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Jul 21, 2014 - 06:36 AM
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Double Podium For Gowland At Brands Hatch
Posted by: newsla on Jul 21, 2014 - 06:31 AM
Double Podium For Gowland At Brands Hatch

The Smiths Triumph Racing Team endured mixed fortunes at round five of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend with Graeme Gowland taking a brace of second places but team-mate Billy McConnell suffering a first race crash and seeing his championship reduced further with a sixth place in race two.


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Northumberland rider Gowland and Australian McConnell lined up in second and fourth places respectively for Saturday's 12 lap Sprint race and the duo maintained their positions in the opening two laps. By lap three, Adelaide's McConnell was up to second but a lap later his race was over as he crashed out at Druids so it was left to Allandale, near Hexham rider Gowland to fly the flag for the Gloucester-based 2012 British Champions.

This he did and for the remainder of the race as he was locked in battle with Alastair Seeley and despite never being much of a gap, the Ulsterman held on for the win with Graeme, aboard the factory-backed Triumph 675R machine, just a fraction behind in second place.

It all meant the championship table had closed up considerably prior to today's 18 lap Feature race and it was to change further by the conclusion of the race as Seeley and Gowland battled all the way for the lead with McConnell down the order in sixth.

Just like Saturday's race, there was nothing between Seeley and Gowland but try as he might, the Geordie was unable to get close enough to make a pass stick and he had to settle for his second runner-up spot of the weekend. McConnell, meanwhile, slipped back to seventh at one stage before fighting back to claim sixth place and what could prove to be ten valuable championship points.

McConnell still leads the Motorpoint British Championship by ten points from Seeley with Gowland a single point further back in third with 14 races still to go.

Graeme Gowland: "I'm disappointed not to have won a race this weekend but at the same time, I'm happy as I came into the meeting 41 points off the championship lead and now I'm only 11 points away from Billy. I felt like I had a bike good enough to win but whilst I could draw alongside Alastair, I just couldn't quite get enough drive out of the corners to make a pass happen so had to settle for a close second in each race. With Alastair's wins I've dropped a spot to third overall but there's now only 11 points between the three of us with everything to play for. We've a really busy period of racing coming up and I'm really looking forward to be racing week in week out and building on our points tally."

Billy McConnell: "It's been a very tough weekend for myself although it started off well as the bike felt good and I was confident of being up there. In the first race, I made a good start and I went into Druids 1kph slower than the previous lap but trailed the front brake for a bit longer and down I went. We made a few changes before today's race but I didn't feel good with the front end and whilst I could run a decent pace on my own, when I was in amongst other riders, I couldn't. I got a finish and I've kept my championship lead so we'll go away, look at a few things to see how we can improve and move forward once more."

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: "The weekend started well for the team and we had high hopes of scoring some good results even though the changeable weather made it difficult for everyone. Both of the riders qualified well but Billy's crash dented his confidence a bit although he rode a solid race today to score some solid points and maintain his championship lead. Graeme rode fantastically well all weekend and he can consider himself unlucky not to have won one of the races but with a brace of seconds, it's really closed the championship up. We've got a busy period ahead of us with the meetings coming up so we'll look forward to the next round at Thruxton now and getting back on to the top step."

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race One - 12 laps
1 Alastair Seeley (Yamaha)
2 Graeme Gowland (Smiths Racing Triumph)
3 Luke Jones (Triumph)
4 Jake Dixon (Yamaha)
5 Luke Stapleford (Triumph)
6 Luke Mossey (Triumph)
DNF Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph)

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race Two - 18 laps
1 Alastair Seeley (Yamaha)
2 Graeme Gowland (Smiths Racing Triumph)
3 Luke Jones (Triumph)
4 Jake Dixon (Yamaha)
5 Luke Stapleford (Triumph)
6 Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph)

Championship Points (after five rounds)
1 McConnell 162pts
2 Seeley 152
3 Gowland 151
4 Stapleford 124
5 Jones 119
6 Irwin 118

The next round of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship takes place at Thruxton over the weekend of August 1/3rd.

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