Struggles aplenty but Richards is back in the title driving seat
THE Smiths Racing Triumph team boosted their title hopes on their return to Motorpoint British Supersport Champion- ship action.
Despite finding the going tough at Silverstone, with just one podium to show for his efforts, Glen Richards managed to grab the advantage in the title race going into the final round at Brands Hatch next month.
Having set pole position by more than half a second, Richards was in confident mood going into the Sprint race.
He duelled with fellow Triumph rider Christian Iddon for the entire race distance, his rival ultimately prevailed with a final lap overtaking manoeuvre.
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It meant Richards had to settle for second, but with main championship rival Jack Kennedy again crashing out the 20 points saw him retake the title lead.
Richards said: "For the second meeting in succession we struggled, but due to Jack having more problems than us I managed to take advantage – although I'm disappointed I couldn't capitalise further.
"It's still very much all to play for going into Brands Hatch in two weeks' time, as 12½ points is nothing, and we will have to be on top of our game to make sure we win the championship."
Team-mate Billy McConnell spent most of the race as part of a five-man group battling for third, and he eventually crossed the line in a close fourth place.
The longer Feature race proved to be a lot tougher, despite both Richards and McConnell opting for the harder compound tyre.
Richards was never higher than sixth, and when he was pushed wide by a crashing Glenn Irwin all he could do was bring the bike home in that position.
McConnell dropped back to 13th at one point before fighting his way up to tenth at the chequered flag.
The third member of the team Luke Mossey crashed out during the practice session, sustaining a broken ankle in three places which will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Johnny Blackshaw also found the going tough in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship race and, having qualified down in 19th place, the Stretton rider's race ended on just the third lap when he crashed out at Vale.