James’s injuries followed Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne’s high speed crash on Friday, which left him unconscious and unable to take part in the racing. Suzuki privateer Superbike racer Jon Kirkham stood in for Shakey at short notice.
In the opening race James, riding with an injured left shoulder sustained at Mallory Park two weeks previously, brought his Rizla Suzuki home in a fighting eighth place while Jon crashed out unhurt at the fast Coram Corner mid-race.
Jon finished 9th in a shortened restarted second race while James collided with Kawasaki’s Dean Thomas and crashed heavily. At time of going to press James was being transferred to Norwich and Norfolk hospital for further examination. Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari won both races.
Shakey attended the races today to support the team. He is still stiff and sore after the crash during first practice on Friday that knocked him out and caused him to miss the races but should be fully fit for the next round of the Championship.
There is now a four week gap in the British Superbike racing calendar with the next round being held at Knockhill in Scotland on July 17th. Rizla Suzuki will test at Croft early in July.
“In the first race I had passed a couple of riders and was ninth when I lost the front going into Coram. It was completely unexpected and another rider crashed immediately after me, so it may have been something on the track.
“In the second race restart I thought my bike had jumped out of gear on the start line and looked down to my dash. I was in gear but by the time I looked up the race had started and everyone else was moving. I struggled to find my rhythm after that and to end up ninth is okay. It’s my best result of the season but was assisted by a lot of riders falling.
“Thank you to Rizla Suzuki for this opportunity to race on its GSX-R1000. I’ve really enjoyed working with the team, learnt a great deal and the bike is extremely fast so it’s been a good experience for me.”
Robert Wicks, Team Manager:
“This has been one of Rizla Suzuki’s toughest weekends. Shakey’s crash on Friday was unfortunate as he was knocked out and therefore excluded from the races on medical grounds. However, he was also very lucky to come through a 187mph crash with no more damage than a couple of bruises and mild concussion.
“James rode all weekend with a painful left shoulder injury and showed great courage to qualify seventh and then take eighth in race one. In race two he crashed heavily at the Esses and was transferred to hospital for further examination. The doctors will be examining him thoroughly, particularly his left shoulder and left ankle for injury. Our thoughts are also with Dean Thomas who was admitted to hospital following the crash.
“The Rizla Suzuki racers have been through the mill this weekend at a round where we expected to be competing for top honours. The team will be giving every support possible to both riders as they recover from their injuries.
“Thanks to Jon Kirkham for standing in for Shakey at short notice this weekend and doing a professional job. The team is pleased he managed to score his best result of the season to date and will be following his progress for the rest of the year with interest.
“I’d like to thank the loyal Rizla Suzuki fans who attended the racing this weekend for their support. It’s during tough times like these that the support of the fans really counts.”
Race One Result: 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 24:13.531, 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.298, 3: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +5.629, 4: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +9.584, 5: Michael Laverty (Honda) +10.074, 6: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +12.036, 7: Michael Rutter (Honda) +12.230, 8: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) +18.694, 9: Billy McConnell (Yamaha) +21.233, 10: Ben Wilson (Suzuki) +22.477.
Race Two Result: 1: Kiyonari 9:10.957, 2: Haslam +0.402, 3: Hill +3.850, 4: Laverty +4.071, 5: Craig Coxhell (Kawasaki) +5.961, 6: Chris Martin (Honda) +9.053, 7: Scott Smart (Suzuki) +9.150, 8: Glen Richards (Honda) +9.383, 9: JON KIRKHAM (RIZLA SUZUKI) +9.631, 10: Peter Hickman (Kawasaki) +10.210.
Championship Positions after seven of 13 rounds: 1: Lavilla 239, 2: Haslam 201, 3: Kiyonari 199, 4: Karl Harris (Honda) 110, 5: SHANE BYRNE (RIZLA SUZUKI) 105, 6=: Rea, Laverty 96, 8: Rutter 90, 9: Hill 87, 10: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) 64, 16: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) 36.