The fifth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Mondello Park was abandoned today after torrential rain flooded the 2.176-mile long circuit in the Republic of Ireland.
Rizla Suzuki racers Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and James Haydon took to the track for the 15-minute long morning warm-up session and along with a number of other leading riders suffered low speed crashes in the treacherously wet conditions. Both riders were unhurt.
The rain continued relentlessly through the morning and early afternoon with several inches of standing water gathering at various points on the circuit along with streaming water across elevation changes. After a series of track inspections and consultation with the teams and riders, Championship organisers were left with no real alternative but to abandon the meeting due to flooding on the track.
The Superbike races will not be rescheduled and the Championship will now be decided over points scored in 12, not 13 rounds as originally planned. The sixth round of the series takes place at Mallory Park in Leicestershire on Sunday, June 4th.
Leon Haslam was the first to comment saying, "Obviously it's hugely disappointing the race was cancelled today, I like rain and so far this season we have had two wet races which have gone well for me and the team so who knows how it would have worked out if we had have raced. Mondello is good for racing and I would have gone out if we could have done but it was a good call as the track was flooded and the conditions were just horrible. We have changed the bike a lot and we have found a setting I really like, so roll on Mallory Park."
Gregorio Lavilla was also disappointed but agreed that the right call had been made. "Warm up was unbelievable but considering the rain, and the fact this is one of my worse tracks, I was riding fast. We have done some really good work on the bike and I felt good as I was going faster and faster with each lap in the warm up, but I respect the decision as it was treacherous out there. Everything is working really well at the moment and this weekend gave us the opportunity to test it out so I am very confident for Mallory Park in 2 weeks time."
Shane 'Shakey' Byrne:
"On the grounds of safety it was the right decision to cancel the racing, the track was seriously flooded. For the fans that made the trip to watch us racing it is a real shame and my heart goes out to them. I'm gutted for them more than anything else."
"It feels a little bit strange that the races have been abandoned. As a rider I think it was the right decision to make because the conditions were dangerous and I applaud the organisation for having the courage to put safety first. I do feel really sorry for the Irish fans that were looking forward to the racing."