MOTORSPORT: Crash halts Wilson’s progress at opener

Mixed emotions: Ben Wilson had an eventful weekend at Brands Hatch. Photos by ADRIAN SMITH and DAVE YEOMANS

Mixed emotions: Ben Wilson had an eventful weekend at Brands Hatch. Photos by ADRIAN SMITH and DAVE YEOMANS

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BEN Wilson endured a mixed start to the new Motorpoint British Supersport Championship at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend.

After scoring a strong second place in Sunday’s opening round, the weather took a turn for the worse and Monday’s feature race turned out to be a disaster for the Kirton ace – who crashed twice in the dire conditions.

Solid start: Ben Wilson on the podium after his second place on Sunday. Photo by DAVE YEOMANS

Solid start: Ben Wilson on the podium after his second place on Sunday. Photo by DAVE YEOMANS

Wilson was forced to start from row two of the grid for Sunday’s sprint race after being pushed back from second to fifth in the dying stages of the session.

But once the lights went out the Gearlink Kawasaki flier got away to his usual speedy start and was ahead as they rounded Paddock Hill Bend for the first time.

He pulled out a 2.46 second lead after just two laps and was looking odds on to take the win, before tyre wear came into play. Wilson was gradually reeled in by Sam Warren and Luke Jones, who both passed him the tenth of 18 planned 18 laps.

But the race was red flagged just moments later when Jones crashed heavily, elevating Wilson back to second place behind Warren.

Wilson said: “It wasn’t a bad race for me. It got me off the zero mark so that will do me.

“It was very slippery out there but we got the job done and will take the second place.”

With Monday came more persistent rain, accompanied by a strong wind. After a series of crashes and mishaps in the previous few races, the track was even more slippery.

Wilson began the race from the front row of the grid and shot off the line to establish a remarkable 2.3 second lead at the end of the first lap. He continued to pull away from the pursuing riders and by lap nine he had a healthy advantage of 7.26 seconds.

What followed was a fiasco, with Wilson tipping off at Graham Hill Bend – swiftly followed by a number of riders as they encountered fluid on the track left by another rider’s crash.

The race was immediately red flagged and there was a lengthy delay while the track contamination was dealt with.

Wilson was allocated pole position for the restart, but his race was over by the third corner when he was involved in a multi-rider crash that brought the race to a halt.

This time a result was declared on positions held in the first half of the race and half championship points were awarded. But as Wilson wasn’t on his bike at the time he was excluded from the results, denying him the win and a further 25 points.

“There was definitely still something on the track at Graham Hill and as I touched the brakes I just went down,” added Wilson.

“Another five or six riders followed me into the gravel and that brought out the red flag again.

“I am really disappointed but it’s only the first round and there are another 11 rounds and 22 races to go.

“I am now anxious to get to Thruxton so I can try and move forward from there.”

It is a quick turnaround for the team as the Thruxton races take place this weekend. Wilson goes into the round holding third place in the embryonic championship standings, behind series leader Sam Warren and Jack Kennedy.

Free practice and qualifying take place on Friday and Saturday, with a 12-lap sprint race scheduled for 4.15pm.

The feature race, run over 18 laps of the 2.3-mile circuit is set for Sunday afternoon at 3.45pm.