High-flying Easton has narrow escape

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HAWICK rider Stuart Easton admitted he left MCE Insurance British Superbike round two at Oulton Park counting his lucky stars after claiming a double podium finish – and avoiding a potentially brutal crash.

After a disappointing 2010 season saw Easton morph from championship contender to also-ran, the Scot continued his renaissance in round two – ending with second and third-place finishes.

But it was an incident in race two, while Easton was leading, that almost rendered the MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider’s podium finishes irrelevant.

The 27-year-old only narrowly avoided rival Josh Brookes’ cartwheeling bike after the Australian had a high-speed crash. “For us and Kawasaki that’s two podiums and I led the second race for a long time, so I can’t complain,” said Easton. “I count myself lucky that Josh’s bike didn’t hit me, it was like a plane crashing over my head and was so close.

“To be on the podium at round two with a brand new bike is absolutely fantastic.’’

Easton’s flying start to the season has seen him establish himself among the early-season contenders. His 36-point haul at the undulating Cheshire circuit was enough to lift him to second in the overall standings, just 11 shy of leader Shane Byrne.

Round three sees the British Superbike paddock move closer to home for Easton with a trip to Croft in North Yorkshire. And after his impressive start to 2011, Easton – who grabbed two third places at Croft last season – insists he can be in the winner’s enclosure again on May 15. “We’ve had a fourth, sixth, third and second so far this season which has given the team so much confidence,” he added.

n British Eurosport 2 will be broadcasting every round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship. The channel is available on Sky 411 and Virgin Media 525. Watch online via the Eurosport Player at www.eurosportplayer.co.uk