Alastair Seeley pounced to earn a timely victory and claw back some more ground on fellow Northern Ireland rider Josh Elliott in another nip and tuck National Superstock 1000 race on Sunday at Oulton Park.
Morello Kawasaki’s Elliott had made most of the running on the ZX-10R but Seeley was playing a waiting game on the Tyco BMW and made his move with two laps to go, diving underneath the young Ballinamallard rider at the first corner.
Elliott wasn’t prepared to settle for a safe second and attempted to fight back on the final lap, but the wily Seeley successfully defended his lines and used the power of the BMW S1000RR to gain enough drive out of the final corner to hold on for a narrow win by only 0.121 seconds.
Carrick man Seeley is now 17 points behind Elliott with only two rounds remaining at Silverstone (October 3-4) and Brands Hatch (October 17-18) but has vowed to take the title battle down to the wire next month.
“It seemed to be that once the grip levels dropped off a bit, the bike seemed to feel a bit better underneath me,” said Seeley, who was celebrating his fourth win of the season.
“I dropped off a bit at the start and then clawed it back; I passed Hudson (Kennaugh) and went after Josh and had a really good look at him for a number of laps to see where we were better than him and where Josh was strong.
“I sussed that out and made the pass and defended my line. It was quite tight into the last corner and I could hear Josh trying to go round the outside,” Seeley added.
“I thought if he could get a wheel in front it would be tight up the last hill but we just used the power of the BMW and got the win.
“It’s what we need and I never give up in these championships. I’m prepared to fight to the end and we’ll try and keep the pressure on and see how it goes.”
Elliott, who won last time out at Cadwell Park and started Sunday’s race from pole, said he was experiencing gearbox issues with his Kawasaki.
“We’d a real problem towards the end with changing gear – it wouldn’t go into fourth or fifth,” he said.
“I was having big moments once I did manage to select those gears, so I think that’s where Alastair was able to pass me into turn one and other places.
“On the last two laps I looked around and saw there was a gap to Hudson (Kennaugh) so I decided to sit tight behind Alastair and try and make my move on the last lap,” he added.
“It just didn’t happen and we had a few slides and he got a bit of a gap on me. Fair play and I’m really happy with my team.”
Hudson Kennaugh completed the top three on the Trik-Moto BMW but is 59 points behind Elliott and 42 adrift of Seeley, leaving the championship outcome to be decided by the two Ulster riders in what promises to be a thrilling climax.
Nico Mawhinney was 15th on the Team Polaris Kawasaki.