Fenton Seabright did another demolition job in Race 1 at Brno, taking off from pole to put in a stunning wet weather performance and keep himself just in with a shot at the crown. The fight for the podium behind the number 22 simmered up to a boil on the final laps and after some heartbreak for rookie Zak Shelton, Jack Nixon came away with second, fending off a late charge from Rhys Irwin as the Irishman was forced to settle for third. Championship leader Scott Ogden finished fourth as he missed out on maintaining his perfect podium record by mere hundredths, although he extends his lead after a tough day at the office for closest challenger Cameron Horsman.
It was Seabright who took the holeshot from pole, the number 22 quick off the line and confident through a soaked Turn 1. Ogden bolted from the second row to take over in second and lead the chase, but even on the first lap it looked like the challenge was going to be a big one as Seabright started to streak away in the lead.
Horsman, meanwhile, lost a good few positions off the line and the number 23’s struggles were just beginning. As Ogden, Nixon and Brian Hart squabbled over second, though, there was an impressive charge coming from rookie Zak Shelton.
Shelton was taking chunks out of those ahead of him and the number 17 was soon on the scene, slicing through into second and then immediately able to start pulling away from Ogden. Seabright was over ten seconds clear and would remain out of reach, but the rookie was on for an incredible podium.
Unfortunately for the Shelton, bad luck was coming and it left it heartbreakingly late. As the final laps appeared and the rain eased, it was Ogden pulling him back in and then attacking him, but the number 17 hit back quick and was able to gain some breathing space again. Ogden then lost his, forced down to fifth by Nixon and Irwin.
On the final lap the squabble was real, although Shelton defended like a veteran rather than a rookie. And he made it through the final two corners ahead…until getting tagged by a rider from behind on a different line and seeing the fairytale come to an abrupt end in the gravel trap. Picking himself up and walking away, he watched on as Nixon out-dragged Irwin and Ogden to the line.
Behind Ogden’s first non-podium finish of the season, Brian Hart was forced to settle for fifth, with Jamie Lyons putting in an impressive ride to complete the top six and take his best result of the season so far. Charlie Farrer came home seventh, ahead of Jamie Davis, Jack Hart and Ross Maguire, who completed the top ten just a couple of tenths off Hart.
Corey Tinker took P11 ahead of a tight three-way fight for 12th won by Edward O’Shea, with Osian Jones and Charlie Atkins forced to settle for P13 and P14 respectively. Harry Leigh, who started from pitlane after an issue on the grid, completed the points scorers. Harvey Claridge crashed out.
So where was Horsman? In a heartbreaker of a day for the number 23, he finished in P16. A mechanical problem dogged him throughout the race, but the Championship contender kept going in the hope of some points. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as the field had some impressive staying power – but with 75 points still in play.
After a dramatic and drenched Race 1 in Czechia, Ogden remains in control of the Cup – even more so than before. It’s 25 points the gap ahead of Race 2, but Sunday’s skies look a lot different. Find out who takes the spoils at 15:30 local time (GMT +2).
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