Team Renegade Ducati got their 2003 British Championship campaign off to a spectacular start - in more ways than one - during the official launch of the team in Manchester yesterday.

This season, Renegade have assembled the awesome line-up of Sean Emmett and Michael Rutter in the BSB class, while Nick Medd and former GP star Leon Haslam will campaign the equally competitive Supersport series.

After watching the official unveiling of the Red Bull liveried bikes, commuters arriving at Manchester's Piccadilly station were then treated to the sight of team riders Rutter, Emmett and Haslam demonstrating the capabilities of the bikes on the station approach road - specially cordoned off for the event by Manchester constabulary.

The sight and sound of Rutter and Emmett blasting up the approach road drew a huge crowd of intrigued commuters, but it was Haslam who had them holding their breath, as he wheelied the bike towards the station at the request of one of the TV crews present.

Unfortunately, Haslam [pictured] took the meaning of team launch a little too literally; launching the bike up the road on it's side after getting a bit too enthusiastic with the throttle!

"It came up a bit quicker than I expected, and I couldn't reach the back brake in time to stop it," said the 19-year-old former GP rider. "It was all a bit embarrassing, but the worst thing is that it was all caught on camera and Michael and Sean are already threatening to send the tape in to You've Been Framed! Definitely not the best way to start the season, but at least I've got my first crash out of the way early on!"

Fortunately for Haslam it was only his pride that took a battering and he was on hand to celebrate the tie up between Renegade and Red Bull at the official launch party, held at Manchester's Rossetti Hotel the same evening.

"Last season's combination of Sean Emmett's awesome performance and Renegade's professionalism in their first year, created the perfect opportunity for Red Bull to re-enter British Superbikes," said Linda Pelham, Motorsports Manager of Red Bull UK. "After a year of raising the profile of the 125cc class with our Red Bull Rookies team, we are really excited about the prospects for Renegade in this year's race season".

"Despite the fact that we are still a new team to the series, our performances on and off the track have not gone unnoticed and it is a significant endorsement of Renegade that we have earned the respect and admiration of Red Bull in deciding to partner us," said team owner Mark Griffiths. "I believe that we will make a formidable team."

To see more from the Renegade launch see the "Latest Pictures" link on the Crash.net front page.

The 2003 British Superbike season starts on March 30 at Silverstone.

 

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