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Seeley only just misses out in thrilling title tilt


So close: Alastair Seeley narrowly missed out on the Supersport ChampionshipSeeley

So close: Alastair Seeley narrowly missed out on the Supersport ChampionshipSeeley

So close: Alastair Seeley narrowly missed out on the Supersport ChampionshipSeeley

Despite a win and a second place in the final two races of the season at Brands Hatch it was not enough for Alastair Seeley to claim the British Supersport Championship, coming up five points short on Mar-Train Yamaha's final race in the series.

Following Saturday's sprint race, that saw Glenn Irwin take his fifth win of the season for Gearlink Kawasaki by two-tenths of a second from his neighbour Seeley, it turned yesterday's race into a nail-biter with Seeley having to win and Billy McConnell finish outside the top 10 for the Carrickfergus rider to clinch the championship.

The opening lap of the final race saw Graeme Gowland, the only other rider capable of winning the championship, crash out, as Seeley became embroiled in a scintillating 18 lap battle with Irwin, Luke Jones and Jake Dixon with McConnell riding a sensible race as he circulated in eighth position.

The lead at the front changed continuously, half a second covering the leading quartet as they battled sometimes just inches apart.

In the end Seeley took the lead on lap 15 and held off a strong challenge from Irwin to win his eighth race of the season by two tenths of a second.

However McConnell cruised around in that eighth place to clinch the championship by four points from Seeley with Gowland third and Irwin a magnificent fourth.

Afterwards Seeley said: "I came here to get two wins this weekend, got one and done all I could to snatch the title. It wasn't to be and I'm runner-up for the second year running, even closer than last year. In the end too many non-finishes cost me. Well done to Billy on taking the title."

Another East Antrim rider, Andy Reid, also finished second in the Superstock 600cc championship after a winner takes all 12-lap battle between eventual race winner and new champion Kyle Ryde and Joe Collier.

Reid took the hole shot from pole position with Ryde and Collier in close attendance, but after nearly losing it on a damp patch he dropped to third on lap four.

Despite setting three consecutive lap records getting Reid back into second, he could not dislodge Ryde, who set the final lap record on the last lap, from first and the championship.

Reid said: "I knew I had the pace to run at the front, but a silly mistake lost me a lot of time. I got back into the hunt and tried my best on the last lap, but the best man won on the day. I learned a lot this year and I'm already looking forward to next season."

The sting was taken out of the British Superbike Championship battle when Ryuichi Kiyonari, in second place going into the triple header weekend, failed to start any of the three races after breaking a collarbone in Saturday free practice, leaving Shayne Byrne a clear run to a record breaking fourth BSB Championship.

Despite crashing in Saturday's race that saw a debut win for Howie Mainwaring-Smart by a wheel from Tyco Suzuki's Josh Waters in slippery conditions, Byrne won race two yesterday coming from 11th on lap one to clinch the series before ending the season in style with victory in the final race of the year.

Meanwhile in the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island Michael Laverty secured his best ever result finishing in 13th position taking three championship points.

The race was won by Valentino Rossi.

Belfast Telegraph