Crash-hit Easton retains lead ahead of crunch Brands meet

Stuart Easton in action at Silverstone

Stuart Easton in action at Silverstone

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TERI motorbike ace Stuart Easton held on to his lead in the British Supersport Championship, despite crashing out of Saturday’s race at Silverstone.

After a dramatic penultimate round, Easton now takes a 19-point lead into the final meeting at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time, with 50 points up for grabs.

He crashed out of the opening race on lap one on Saturday, but battled bravely to fourth place in race two on Sunday from the fourth row of the grid – setting up a grandstand finish for the second year running for the Mar-Train team.

Easton said: “It’s been a tough weekend and what happened on Saturday was all my fault. The team gave me a great bike as usual and my plan was to get the front and drop the hammer, which I did do. Unfortunately, I think probably a cold tyre and being held on the grid a little longer, combined with the slightly colder conditions, caught me out.

“I folded the front at Farm and paid a huge price losing 25 points to Alastair [Seeley] in the championship. We picked ourselves up overnight and went into the race today, but having lost all the data yesterday I struggled on a couple of corners, but the bike was fast as usual. It managed to keep me in the fight for fourth place and we go to Brands six points in front in the championship with all to play for.”

Team Principal Tim Martin said afterwards: “Stuart got caught out in the opening race after a strong start but he recovered well from a difficult grid position today, proving his desire to win this championship with Mar-Train Racing. As we expected, it all comes down to the final two races, which should make great viewing for the fans.

“This championship is never over until it’s over and this weekend has again proved that, but we will take the positives from it and going to Brands with an advantage should gives us a slight edge.” Officials gave Alistair Seeley a 10-point deduction for an overtake which knocked Jason O’Halloran off his bike in Sunday’s race, meaning Easton finished third.

Meanwhile, PBM team boss Paul Bird confirmed Easton will return to the team after a year at Mar-Train, and will compete in the 2014 MCE British Superbike series, alongside Shane Byrne. The Hawick rider will also return to Superbikes at the North West 200 next year.