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.
“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.”
Stuart Higgs, BSB Race Director:
“The meeting has been abandoned due to the amount of water on the track. The circuit was unable to prepare the track suitably for racing in these conditions. Everyone did the best job they could to get the riders out for the warm up but the weather deteriorated thereafter and we made the decision to cancel the race meeting.”
John Morris, Managing Director, Mondello Park:
“I am bitterly disappointed for the fans, riders, teams and circuit staff. They put in a super human effort to put on a show as good as anything else in the British Superbike Championship and I am genuinely very upset. We could have gone on sucking up water and hoping for conditions to improve but the rain was getting heavier and we made the fair decision early to let people know the racing was cancelled.”
Robert Wicks, Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:
“I am really disappointed for the fans that the race meeting has been abandoned, however it was absolutely the correct decision on safety grounds. There was so much water on the track the tyres could not get up to temperature to work properly and that was a recipe for disaster. Rizla Suzuki worked with the race organisation to try and rescue the racing but the weather deteriorated so much there was nothing anyone could do. I’d like to thank the Irish fans for their support and we hope to see them here next year.
“We will go to Mallory Park in confident mood, taking the positives from this weekend. Shakey recorded his best qualifying position of the season so far with a second place and was looking every inch a contender for the race wins. James has further developed the latest generation Rizla Suzuki race bike and found a strong setting.”
Championship Positions after five of 13 rounds: 1: Lavilla 182, 2: Haslam 121, 3: Kiyonari 108, 4: Harris 88, 5: SHANE BYRNE (RIZL SUZUKI) 81, 6: Rea 75, 7: Rutter 61, 8=: Laverty 52, 8=: Hill 52, 10: Scott Smart (Suzuki) 50, 14: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) 28.