Cadwell, and it can definitely be made better with more development. The team worked really hard for me all weekend and I want to thank them and all our sponsors for their support. I'm looking forward to Oulton Park next weekend - and getting back to the podium."

Team-mate Harris had pushed his way to an excellent seventh position at the time of the stoppage, but did not fare quite so well in the re-start, dropping back to ninth place. However, having been able to rest his wrist mid-race, he recovered strongly to retake an eventual seventh place, dicing with Plater and Sean Emmett in the closing stages.

"All things considered, I'm happy with the weekend," the gritty Yorkshireman admitted, "My wrist's been really sore and it's made it difficult to throw the bike through the lefthanders. The pain has been bad, but the injections were even worse, so I hope I don't need them at Oulton.

"The second race was fun and I started to feel myself again. It was good to get in with Plater and Emmett and ride as fast as them. The bike's been good all weekend and, like John, I think it will suit Oulton Park better. I just want to keep finishing races and improving as my confidence comes back. This weekend has been a definite step forward."

"I'm happy with both riders and the whole Rizla Suzuki Team," concluded team boss Paul Denning, "Sometimes, it is a case of not being in a position to win but grinding out the best possible results. John's so desperate to win that you can see him seething at fourth, and that is why he is a champion. I personally believe he did all he could today and that is all we can ask.

"Karl was simply superb, despite everything he was smooth, confident and made no errors. There is a good deal more speed left in him and I hope his recovery is quick enough to let it all happen for him in the last three meetings of the year. Both rider's finished both races so here's to continued good form and improved results at Oulton next weekend."

 

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