News 9 Aug 2010

BSB: Kawasaki's Tom Sykes steals Brands Hatch double

Kawasaki WSBK rider Tom Sykes won both BSB races at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

Kawasaki WSBK rider Tom Sykes won both BSB races at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

Tom Sykes made a triumphant return to the domestic scene on Sunday, interrupting his summer break from World Superbike action to power his factory Kawasaki to a winning double in the eighth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

The Yorkshireman stole the show in the Sunday races, but, in the damp of the Saturday afternoon race he had run fifth as Alastair Seeley enjoyed his maiden victory in the series aboard the Relentless Suzuki – the following day brought a reversal of fortunes as Sykes twice beat off the determined HM Plant Honda riding Ryuichi Kiyonari to take the spoils of victory while Seeley twice crashed out of contention.

Seeley had made a fast get-away to the first of the two Sunday races but Australian Josh Brookes had soon taken him but the HM Plant Honda rider crashed out on the third lap, with Michael Rutter taking over out front before Kiyonari moved ahead.

The race was developing, but, Seeley tipped off at Surtees and Andrew Pitt hit the stricken Suzuki, bringing out the red-flags. On the re-start, Rutter made the break on his Ducati with Sykes running ahead of Kiyonari and Michael Laverty.

Sykes took the lead on the fourth lap and by half distance, Kiyonari had moved into second place, running ahead of Rutter, Michael Laverty, James Ellison and Tommy Hill – the race had thrown the title chase wide open with Kiyonari, Hill and Brookes, sidelined earlier, level on 229 points.

“It’s good to be back, good to race here, and to be out front in this race,” said Sykes after his winning ride. “We made big changes to the bike after Saturday’s race, so fair play to the team who worked so hard. This victory is a thank you to them. It was hard and challenging but I loved it.”

Kiyonari took the initiative next time out but Sykes was running him close with Michael Laverty clear of Rutter, Yukio Kagayama, Ellison and Brookes but on the fifth lap Sykes snatched the lead at Paddock Hill Bend and once ahead, he was in no mood to concede anything.

Sykes was pushed all of the way by the determined Kiyonari with Michael Laverty looking good in third before tipping off a Druids at three quarters distance, seconds after Seeley had also fallen. Rutter was running third, with Hill fourth from Ellison ad Brookes.

Sykes, who had won three of the 52 British series races before his graduation onto the world stage at the start of the 2009 season, completed the daily double, half a second clear of Kiyonari.

“That was even sweeter, it has helped us so much now for the rest of our season in the world championship, the booster that we all wanted,” he reflected.

Kiyonari was not too disappointed with second place as it put him 249-242 ahead of Worx Crescent Suzuki rider Hill in the title stakes with Brookes third in the standings of 239 points.

Hudson Kennaugh took the lead in the BSB-EVO title chase, but by only two points ahead of Steve Brogan in a weekend of mixed fortunes for both of them – the class victories went to Chris Burns on the Splitlath Aprilia, then Brogan for Jentin BMW and Pauli Pekkanen riding the 777RR Suzuki.

James Westmoreland took a hard fought victory in the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship to peg back five points on the leader in the title stakes Sam Lowes who had led for much of the race before having to settle for second best.

Graeme Gowland came in third ahead of top Aussie Jason O’Halloran, while Glen Richards was seventh and Billy McConnell was eighth.

“I’ve never ridden at Brands before but I knew it would be the type of track that would suit my style once I got a good set up,” O’Halloran commented. “The race was pretty fraught and I had to put in some moves that I had to make stick.

“I really enjoyed it and loved being back up near the front end and fighting for top results. I had to work very hard for that but it was worth it and I’m really pleased for the entire East Coast Racing Team for the result that both Pat and I managed to get. I’m really looking forward to getting to Cadwell in a few weeks time.”

Richards claimed second in the Superstock 1000 race, while current Australian Superbike points leader Bryan Staring finished a solid fourth in his final scheduled guest outing with HM Plant Honda.

The 125cc Grand Prix class saw Aussie young gun Matthew Davies finish 10th in his rookie season of BSB 125GP racing.

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