Belfast Telegraph

Alastair Seeley's Sunflower Trophy hopes hit by oil and water

By ROY HARRIS

An oil spill followed by heavy rain meant favourite Alastair Seeley was denied a shot at the Sunflower Trophy at Bishopscourt, the event halted after just two races.

In the second race of the day, the Schimmel Distribution / Norman Watt Supersport, a machine blew up in the closing stages depositing oil all around the 2.3mile circuit.

After a three hour clean-up operation heavy rain arrived and left the track in a treacherous state. The organising Hillsborough Club declared the circuit unfit for racing and abandoned the remainder of the race programme including the prestigious Sunflower Trophy Race.

Seeley said: "It was really unfortunate what happened and the organising club had no luck.

"Stuart Easton and myself looked at the track and the idea was to run the sidecars to dry it up and check the grip, but the rain came and made it 10 times worse," he added.

The huge disappointed crowd also missed out on the anticipated battle between the Mar-Train Yamaha and Gearlink Kawasaki of Easton and Seeley in the nine-lap Supersport race that never materialised as Seeley left the field trailing in his wake with, firstly, Marshall Neill retiring on lap two and, then, Easton returning to the pits on lap five, both failing to challenge the 'Wee Wizard'.

Timothy Elwood was the surprise packet running in second position with the fastest lap of the race on lap six.

Unfortunately for the Lisburn lad his Magic Bullet Yamaha developed a mechanical issue in the closing stages that forced him to slow and drop to third position on the last lap.

Seeley meanwhile took the chequered flag over 10 seconds ahead of his team mate Luke Hedger who eased past Elwood by 0.2sec on the final lap.

A brilliant ride by American Dane Westby saw him finish in fourth position on his Irish debut.

Ninth position was enough for David Haire to retain the Irish Supersport Championship by seven and a half points from Mark Conlin, who finished the race in seventh.

A delighted Seeley said after his victory: "I quickly got into the lead at the first corner and after that I controlled the race.

"It's a brilliant way to end the season with a win, but to have the rest of the racing called off is a disaster for everybody."

The only other winner on Saturday was Chris Wright, who won the Superbike and Supersport Cup race by a third of a second from veteran Paul Cranston with Declan Madden a further quarter of a second back in fourth.

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Jorge Lorenzo's victory in yesterday's Japan Grand Prix has ensured the title battle will not be decided until next month's final race of the season in Valencia.

Championship leader Marc Marquez needed to win in Japan and for Lorenzo to finish third or lower to win the title. But pole-sitter -- and reigning champion --Lorenzo (26) led from start to finish for his second successive win and cut the gap at the top of the standings to 13 points.

Marquez, who finished second, said: "Valencia will be another race and very interesting for sure."

Scott Redding's hopes of becoming the first British winner of a motorbike championship in 36 years ended when he crashed out on the first lap. Pol Espargaro won to claim the Moto2 title.

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