Steve Hislop sealed the Motor Cycle News British Superbike Championship with third and second placings in a dramatic double race final round at Donington Park in which his only rival for the crown, Sean Emmett, high-sided out of the first race while leading, sustaining a broken left collarbone and wrist.

Emmett, the Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha rider, went into the two 20 lap races at the Leicestershire circuit with a 37 points deficit, knowing that his only hopes of beating Hislop to the title rested with him taking a winning double.

Hislop, who in qualifying had beaten the pole-setting time of World MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi, at an average speed of 98.40mph around the 2.5 mile circuit, was quickly away at the start but suffering lack of grip was sliding early on.

Emmett charging through the pack grabbed the lead on the seventh lap but two laps later high-sided spectacularly out of the action at the Esses, landing heavily and painfully. Hislop, right behind him had to take avoiding action: "I nearly ran over Sean, and had to swerve to miss him."

Hislop dropped back to third, adrift of both Michael Rutter and the outgoing champion John Reynolds: "I had intended to take the title by winning the race, but third place will do.

"I made the perfect start, but once Sean had gone through, I decided that a top four finish would do, rather than taking unnecessary risks. It has been a long time coming. I've waited since the end of the 1995 season to get my hands back on the title and this is just fantastic - it has been a long haul, with its ups and downs. I've made hard work of it, in something of a roller-coaster year, but now I can enjoy having the Number 1 plates again."

Hislop intended a celebratory victory in the final race and set the a scorching pace, but Rutter, riding brilliantly on the Renegade Ducati pegged him back, moving ahead at half distance. He then completing his second daily double took his eighth victory of the season by a tenth of a second from the newly crowned champion.



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