MOTORSPORT: Podium helps Ben climb standings

Podium: Ben Wilson after finishing second in the sprint race (above) and on the track at Oulton Park. Photos by FULL THROTTLE IMAGING and ADRIAN SMITH
Podium: Ben Wilson after finishing second in the sprint race (above) and on the track at Oulton Park. Photos by FULL THROTTLE IMAGING and ADRIAN SMITH

BEN Wilson moved up to fourth place in the British Supersport championship standings after a pair of top finishes at Oulton Park over the weekend.

Although the Gearlink Kawasaki rider is still seeking an elusive first race win of the season, he came pretty close with a second place in Saturday’s sprint race and fourth in the feature on Sunday.

With Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit one of the Kirton ace’s more favoured circuits, the team hoped it’d be the perfect place to seal a maiden success.

The meet began on Friday, with free practice curtailed down to just one session due to heavy and persistent rain that made conditions incredibly tricky.

But by Saturday morning the rain had gone and Wilson was able to post some quick lap times in qualifying, meaning he was able to start the ten-lap sprint race later in the day from the head of the second row.

As the race got under way Wilson was third into Old Hall Bend, but was pushed back to finish the lap in fourth position. He dropped back to sixth on lap four, but soon recovered to take up fourth place once again and looked set to finish the race in that position.

However, things took a dramatic turn on the final corner of the last lap when the two leading riders, Glen Richards and Jack Kennedy, collided and crashed out of the race – which was subsequently won by Billy McConnell, with Wilson finishing in second place.

Although admitting finishing second in such circumstances wasn’t ideal, the extra points came in very handy for Wilson.

The weather remained fine and dry for the feature race on Sunday – and once again Wilson set off from a second row grid position.

This time he didn’t get the start he wanted and found himself boxed in at the first corner down in sixth place. But he remained in touch with the leading five riders and eventually made his way past Richard Cooper into fifth position on lap four of 15.

The top five riders began to pull clear of the pursuing pack and when Luke Mossey made a mistake at Deer Leap, Wilson pounced and moved ahead.

Mossey retook the position and the pair battled throughout the remainder of the race, while the top three riders pulled well clear.

That left the pair squabbling over fourth place as they rounded Lodge for the last time – and it was Wilson who had his wheel ahead as he held off the challenge on the drag to the flag to take the chequered flag in fourth place.

Wilson said: “I am disappointed I couldn’t make it onto the podium this time.

“But on saying that, the points accrued take me back up into fourth place in the overall championship and I have closed the gap between myself and the top three.”

The next round is at Brands Hatch over the weekend of July 20-22, when Wilson will be seeking some top results to move closer to the leading riders.

Rider standings: 1st J Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha) 198.5pts; 2nd G Richards (Smiths Gloucester) 189pts; 3rd B Mcconnell (Smiths Gloucester) 174pts; 4th B Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 154pts.