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Brands BSB: Mackenzie wins last-lap thriller

Tarran Mackenzie took his second Bennetts British Superbike Championship win of the day at Brands Hatch on Sunday afternoon after a thrilling battle with McAMS Yamaha team-mate Jason O’Halloran.

The duo overhauled long time leader Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) on the 13th of 20 laps and then went head-to-head for the remainder of the race, Mackenzie eventually getting the win by 0.037s. Irwin claimed a good third.
Mackenzie led the field into Paddock Hill Bend and he maintained his lead all the way until the end of the lap with Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha), Irwin, O’Halloran, Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) in hot pursuit.
Rory Skinner held seventh but a mistake next time around dropped him back to 12th and the two MCE Ducati’s of Josh Brookes and Tom Sykes were already out, Brookes crashing out at Westfield and Sykes failing to start after mechanical trouble on the sighting lap.
Irwin was soon on the move and after taking second on lap two, he then took the lead from Mackenzie on lap three with the running order behind them now Ray, O’Halloran, Bridewell and Haslam. Danny Kent was again going well in seventh on the Buildbase Suzuki.
Lap four saw Ray get back up into second at the expense of Mackenzie and a lap later only three quarters of a second covered the top six. The next change came on lap six when O’Halloran pushed team-mate Mackenzie back down to fourth.
Ray then briefly took the lead but immediately ran wide at Paddock Hill Bend so Irwin reclaimed the number one position and after seven laps it was Irwin, Ray, O’Halloran, Mackenzie, Bridewell and Haslam. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) and Kyle Ryde on the second OMG machine were leading the charge behind. O’Halloran then took over second a lap later with the front six holding a half second lead over the pursuing pack.
The two McAMS Yamaha’s exchanged positions twice on lap nine but Irwin continued to hold sway at the head of the field with Bridewell relegating Ray to fifth just before half race distance.
By the beginning of lap twelve, the leading group had been split into two groups of three with half a second between each group and Mackenzie and O’Halloran continued to swap places, the latter back in second as they started the 13th lap.
The lap proved to be unlucky for Irwin as O’Halloran moved by him at Surtees and then Mackenzie did the same a corner later and the two Yamaha’s soon looked to check out as they dropped into the mid 1’25’s.
That gave them a second lead over Irwin and Mackenzie retook the lead at Hawthorn’s on lap 15 with Ray also making a move on Bridewell. A lap later, the leading pair had added another four tenths to their lead and it now looked to be a straight fight between the two team-mates.
There was never more than a tenth of a second between them but the final five laps saw them hold station with Mackenzie in the lead although the gap had come to down to 0.090s as they started their 20th and final lap.
O’Halloran made a late manoeuvre at Clearways with the line in sight but he immediately ran wide and Mackenzie dived back up the inside and took his second win of the day by the tiny margin of 0.037s.
Irwin concluded his strong ride in third – his first podium since his hat-trick at the opening round back in April – with Ray taking his third successive fourth place of the weekend. Bridewell held off Haslam for fifth with Ryde and Hickman taking seventh and eighth whilst a four-rider battle for ninth went the way ahead of Rory Skinner ahead of Lee Jackson, Christian Iddon and Andrew Irwin.

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