Crash.Net WSBK News
Bostrom blasts to Brands double
29 July 2001
Ben Bostrom emerged victorious in race two at Brands Hatch today, the American battling tooth and nail with British hero Neil Hodgson – the pair clearly in a class of their own around the challenging Kent track.
After the thrilling Bostrom/Hodgson battle in race one, the 100,000 plus fans were hoping for more of the same in race two – and they weren't disappointed. Bostrom was out to win 'properly' by taking the chequered flag after his earlier aggregate victory, while Hodgson desperately wanted to stand on the top step of the podium in front of the his home fans at the biggest World Superbike race of the year.
As the red lights disappeared to signal the start pole sitter Hodgson seemed to lift his front wheel a little to high – and third place starter Edwards looked to have the jump on the Englishman into turn one.
However, Hodgson held his line – and nerve – around the outside to lead the field around lap one of twenty-five, from Edwards, Bostrom, Chili, Hislop and Hodgson's teammate James Toseland, with championship leader Troy Bayliss tenth.
The leading GSE Ducati rider did his best to pull away from the field in the early laps – but to no avail, as Edwards was looking much stronger than in race one, when he'd suffered badly from a tyre change before the restart
By lap four Bayliss was the man on the move, slicing precisely through the field on his #21 Ducati – culminating in a double pass on Hislop and Toseland for fifth into Clearways, before the Australian set his sights on Chili's Suzuki.
Up front, Bostrom was starting to pressure Edwards for second, eager to dispatch his fellow American who was starting to drop off the pace. The race one winner attempted to pass the Honda into Paddock Hill Bend – but the Texan Tornado firmly shut the door.
Next time around BB was more definite and held his line into the off camber first turn, leaving Edwards to face Chili's onslaught for the final podium position. Once in clean air Bostrom immediately showed he had lost none of his speed from race one as he set the fastest laps of the race, while closing in on Hodgson by 0.2secs a lap.
By lap nine Bostrom was right on the #100 machines rear wheel and when the move came it was no surprise that it was along the main straight – a section which had proved a happy hunting ground for Bostrom in both races, his works Ducati holding a slight horsepower advantage over Hodgson's GSE machine.
Eager to avoid a repeat of race one where Hodgson had repassed the American several times, BB kept his pace up and soon had a comfortable 1.3secs buffer to the Brit.
By lap twelve attention switched to the Edwards/Chili battle for third, as the WSB veterans fought for supremacy – passing and repassing each other as they attempted to stay ahead of the charging Bayliss – who was now up to fifth on his #21 Infostrada Ducati.
With ten laps to go BB caught backmarkers up front, but these provided little obstacle for the man-of-the-moment in WSB racing BUT as he and Hodgson crossed the line it was apparent that the reigning BSB champion had closed the gap significantly (to 0.58secs).
Two laps later and Hodgson looked to be ready to pounce, the Englishman once again faster through the Hawthorns, Westfields, Dingle Dell section of the track, while his horsepower disadvantage to Bostrom was reduced by slipstreaming the American along the straights.
With the huge crowd now on tenterhooks, BB sensed the challenge and dug deep to produce ultra fast lap times once again, while Hodgson seemed unable to respond - slowing slightly.
Meanwhile, Bayliss had joined the two-way battle for third, with less than four laps to go, and slipped inside Chili at Surtees, before rocketing up to the back of Edwards – his main championship rival.
Bayliss took the final podium position the next time around at the Dingle Dell corner, and set about defending the position, with his leading teammate Bostrom (and Hodgson) by now way ahead of the Australian.
Into the final lap and BB had enough of a buffer to hold off Hodgson – and the #155 rider took an amazing fifth WSB race win in a row, with Hodgson less than a second behind after giving his all in the final laps on an apparently ailing machine.
Bayliss duly won the battle for third to extend his points lead to 53 over Edwards, who lost fourth to Chili in the dying moments, while Toseland finished an excellent sixth ahead of top wild card John Reynolds on the Red Bull Ducati.
The 100,000 strong crowd cheered Hodgson all around his slow down lap, but it was little consolation for the Englishman who had his heart set only on winning his home event.
“I threw everything at the race,” said a disappointed – and clearly exhausted -Hodgson afterwards. “With 10 laps to go my bike started to leak water and I thought 'oh my God it's raining.' That cost me a bit of horsepower and I couldn't do any more – I was going to fall off… I'm devastated.”
Following the podium celebrations Hodgson threw his race kit (all of!) into the crowd as a sign of his appreciation for their massive support all weekend, and while there was no doubt that the man the majority of the crowd had come to see win had stood second on the podium today, Ben Bostrom had been a worthy winner of the 'Battle of Brands.'
Full results to follow…