Stuart Easton expects the British Supersport title battle to go down to the wire as the Scottish star bids to reduce series leader Alastair Seeley’s advantage at Donington Park this weekend.
Easton, who is set to compete at next month’s Sunflower Trophy meeting at Bishopscourt on the Mar-Train Yamaha, slashed Gearlink Kawasaki rider Seeley’s lead at the top to 22 points following the previous round at Cadwell Park, where Seeley crashed out of race one before battling through the pain barrier with a broken rib to finish eighth in race two.
Former British Supersport champion Easton insists it’s all to play for in the final four rounds of the series as he continues to wage war with Ulsterman Seeley in a fascinating duel that has set the championship alight.
The pair have won six races each after the first nine rounds to stake their claim for the title and 30-year-old Easton is fired up for the final phase of their season-long confrontation.
“We’ve got the pace to win races so we need to make that happen and if we can do that we’re in the hunt for the title,” he told the News Letter.
“I was a little bit disappointed at Cadwell with the way things unfolded. I’ve had a couple of fourth places in the last two meetings when I’ve had really good lap times and my speed has been good, but I’ve just ended up in the wrong position at the flag.
“There was a group of seven riders at Oulton and I ended up fourth [after winning the first race] and Alastair won, so that was a bit of a blow,” he added.
“We’ve always had the pace but for one reason or another I had a really bad meeting at Snetterton and a few fourth places when we should’ve won, so we’re 22 points behind but we’ve been as fast as anyone and the title is up for grabs.”
Easton’s uncharacteristic 10th and 13th place finishes at Snetterton seemed a turning point in the championship, with Seeley bagging a double to stretch clear at the top.
However, the Kawasaki rider’s crash at Cadwell offered Easton the chance to claw back ground and he cut Seeley’s lead with a runner-up finish in race one and fourth in the second encounter.
“We missed a test at Snetterton, which is quite a long, technical circuit and that put us on the back foot. Then we’d a problem with the rear shock absorber on the Friday and lost most of the day with that,” Easton said.
“We went into Saturday on the back foot and we were really up against it and it just shows how things can turn against you.
“It just so happened to be one of Seeley’s strongest circuits and he had a double win – it was a double blow for us really.
“But we won the first race at the next meeting and it’s just how championships work,” he added.
“He had a bad meeting at Cadwell and that kind of redressed the balance. The difference is 22 points, there are four rounds to go and it’s as simple as that really.”
Looking ahead to next month’s Sunflower Trophy meeting, which returns to its traditional October date (25-26) after a failed attempt to switch the meeting to a summer slot in 2012, Easton is relishing the chance to compete for the Temple-based Mar-Train team at Bishopscourt, where he could face a familiar opponent in Seeley.
“We’re definitely on for it that’s for sure. It’s quite a big race for Mar-Train and there’s a decent prize fund up for grabs so we’ll be treating it like any British championship race,” Stuart said. “It’ll be good and I’ll look forward to it.”