Posted: 03 May 2011
RACE 1 – Kiyonari makes it four in a row
It may have been Kiyonari’s 42nd BSB championship win, but it was also his fourth consecutive win at the Cheshire circuit after winning the three races held there in 2010. This first race win of 2011 finally showed why HM Plant Honda Kiyonari is rightfully the defending champion because of the way he battled from eighth on the grid to eventually take the winner’s flag with four seconds in hand to the second placed man.
That second-placed man was American John Hopkins, who rode out of his leathers to make this his maiden podium spot in BSB, and putting paid to the old belief it takes a full season to learn the UK’s fearsomely difficult tracks.
Joining Hopkins at the rostrum was Stuart Easton on the new Kawasaki ZX-10R – a result made even better knowing the HM Plant Honda of Byrne was behind him in fourth spot, and Laverty in fifth.
RACE TWO: America invades BSB
With Swan Yamaha rider Tommy Hill missing from Oulton Park action due to injury, Byrne’s first race result now had the HM Plant Rider topping the leader board. But how long would it last?
The action was fast and hard in the second race, leading to the return of the safety car when Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider Josh Brookes lost the front of his GSX-R1000 going into Brittens while challenging race leader Stuart Easton.
From the enforced slow down, Easton took up the lead once again but with a lot more riders for company. Laverty caught and passed Easton on lap 15 and stayed there until the second from last lap when he crossed trackside debris thrown onto the track in an earlier incident.
Laverty had to back off only slightly but it was enough for Hopkins to squeeze through and take over the running to the finishing line. Laverty made it back to take second, while Easton followed behind and pressing hard.
Laverty then made another mistake by out braking himself. This was enough for Easton to take 2nd place and Byrne 3rd. Kiyonari managed to grab 4th spot while Laverty eventually finished fifth. HM Plant man Kiyonari left Oulton Park with a slender lead in the championship of just 11 points.