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Johnny Garness (MLav VisionTrack Academy) has done it again, and his win in Race 1 at Thruxton not only keeps his roll going, but also gives the number 57 his first shot at the crown on Sunday. Now 89 points clear of teammate Carter Brown, he needs to make that 100 or more by the end of Race 2 to become the 2022 Honda British Talent Cup Champion. Brown is now his only rival.
Garness' performance in Race 1 says it can't be counted out either as he escaped after an early duel against Silverstone sparring partner Rhys Stephenson (Rocket Racing), with Brown then moving through to third and able to catch and pass the number 23 for second. Can Garness' sole rival for the Cup repeat that on Sunday?
Off the line on Saturday though, Garness converted pole by well over a second into the holeshot and started to get the hammer down, with Stephenson once again the only rider with any real challenge early on. And the number 23 did manage to hit the front after only a handful of laps, but it was shortlived as Garness hit back and then didn't look back, escaping into the lead.
The focus then shifted to Brown as the number 74 was reeling Stephenson in, and once past he also started to take chunks out of Garness' lead. But heading wide and then running out of laps saw him forced to take second by just over two seconds, with Stephenson completing the podium.
Behind the podium fight there was a huge battle for fourth between Matthew Ruisbroek (Microlise Cresswell Racing), Harrison Crosby (Banks Racing), Evan Belford (City Lifting by RS Racing) and Amanuel Brinton (Mortimer Racing /Victoria House Racing Academy), with positions chopping and changing throughout. It went down to the final chicane and then the drag to the line, with just 0.166 splitting the four over the line. In the end, Ruisbroek took it ahead of Crosby and Brinton, with Belford forced to settle for seventh.
The fight for eighth was also close, with Lucas Brown (SP125/Amphibian Scaffolding) pipping Sullivan Mounsey (Wilson Racing/J&S Racing), Harrison Mackay (Wilson Racing/Super Soco) and Clayton Edmunds (MJL Racing).
It's been a tougher round so far for Microlise Cresswell Racing as Kiyano Veijer broke his foot in practice and is sidelined, and there was contact early on between Harrison Dessoy and Julian Correa in Race 1 putting a dent in their day.
That's a wrap on Saturday, and the spotlight heading into Sunday stays firmly on Garness as he faces down his first match point. Can he get it done or has Brown got a final stand left in the locker? We'll find out at 14:55 (GMT +1)!
Johnny Garness had some company at the front near the start of Race 1, but the hammer was down even earlier on Sunday as the number 57 pulled away to take win number 10 of the year. Behind, teammate Carter Brown managed to move through to second after fighting in a bigger group for the final spots on the podium, and with the race Red Flagged just short of full distance the number 74 takes a valuable 20 points. Evan Belford took third place to get back on the rostrum.
Off the line, Rhys Stephenson got a good launch from pole and immediately moved over to cover Garness, but the number 57 was able to quickly dispatch him and move into the lead. From there he didn't look back, taking win number 10 with seeming ease and impressing once more.
Behind, Stephenson vs Brown vs Belford was initially the fight for second, but bit by bit the four-way fight behind was able to arrive on the scene. Brown was back through on Belford and then held off Stephenson, and when the Red Flag came out on Lap 13 of 14 for a crash for Matthew Ruisbroek, it was enough for the number 74 to take second. Belford takes third, with Stephenson relegated off the podium for the first time since before the British Grand Prix. Ruisbroek subsequently walked away from the crash.
Harrison Crosby and Amanuel Brinton were next up in the close fight for the top five and more, with Lucas Brown losing a little distance in avoiding action and taking seventh.
Clayton Edmunds held off Harrison Mackay (Wilson Racing/Super Soco) in P8 and P9, respectively, with Ollie Walker (SP125) completing the top ten at the head of the next group.
And so it rolls on to Snetterton. Garness needed to leave 100 points or more clear, and it's now 94 so it's a hard bet against the number 57 getting it done next time out. Can Brown pull something out the bag? We'll find out from the 9th to the 11th of September!
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