Rizla Suzuki racer James Haydon finished fourth in the second race at Oulton Park after an inspired effort to get onto the podium in treacherous wet conditions.
Haydon, deputising at Oulton Park for the injured British Superbike Champion John Reynolds, was never lower than fourth in the race and enjoyed a titanic struggle for the podium with Honda's Karl Harris and Michael Rutter. He finished just one-tenth off the rostrum as Ducati's Leon Haslam took the win.
In the first race Haydon got off to strong start and was third into the first corner. He clashed with another rider, damaging his brake lever and forcing him to run off the track. He finished the first lap in 20th and fought his way back to eighth by the end, carving his way through the pack on his Rizla Suzuki. Rutter won the race.
Rizla Suzuki ace Scott Smart started slowly in the first race but battled back to 9th, setting his own personal fastest laps right at the end of the event. In the second race Scott struggled with his wet weather rear tyre as the track dried - he retired on lap 16.
Rizla Suzuki now travels to Mondello Park in Ireland for the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship on Sunday May 15th. Haydon will replace JR at this round as the British Champion continues his recovery from a broken right leg.
"That was fantastic, thank you so much to Rizla Suzuki for letting me ride here today, I really enjoyed myself. The wet but drying second race was tricky, but my Rizla Suzuki was giving me so much feedback that I was hanging the back out in Kevin Schwantz style and grinning under my visor. I tried hard and almost had a podium.
"In the first race I had a bit of contact in the first corner with a couple of other riders and that broke a part of my brake lever. I only found out at the chicane when I went for the lever and it wasn't there! I ran on, kept it upright and fought back to eighth. I am sure I could have ran with the leaders. The Rizla Suzuki is a great bike - my thanks to JR for letting me race it as he is healing."
"I am disappointed with my results today. In race two I retired when I realised that I wasn't going to score points and was struggling with my tyre choice.
"Race one was hard, but I found something in myself as that race wore on and did my own fastest laps right at the end. If the second race had been dry, then I was well up for a battle and had a strong Rizla Suzuki that was capable of a result. The luck was against us but that will change."
Robert Wicks, Team Manager:
"It is great to see Rizla Suzuki racing at the front again, this is where we belong as a team. Well done to James for such dedication, commitment and professionalism this weekend. He deserved a podium finish and narrowly missed out, but that gives him something to aim for at the next round at Mondello. James is doing a fantastic job standing in for JR, who we hope will be back racing fit for round six at Croft in June.
"Scott was ill this weekend and struggling physically. Saying that, he showed real pace towards the end of the first race and set the third fastest lap right on his last lap, which is an incredible effort. He is starting to show the form and speed we all know he has and at Mondello Park we will be looking for a reversal of his fortunes and for him to be fighting up at the front."