KENNAUGH WINS BUT MISSES OUT ON TITLE
HUDSON Kennaugh and the Splitlath Motorsport Aprilia team narrowly missed out on the inaugural Mirror.co.uk BSB-Evo Championship at Oulton Park -- by just three points.
The Derby-based South African ended the season on a high after taking the win in the final race of the year at the Cheshire circuit, but unfortunately rival Steve Brogan finished second, which was enough to give him the title.
After winning Saturday's race, Kennaugh headed into Sunday's first one just three points adrift of Brogan and the Jentin BMW squad. After a good start, he ended the first lap in second place behind his main rival, and set about chasing him down. But an engine problem hampered his efforts and he was unable to catch up to him, having to settle for second.
The result meant Brogan had an eight point lead as the bikes lined up for the final race of the season. Starting once again right next to each other, Brogan was again the quickest man away, grabbing himself a bit of a lead as Kennaugh found himself held up by some of the Superbike runners.
But determined to race until the very end, Kennaugh put his head down and clawed it all back, finally passing him on Lap 11. From here he headed off into the distance, taking the win by two seconds. But Brogan finishing second meant he edged three points ahead, enough to win him the title.
"That was a great way to end the season after a brilliant weekend for me," said Kennaugh. "Yes, I am a little disappointed that we didn't win it but I think we gave Brogie a really good run for his money.
"We were there fighting all the way to the end, and took the championship right down to the wire. Three points was all that was in it at the end, and for our first season developing this Aprilia RSV4, this is something we can all be proud of.
"This weekend I've had two wins and one second, which is something to celebrate. At least I kept him off the top step in that last race! It's been a challenging year for me, but I feel very at home with Splitlath. The team have worked tirelessly to get us where we are today and I would like to take this chance to thank everyone involved. We gave it a good go, and it couldn't have been any closer."
Unfortunately it was a tough weekend for team-mate Chris Burns. After retiring from Saturday's race with a clutch problem, he had hoped to get back on the podium on Sunday.
In Sunday's first race he had suffered a bad start, but in typical Burns style fought his way back up the order. On Lap Nine he was closing up to make a move on Pauli Pekkanen for third when disaster struck.
The Worx Crescent Suzuki of Tommy Hill -- which had collided with James Ellison's Swan Honda a few laps earlier -- had rejoined just ahead of them and was starting to spit out oil. As Burns was about to pass Pekkanen, Hill crashed out ahead of them, dropping even more oil which took Burns and another two Evo riders out as well. Injuring his knee, Burns was unable to get back out for the final race.
"There was nothing I could do. I could see Tommy's bike was spitting out oil and I was trying to avoid it," he said. "When he went down it just went all over the track and there was nowhere for any of us to go. It was annoying, no-one wants their season to end like that. It was a real shame because that would've been another podium for me. I'm gutted."
Team Principal John Dimbylow praised his riders' efforts for the race and the whole season. "We may not have won but we came a very close second which is something we should all be proud of.
"It was a tremendous weekend. We won two races and finished second in the other where we suffered an engine problem. We have done as much as we could. Our team is progressing and we are getting better and better. It has been a great season for us, and we go away feeling happy with what we have achieved."