BSB » 9 April 2012
Kirkham edges Seeley to win 2012 opener
It was a quest he completed on lap 22 when his quicker route around Paddock Hill Bend allowed him to out-brake the Honda into Druids.
With just eight laps until the chequered flag, Seeley immediately began to push as Kirkham found himself contending with the attentions of the ever-present Rutter. However, Kirkham refused to settle for second and, having shaken off Rutter, began to reapply the pressure to Seeley over the remaining laps.
Though his best efforts heading into the final revolution was limited to a feigned look at Paddock Hill Bend, Kirkham's pressure finally paid dividends when, as the leaders rounded the final corner at Clearways, the rear of Seeley's Suzuki broke away, lifting him briefly out of the seat and losing his momentum on the run to the finish line.
It was the only invitation Kirkham needed as he swept beneath the reigning British Supersport Champion to win the dash for the line in a scene reminiscent to Tommy Hill and John Hopkins's stunning title decider in 2011.
Marking his second career BSB win, and his first with Samsung Honda, Kirkham enjoys an early lead in the standings, ahead of Seeley, who was still able to hold onto second position, and Rutter.
Behind the podium winners, the battle for the remaining top ten positions remained fraught to the finish line, with Ian Lowry being rewarded for an error-free ride on his maiden Padgetts Honda outing to claim an excellent fourth, while Gary Mason rose to the head of a tight mid-field pack to finish in fifth for Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
Following his tremendous qualifying effort, Tommy Bridewell handed BMW its best-ever finish at BSB level with his run to sixth, the Supersonic Racing rider even getting the better of Byrne on the final lap in the process.
Despite a mistake late in the race, James Westmoreland recovered to eighth, ahead of the second Quattro Plant Kawasaki of Freddy Foray, while Brookes was left a disgruntled tenth after losing time by running off the circuit at Graham Hill Bend on lap 24.
Behind him, Alex Polita gave the Ducati 1199 Panigale a solid debut in 11th, ahead of Chris Walker, Haga – who lost time late on having run inside the top ten briefly -, Scott Smart and James Hillier.
As well as Laverty's accident, which was prompted when he high-sided out of Druids on the opening lap, reigning champion Tommy Hill endured a torrid race as he struggled to recover from his lowly 29th position on the grid.
Tagged as: Honda , Yamaha , Kawasaki , Ducati , Suzuki , BMW , Aprilia , Brands Hatch , Noriyuki Haga , Michael Rutter , Josh Brookes , Tommy Hill , Shane Byrne , Alastair Seeley , Michael Laverty
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