It was a weekend to forget for the Padgett's Supersport team at Brands Hatch when both riders crashed out of what proved to be the closest Supersport race so far this season.

From the start Honda's Karl Harris opened up an immediate gap on the pursuing pack, but Dean Thomas, also riding a CBR600RR, gradually hauled in the works rider, snatching the win by two hundredths of a second in a dramatic last corner dash to the flag.

Unfortunately, the Padgett's team had already been relegated to a spectating role as both Adrian Coates and John Crockford found themselves out of the race in separate incidents.

Once again the team managed to top the speed tables during the qualifying sessions, Crockford finally lining up on the second row of the grid with Coates slightly disappointed to be back in thirteenth as a result of a high-side during second qualifying.

Another textbook start from Coates saw him immediately make up two places as he commenced a steady climb through the field, determined to keep his third place in the championship with another top-six finish. In contrast to his team-mates blistering getaway, Crockford thought he'd found a reverse gear when his bike bogged on the line and he got swallowed up by riders from the third and fourth rows in the run to the first corner.

Crockford immediately applied himself to the task of making up the lost ground, but his attempts to keep in touch with the leading pack were cut short when the front wheel of his Honda tucked under going into Stirling Bend on lap 4. A bitterly disappointed Crockford said: "I was looking forward to getting back on the podium here, but then I got the worse start I've had all year and was just starting to make up some places when the front let go. After two podiums in the first three races, I can't believe I've now had three races where my best result was a tenth place."

The Southampton-based rider added: "All I want to do now is get up to Rockingham and show what we're capable of - I can win on this bike and I won't be satisfied until I've proved it."

Having been a model of consistent finishing all year, Coates' first DNF of 2003 came as a result of an incident at Druids. The 2001 British 250 Champion said: "I knew I was going to have my work cut out starting from the fourth row, but the bike was going really well and I'd made my way up to seventh place when I lost the back going into the hairpin and ended up dumping it in the gravel. I was told that it looked like the rear wheel locked up, but until we get the bike back to the shop it's difficult to know whether the cause was mechanical or not."

The team are now working flat out to ensure a return to their early-season form at Rockingham in two weeks time.



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