Haga doubles up at Brands Hatch

Even though Pier-Francesco Chili crashed out of the first leg of the European round at Brands Hatch in Great Britain, Chili returned for the second leg as proof to his strength.

Noriyuki Haga.
Photo by Dave Dyer.

Noriyuki Haga not only led the first lap of the first race, but also the first lap of the second race. The Japanese took the hole-shot from Regis Laconi, Troy Corser, Chris Vermeulen and Chili.

James Toseland, who came into this round leading the championship, suffered from some of the worst luck ever. Though he finished a healthy seventh place on the first race, the second race was did not go as well as the first. The first sign of problems to come was a mechanical problem, which forced him to retire from the race. Lady luck must be a sadist, because within seconds of his retirement, the race was red flagged. This allowed Toseland to return for the second part of what would be an aggregate race. As the second part of the race got underway, lady luck returned changed her mind on Toseland, as Corser rammed himself and Toseland out of the race. Any other day, this would have meant Toseland was out of the championship, but with only six laps to go, Laconi threw the lead away as he low-sided out of the race.

Steve Martin had his share of Toseland's luck, being forced to retire due to a blown engine.

With Laconi out of the race, Vermeulen was promoted to third, six seconds behind the leading two. Chili led the last lap, but Haga stayed close to the Italian, which was enough to hand the win the Haga who won on aggregate time.

Today's round opened up the championship to at least four riders; Regis Laconi (218), Chris Vermeulen (216), Noriyuki Haga (212), James Toseland (210) and Pier-Francesco Chili (180).