Lee Johnston kept his cool to come away from the opening round of the 2023 British Supersport Championship (BSSP) with a double victory after prevailing in a race-long tug-of-war with Rhys Irwin to win race two.
Following a dominant victory on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha in race one, Johnston was pushed much harder by Irwin in race two but ultimately took the spoils with a wily pass for the win on the final lap.
In a race of attrition among the leading contenders, pole sitter Tom Booth-Amos led initially before being overhauled by Luke Stapleford, only for Johnston to catch the leaders unawares as he sprung from fourth to first at Brooklands on lap four.
Bunching the chasing pack up, the concertina effect caught out Booth-Amos, whose heavy hit into the side of Tom Toparis’ Yamaha simply flicked him off and into retirement. His exit was followed shortly afterwards by Ash Beech from sixth on lap five, while Stapleford’s victory hopes ended thanks to technical issues on lap ten.
It therefore left a lead pack of Johnston, Irwin and Toparis circulating several seconds ahead of the competition.
While Toparis stayed in close contact, he was unable to get into the fight for victory, unlike Irwin who was able to use the advantages of the new-to-the-class Suzuki GSX-R750 to keep coming back at Johnston.
With the lead swapping hands numerous times between the pair for several laps, it all built to a crescendo on the final two laps, kicked off by Irwin taking an opportunistic moment to slip by Johnston at Brooklands as he was dispatching a backmarker.
The duo swapped again at Brooklands, before Irwin surged back through at Maggotts, giving him the edge with three corners remaining.
However, as had been the case throughout the race, the Irishman’s wide entry into Brooklands simply invited his rival to point his Yamaha into the open gap, Johnston slithering into a lead he’d hold around Luffield and to the flag.
Behind Astro JJR’s Irwin, Macadam Racing’s Toparis completed the podium, with Josh Perrin making it two Astro JJR Suzukis up at the front in fourth, while MTM Routz Yamaha’s Jaimie van Sikkelerus and Oxford Ducati’s Ben Currie completed the top six.
BSSP Silverstone | Rd.1 | Race 2 Results
|2023 British Supersport Championship [BSSP] | Silverstone | Race 2 Results | Round 1 / 11|
|1||Lee Johnston||GBR||Ashcourt Racing||Yamaha R6||25 Laps|
|2||Rhys Irwin||IRL||Astro JJR||Suzuki GSX-R750||+0.062|
|3||Tom Toparis||AUS||Macadam Racing||Yamaha R6||+0.449|
|4||Jamie Perrin||GBR||Astro JJR||Suzuki GSX-R750||+7.259|
|5||Jaimie van Sikkelerus||NLD||MPM Routz Racing||Yamaha R6||+7.541|
|6||Ben Currie||AUS||Oxford Products Racing||Ducati Panigale V2||+8.107|
|7||Blaze Baker||ZAF||Ready 4 Racing Vision Team||Ducati Panigale V2||+13.544|
|8||Eugene McManus||GBR||Completely Motorbikes||Triumph STR765||+13.890|
|9||Luke Jones||GBR||Highsparks||Ducati Panigale V2||+14.259|
|10||Max Wadsworth||GBR||Macadam Racing||Yamaha R6||+16.753|
|11||Zak Corderoy||GBR||Gearlink||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+20.467|
|12||Jack Nixon||GBR||Macadam Racing||Yamaha R6||+20.683|
|13||Seth Crump||GBR||Seeeeth||Yamaha R6||+28.812|
|14||James McManus||GBR||Completely Motorbikes||Triumph STR765||+32.713|
|15||Cameron Fraser||AUS||Go Racing Developments||GP2 Chassis Factory||+32.785|
CLICK here for full BSSP Silverstone Race 2 Results from TSL-Timing