British Superbikes: Cal Crutchlow takes first superbike victory in Race of the Year

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Rizla Suzuki’s Cal Crutchlow took his first career superbike win at the Race of the Year at Mallory Park at the weekend, finishing his rookie season on a high.

On his way to victory he picked up pole position and the fastest lap of the race with a time of 51.582secs.

Crutchlow quickly got to grips with the 1.39-mile circuit (using the full Gerards rather than the version with the British Superbikes chicane) and led from the first corner to the chequered flag to win on his last outing as a Rizla Suzuki Superbike racer.

Cal Crutchlow said: “That was brilliant. I’m really pleased to have taken my first Superbike win with Rizla Suzuki.

“The team has worked hard all year and it is nice to repay it with a win. The Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 has been really good all weekend. I couldn’t have asked for more, a podium at Brands one week ago and now a win here is fantastic.

“I got a great start and controlled the race from the front. I’m really pleased to have put my name on that trophy alongside the likes of Barry Sheene and Giacomo Agostini.

“I’ve got to say a big thanks to Team Manager Simon Buckmaster and my Crew Chief, Pete Jennings for a great season and wish them all the best for the future.”

Scott Smart finished second on the Hawk Kawasaki. He was pressured early on in the 20-lap race by Virgin Yamaha’s Billy McConnell until the R1 rider tucked the front end going into the Hairpin.

Billy McConnell remounted to finish third ahead of James Haydon who was plagued with handling problems following last-minute alterations to the Hawk Kawasaki which didn’t work out. 

Tristan Palmer finished fifth on a Virgin Yamaha which he is expected to race in 2008 in Team Co-ordit colours.

Rizla Suzuki guest rider Jenny Tinmouth became the first woman in the UK to race a Superbike. She had a successful day on track and went faster with every lap – eventually finishing 20th.

Jenny Tinmouth said:  “This weekend has been great. I’ve learned so much from both Cal and the team, they are really relaxed to work with and so methodical. In the race I got with another rider who I passed at the hairpin but he got me back at Edwina’s.

“I did try and pass him again on the last lap but didn’t manage it! I would have liked to have finished in the points, but I’m happy to have posted my fastest ever lap of Mallory Park.

“Thank you to Rizla Suzuki and the team for allowing me to race the GSX-R1000 Superbike today, it has been a dream come true and I’ll never forget it.”

As the team heads into the winter break outgoing Team Manager Simon Buckmaster will hand-over to Jack Valentine at the start of November. News of the 2008 Rizla Suzuki rider line-up will be announced soon.

Race results:
1 Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) 17:27.722
2 Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +2.378
3 Billy McConnell (Yamaha) +16.244
4 James Haydon (Kawasaki) +16.900
5 Tristan Palmer (Yamaha) +25.522
6 Peter Ward (Yamaha) +25.735

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin