James Westmoreland took his debut British Supersport victory in a drama-filled and action packed race at Brands Hatch this afternoon. The JW Racing Triumph rider pulled through from a poor start and avoided a considerable amount of carnage to come ahead of championship rivals Billy McConnell and Steve Plater.
Westmoreland, who had comfortably set pole position on Saturday, was down in 8th at the end of the first lap as the Gearlink Kawasaki pairing of Chris Martin and Ben Wilson led the way with the returning Dan Linfoot slotting into third. Marty Nutt was an early casualty though, high siding spectacularly out of the action on the exit of Graham Hill Bend.
On lap 3 Linfoot hit the front to lead from Wilson and Martin but by lap 5 Westmoreland had worked his way up to 4th as a frenetic nine-man battle ensued at the head of the field. By lap 8, Westmoreland hit the front and, lapping comfortably quicker than the chasing pack, he’d opened up a three second lead by lap 10. However, a lap later the pace car was out after Martin crashed out in horrifying fashion, somersaulting over the barrier and into the scenery although he was seen to be conscious and moving.
The pace car stayed out for 3 laps, wiping out Westmoreland’s advantage, and when the race re-started on lap 14, he was under extreme pressure from the HM Plant Honda of Plater, who had also worked his way up after a slow start, and McConnell. The re-start wasn’t kind to Linfoot though as he too highsided on the exit of Graham Hill whilst sixth placed Dan Cooper crashed out at Druids a lap later.
Westmoreland remained cool though and edged away from Plater in the closing stages leaving the Lincolnshire rider to try and hold off the close attentions of McConnell. However, the Australian dived up the inside on the way in to Hawthorn and try as he might, Plater couldn’t find a way through and his championship lead was reduced by four points.
At the chequered flag, Westmoreland ran out victor by 0.728s from McConnell with Plater in third ahead of Wilson and Ian Hutchinson on the lead Padgetts Honda.
1 James Westmoreland (JW Racing Triumph)
2 Billy McConnell (MAP Raceways Yamaha) +0.728s
3 Steve Plater (HM Plant Honda) +0.933s
4 Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +2.617s
5 Ian Hutchinson (Padgetts Honda) +4.361s
6 Craig Fitzpatrick (BLDS.Close Print Yamaha) +5.444s
7 Sam Lowes (Astro Racing Honda) +5.809s
8 Allan Jon Venter (MAP Raceways Yamaha) +6.667s
9 James Webb (Padgetts Honda) +7.708s
10 Jack Kennedy (Colin Appleyard/Macadam Racing Yamaha) +7.752s