Alastair Seeley takes fast Train
Alastair Seeley, the Wee Wizard from Carrick, took an early lead in the British Supersport championship following an emphatic victory in the second race of the weekend at Brands Hatch yesterday, following up his third position on Sunday.
In yesterday’s 20-lap race, Sunday’s winner Glenn Irwin, also from Carrick, battled for the lead with Smiths Triumph riders Billy McConnell and Graeme Gowland with Seeley right on their heels.
By lap six, Irwin, on his Saintfield-run Mar Train Yamaha, had dropped off the pace slightly as the gloves came off in the battle for the win as Gowland and Seeley touched going into Paddock Hill Bend.
The decisive move came on lap 13 when Seeley, in the lead, cleverly nipped inside a slower rider in an emphatic race winning manoeuvre as Gowland and McConnell were baulked, losing over a second to Seeley’s Mar-Train Yamaha.
Seeley set a new Supersport lap record of 46.775secs for the intense 1.2mile Brands short circuit, going on to take the chequered flag almost three seconds clear of Gowland, who snatched second with a fairing bashing move past McConnell through Clearways with Irwin finishing in fifth having been overtaken by Luke Stapleford.
After two races Seeley leads the championship on 41 points, five ahead of Irwin in second.
Seeley said: “That was a typical hectic Supersport race. Today I had a good set up and with Billy and Graeme rubbing fairings, I wanted to get to the front real quick.
“Once in front I was able to make a break and secure my first win for the Mar Train Team. A first and a third this weekend is a great start to the championship.”
Shane Byrne, chasing a record fourth British Superbike title, got his 2014 challenge off to the perfect start with a double yesterday – taking advantage of a red flag situation to win race one and then leading race two from start to finish on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki.
Initially in race one, Chris Walker led the way as the challenging Ulster-based Aussie Josh Brookes slid out of contention on lap eight on his Milwaukee Yamaha.
Byrne was closing rapidly from 15th on the grid and had closed right on Walker’s back wheel when the race was stopped after James Hillier’s Kawasaki blew up leaving a trail of oil on circuit. In the 12-lap restart, Byrne took the lead from Walker on lap four, going on to win from Walker and James Ellison.
Man of race two was Brookes coming from 10th on the grid, nipping past rider after rider to finish second behind all the way winner Byrne, a mere 10th of a second separating the pair after 30 laps with Ellison taking his second podium of the day in third.
It was a disappointing day for Moneymore-based Tyco Suzuki with John Hopkins fifth in race one, but 11th in race two with Josh Waters taking the last championship point for 15th in race one and 16th in race two while Keith Farmer on his PK Racing Kawasaki could only manage a couple of 19th positions.
Michael Dunlop finished 24th in race one and retired his Buildbase BMW from race two, after riding with a damaged left arm from his Sunday practice crash. He now has four days to recover for Cookstown 100 practice on Friday.
Newtownabbey rider Andy Reid led the Superstock 600cc race for 12 of the 14 laps, dropping to fourth at the finish behind James Lodge, Mason Law and Joe Collier while Andrew Irwin finished 10th.
Ballinamallard rider Josh Elliott set a new 1000cc Superstock class lap record on his way to third position riding the GA Homer Racing for Alzheimer’s Kawasaki.
Belfast Telegraph Digital