Motor Cycling: Crawford weathers Moodie challenge

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The Independent Online
CASTROL HONDA'S Jim Moodie won yesterday's penultimate round of the 1999 British Supersport Championship, beating his championship rival, John Crawford, by 0.145sec at the flag, but Crawford's second place was enough for him to retain the Supersport title.

Steve Plater, riding another Honda CBR600, was third in the 17-lap race around the 2.6-mile Brands Hatch GP circuit, just holding off the challenge of his former team-mate, Woolsey Coulter. Phil Borley was fifth, with Moodie's partner, Karl Muggeridge, sixth.

Moodie first took the lead on lap five, but he and Crawford traded places several times during the race. Muggeridge went to the front on lap seven but broken exhaust springs loosened his silencer and the Australian rider lost power.

"It was a brilliant race and I couldn't have done any more," said Moodie. "John [Crawford] tried to steady the pace at one point but I had to get past him because I knew the pack would be closing.

"It obviously gave him a kick up the backside, but he's ridden well all season and has earned the title," added a jubilant Moodie.

In Valencia yesterday, Regis Laconi, the first French rider to win a 500cc Grand Prix for 14 years, dedicated his commanding victory in Spain to his brother, who had worked with him as a mechanic before his death.

The Yamaha rider's victory saw him become only the third French rider to win a 500cc race, and the first since Christian Sarron in West Germany in 1985.

It was brilliant performance from Laconi, who led from start to finish in a race that saw Alex Criville damage his world title challenge with a spectacular crash on the 25th lap.