Quick to build on his first ever British Superbike victory at Rockingham, it was a fight all the way for Yukio Kagayama in the second race of the day at 'The Rock'.

'The Rock' certainly cooked up action all the way in the second British Superbike race of the day. Starting once more from a grid echoing the current championship standings as qualifying went by the board due to paint issues at the circuit, it was Shakey Byrne who took an early lead in the race, one that his was to hold almost for the whole race.

Kagakama, runaway winner in race one, wasn't as swiftly away at the start come race two, the Japanese rider left himself with far more of a battle if he was hoping to double his win tally by the end of the race.

Byrne was followed by a battling Michael Rutter and John Reynolds and just behind them was the ever present threat of Glen Richard's Kawasaki. Soon, however, Kagayama was past Gary Mason's Yamaha and closing in on the green Kawasaki.

By lap four Kagayama had set what was to be the fastest lap of the race, a new record at that, with a stunning 1min 09.893secs. This was achieved whilst closing in on Glen Richards, who he passed with the minimum of fuss at the start of lap six. The move came from a long way back heading into the chicane, but Kagayama ably held his nerve and his bike together and was through.

Next up on the list for Yukio to take was Michael Rutter, and he would be more difficult. And so it proved, Rutter first made it past a struggling John Reynolds, which Kagayama duly accomplished too. Then the duo were in the throngs of the backmarkers and the experienced Michael Rutter was able to put these to great effect lap after lap to keep the Japanese star behind him. Ultimately though Kagayama was through as the final laps loomed and he set about the task of hunting down championship leader Byrne, who by now had a sizeable lead atop the field.

Kagayama closed the gap painlessly and was soon setting about the rear tyre of Byrne and on the penultimate lap he was through to the cheers of the Rockingham crowds. Before the first race Kagayama had claimed he was unaware of the level of support there was for him in the British crowds; now there could be no doubt.

Such had been the speed with which he had closed down on Byrne the expectation was that he would disappear off into the distance, but the Japanese star was to make perhaps his only mistake of the race. Coming into the chicane at the start of the final lap he hesitated with a backmarker ahead of him. This was all Shane Byrne needed and he was through back into the lead and hurtling into the distance. As it turned out, Byrne was going just a little too fast and was off for a spell of motocross at the next corner. The Monstermob Ducati man kept his throttle fully open but it was enough for Kagayama to retake the lead and take the chequered flag.

Michael Rutter brought his Renegade Ducati home in third place. "I enjoyed it," he said of his race. "I learnt a lot in that race I really learnt how to go forward now and I'm looking forward to the next meeting,"

For Shane Byrne it had been a hectic end to his race. "It's a bit frustrating really but it's the same for everybody," he remarked about the backmarkers he had fought through for much of the race. "Yukio made a mistake coming through the chicane and I thought I'd done it, I just got in there a little bit too hot, well far too hot to be fair, and went across the grass and even still I didn't shut the throttle and the thing was sideways and all over the place," he explained with a grin.

"I'm still up for that record of beating everybody else, there's thirteen wins for the maximum race wins and there's a lot of races left and there's a lot of my favourite tracks coming up as well. Just 'cause I've been beaten today that's not it, I'm well up for winning races, rock on Mondello"

Top ten

1 Yukio Kagayama
2 Shane Byrne
3 Michael Rutter
4 Steve Plater
5 John Reynolds
6 Scott Smart
7 Gary Mason
8 Sean Emmett
9 Leon Haslam
10 Mark Heckles

 

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