Mounsey & Belford storm the top step at Brands Hatch

24 July 2023

Mounsey makes gains before Belford hits back on a weekend of two halves in Kent

Race 1 was a wet weather thriller at Brands Hatch and it was Sullivan Mounsey (Wilson Racing / Maddison Media) who took an impressive second win of the season, shooting through to the lead early on and escaping at the head of the field with only Harley McCabe (McCabe Racing) for company. McCabe was forced to settle for second as he couldn’t quite home in to make a move, and behind that duel came another as Alexander Rowan (Mortimer Racing Victoria House Academy) went toe-to-toe with Lucas Brown (Amphibian Scaffolding / SP125 Racing). The number 65 just took it at the line and after some drama right on their tail too: a late race crash for Championship leader Evan Belford (City Lifting / RS Racing) saw the number 52 make his first and only error of the season so far.

Mounsey absolutely stormed off the third row to challenge polesitter Belford immediately, and the number 4 and McCabe both headed through to push the Championship leader down to third. Brown then made that fourth for Belford, before Rowan also shot past on his charge from P20 on the grid, straight up into the podium fight.

From there, Mounsey and McCabe escaped at the front as Rowan vs Brown lit up the fight for third. Belford was initially holding a steady fifth but managed to get back on terms with the podium fight by the last three laps, immediately pouncing to get in the mix. His fight with Rowan allowed Brown to make a small gap, but then an excursion onto the grass for the number 29 tightened it up into a three-way battle once again. And as the penultimate lap began, the decisive moment then came for Belford as the number 52 crashed out from the fight, leaving Rowan vs Brown to roll all the way to the line.

Out in front, McCabe stayed with Mounsey enough to put on some serious pressure, but the number 4 kept it pinned on the final lap to cross the line 0.187 ahead and take an impressive victory. McCabe was forced to settle for second, but the duo were nearly eight seconds clear of the chasing pack after both put in a memorable masterclass in the wet.

The duel for third went right to the line, quite literally. Brown was ahead before Rowan got through at Druids, but the number 29 hit back immediately. The same happened in the final sector and that left everything on the line on the drag to the line – with Rowan hugging the inside and keeping it pinned to just pip Brown to that final place on the podium.

Behind, there was a group fight for what became fifth after Belford’s crash, with Ollie Walker (VisionTrack Racing Team) taking P5 ahead of Julian Correa (Microlise Cresswell Racing) and Alfie Davidson (Banks Racing) – another with a barnstomer of a start. Amanuel Brinton (Kovara Projects / RS Racing) fought back to eighth after dropping outside the top ten early on, with Filip Surowiak (FS75 Racing / FAB Racing) not too far behind in P9.  Ben Jolliffe (Wilson Racing) rounded out the top ten a little further back.

Ryan Frost (Talentum Motorsport by Azure Notions) suffered mechanical issues that saw him lose his second row grid spot and then he sufferred a DNF, and Scott McPhee (SMP Racing) was also missing from Row 2 after a crash on the sighting lap.

Race 2 saw the sun return and with it, the imperious form of Evan Belford (City Lifting / RS Racing). The Championship leader bounced back with another impressive and convincing win at the head of the field, with the podium completed by Harley McCabe (McCabe Racing) and Sullivan Mounsey (Wilson Racing / Maddison Media) as the two went toe-to-toe once again, this time finishing with McCabe ahead.

A crash out of second for Amanuel Brinton (Kovara Projects / RS Racing) dented his charge after a tougher Race 1 too, with McCabe and Mounsey therefore able to leapfrog him in the standings after Round 5.

Off the line, Belford started as he meant to go on, grabbing the holeshot ahead of Alexander Rowan (Mortimer Racing Victoria House Academy). Mounsey, Brinton and McCabe didn’t waste time in muscling their way past Rowan, however, and as Belford made a break for it, it settled into an equidistant trio of Brinton, McCabe and Mounsey on the chase.

On Lap 7, the drama then hit for Brinton as the number 43 suddenly slid out from the head of that trio, losing the front. That made it a duel of McCabe vs Mounsey to decide the rostrum behind Belford, and by Lap 10 Mounsey was swarming the number 7.

After Belford crossed the line with some time in hand, bouncing back from a tough Race 1 in style, attention then turned back to the duel. Mounsey was glued to the back of McCabe throughout the final lap but couldn’t quite get close enough to make a move, and it went down to the drag to the line. At the flat it was just a tenth between the two, but McCabe held firm for that second place.

Lucas Brown (Amphibian Scaffolding / SP125 Racing) managed to escape a huge group fight and came home with another top result of fourth, ahead of a stunning best yet finish for Ronnie Harris (Kovara Projects / RS Racing) in fifth at the head of that group. Ryan Frost (Talentum Motorsport by Azure Notions) stormed up from well down the order after a difficult Race 1 to take sixth, ahead of Harrison Dessoy (Eastern Garage Racing/Microlise Cresswell Racing), Rhys Stephenson (Rocket Racing), Filip Surowiak (FS75 Racing / FAB Racing) and Ollie Walker (VisionTrack Racing Team). Julian Correa (Microlise Cresswell Racing) took that final spot in the top ten.

That’s all she wrote at Brands Hatch, with a weekend of two halves seeing some shuffles in the standings… but not at the top despite that Race 1 DNF for Belford. He leaves Round 5 with the same 62-point gap, now ahead of McCabe, and next up it’s the biggest stage of the season: the Monster Energy British Grand Prix at Silverstone alongside MotoGP™. Make sure to tune in from the 4th to the 6th of August for more!

52 Evan Belford TBC GBR leads the race Round 05 British Superbikes Brands Hatch 21 – 23 July 2023

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