Carrickfergus’s Alastair Seeley got his faltering 2014 British Supersport championship challenge back on track with a double win on the Mar-Train Yamaha R6 in the fifth round races at Brands Hatch.
The 34-year-old held off strong challenges from Smith’s Triumph rider Graeme Gowland in both Saturday’s 12-lap race and Sunday’s 18-lapper on the Brands GP circuit to shrink the points deficit from 50 points to just 10 on series leader Billy McConnell.
The Australian had a nightmare weekend, failing to finish race one and only managing a sixth place finish on Sunday.
“Two days of testing at Kirkistown last week are what has got our season back on track,” Seeley smiled after doing the double for his Saintfield based race team.
“I wasn’t happy with either the way the bike started or the corner entry after the last race at Knockhill so we got some new components and we tested and tested and tested and this is how it has paid off.”
The difference was evident from the off in Saturday’s race.
“I got a good start and went into the first corner in second before taking the lead at turn two,” Seeley explained.
The winning margin over Gowland was just 0.17 seconds after the 12 times North West 200 winner survived a scare on the last lap.
“I had held too defensive a position going into the last lap and Graeme managed to get through but I passed him again and held him off to the finish,” Seeley added.
Sunday’s race was six laps longer and equally hard fought.
“I didn’t get as good a start and was down in fourth after Graeme cut across me at the start. It took four or five laps to get out in front and after that I controlled the race.” the Carrick man explained.
The ‘Wee Wizard’ had just a 0.268 seconds advantage at the chequered flag but it was enough for a double win that leaves him full of confidence going into the next round of the championship at Thruxton on the Mar-Train Yamaha in a fortnight.
“I think this is a turning point in our season,” Seeley declared last night.
“I had never been 100 per cent happy with the bike but now I have it the way that I want it. The issues I had with the front and corner entry are sorted now and I have much better feel from the front.
“We can concentrate on making the rear better now because we always have to keep upping our game.
“The Smith’s Triumph team have a big budget and they will be developing their bike. We have to do the same but our bike is fast and that is what you need going to a track like Thruxton with long fast straights.”
Ballyclare’s Glenn Irwin finished seventh in both races on the Gear Link Kawasaki.
It was also a good weekend on the roads for Seeley’s Mar-Train teammate Dean Harrison who won both 600cc races on the Saintfield squad’s R6 Yamaha at the Cock o’ the North meeting at Scarborough.
The Bradford rider followed up his brilliant Southern 100 performances by winning the Darran Lindsay Memorial feature race on the RC Express ZX10 Kawasaki. Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston finished third behind runner-up Ivan Lintin.
Meanwhile, Australian Josh Waters gave the Moneymore based Tyco Suzuki squad their first BSB victory of the 2014 season in a rain hit second race at Brands.
Clogher rider Keith Farmer (PR Racing Kawasaki) was third after the main title contenders struggled in the difficult conditions. Ryuichi Kiyonari was the first race winner on the Buildbase BMW.