BEN Wilson was forced to settle for second best after a titanic tussle with Fuchs Silkolene British Supersport Championship rival Alistair Seeley at Brands Hatch over the weekend.
The Kirton racer saw his title lead cut to 43 points despite a pair of second places in Kent, with Seeley taking top spot on both occasions.
Wilson dominated the test session on the short Indy circuit and was just beaten to pole position by Seeley when they switched to the full GP circuit on Saturday for qualifying.
As the short ten-lap sprint race got under way it was Seeley who rounded Paddock Hill Bend in the lead, with Wilson on the Gearlink Kawasaki hot on his heels.
The pace slowed in the opening laps with the safety car on the track to deal with a crash involving Wilson’s team mate Jesse Trayler, but once the car left the track the race was on and another epic battle began.
Wilson recorded the fastest lap of the race on lap seven – less than a tenth of a second away from the existing lap – and was desperate for the win. The 29-year-old refused to settle for second place and hit the front at Paddock Hill.
But he ran a little too wide at Graham Hill bend and Seeley nipped through once again.
The pair pulled well clear of the field and the battle raged all the way to the chequered flag with Seeley taking the win by a tyre tread from Wilson, the deficit just one hundredth of a second.
Wilson said: “I am disappointed with that result, but that’s the way it is. I made a mistake and that’s when Alistair got back in front.”
After two restarts the Sunday feature race finally went ahead – and this time it was Wilson who was quick off the start line, as he got the hole shot through Paddock Hill.
Seeley pushed hard and took the lead on the second lap though, with Wilson again hanging on to his shirt tails. Jimmy Hill joined the party for a few laps but fell back as the pace quickened, leaving the two rivals to continue in another battle for supremacy.
With two laps remaining, Wilson took the lead but Seeley regained the position at Westfield. The duel continued and Wilson once again surged ahead at Paddock, only for his rival to force his way back at the next bend.
Again the result was determined on the dash to the chequered flag with Seeley crossing the finish line three hundredths of a second ahead.
Wilson added: “Again I am a little disappointed. When I took the lead I just couldn’t seem to shake him off.
“But on the positive side we picked up 40 championship points and we will move on to Cadwell where I need to get two wins to maintain my series lead.”
The usual “Rider of the Day” award took a new twist with Jamie Whitham unable to separate the two top Supersport riders. He awarded the champagne jointly to Wilson and Seeley for their outstanding performance in the two races.
The next round is on home Tarmac at Cadwell Park when the Bank Holiday crowd will be eagerly anticipating another thriller.
• Championship standings: 1st B Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 308pts; 2nd A Seeley (Relentless TAS Suzuki) 265pts; 3rd B McConnell (Oxford Tag Triumph) 148pts; 4th P Young (Oxford Tag Triumph) 141pts; 5th S Warren (Seton Tuning) 140pts.