Seeley wins to surge ahead in title battle
Alastair Seeley scorched to the top of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship thanks to his performances in the opening two races at Brands Hatch over the weekend.
The Wee Wizard from Carrickfergus stormed to an epic victory in yesterday's 26-lap showdown, snatching the win on the last lap.
From pole position Seeley lost out to bitter rival and Gearlink Kawasaki team-mate Ben Wilson on the drag to the first corner, the pair closely followed by Luke Jones, Stuart Easton, Billy McConnell and defending champion Glen Richards.
With less than a second covering the top six in an immense struggle, their passing moves had barely a cigarette paper between them at times.
Something had to give and on lap 11 Easton – having won on his debut for Tim Martin's Mar-Train Yamaha Team on Saturday, with McConnell second and Seeley third – lost the front end and slid out of the action at Graham Hill Bend uninjured.
Four laps later William Dunlop, 20th on Saturday when making his debut for Milwaukee Yamaha, also slid out of the action, at Druids, again uninjured.
Seeley, who won the Supersport title in 2011, edged ahead for four laps before McConnell hit the front as Wilson and the Carrick man kissed wheels at Druids, such was the intensity of the action.
Wilson led onto the final lap from Seeley and McConnell, but ran slightly wide at Druids allowing the Ulsterman alongside going into Graham Hill Bend where Wilson edged his machine ahead only to run wide on the exit and onto the grass allowing Seeley and Australian McConnell to nip past.
McConnell tried all he knew around the final bend, but a rear wheel slide halted his challenge and allowed Seeley to take the chequered flag less than half a second ahead of the Aussie with a disappointed Wilson in third after what was a hair-raising encounter.
After two races Seeley leads the championship by one point with Wilson a further 11 back in third.
Seeley said: "It's awesome to be back on top with a new team.
"That felt just like 2011, me and Ben battling it out. I made a poor start, but in the end Ben made a mistake and I was there to take advantage.
"Gearlink Kawasaki gave me a real good bike and at one stage I was trying to work out a strategy as to how I could win. In the end it was a case of elbows out giving it as hard as I got.
"It is the top of the podium that matters and it has been a good start to my season."
The two British Superbike races had different winners in defending champion Shayne Byrne and James Ellison. Byrne led race one for four laps of 30 before Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes hit the front for 10 laps from Byrne, Alex Lowes and impressive Ulsterman Keith Farmer in his first full season of superbike racing.
In the end Byrne raced clear to win by 1.3secs from Lowes, who had almost six seconds to spare over Cookstown-based Aussie Brookes with Farmer a creditable sixth. Ellison edged out Lowes in the second race.
Meanwhile at Mondello Park Derek Sheils reeled off a superb hat trick in the opening round of the Adelaide Masters Superbike series.
lJORGE Lorenzo began the defence of his MotoGP title in style with a commanding victory under lights in the Qatar Grand Prix.
Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi finished second on with Honda's Marc Marquez third. Ulster's Michael Laverty finished 17th on his Paul Bird Motorsport mount.