New lap record for Greg, but Sean lifts the title.
Knockhill Motorsports Club - Superbike Round 4
Knockhill Race Circuit, Fife
GSG Racing Team dominated the final round of the KMSC superbikes at Knockhill, as Fife brothers Greg & Sean Gilfillan overhauled John Dean to claim first and second spots in the championship.
Dean had lead the standings going into the final meeting of the season, with an 11 point advantage over Sean and Greg just 3 points further back. But four wins from five races helped Sean to leapfrog the Hawick rider and lift the 2018 title. Consistency has been the key to the title win for Gilfillan, the champ is the only rider to score points in all 25 races this season, although remarkably he'd only won race before this final weekend. Three podium finishes for brother Greg helped him to climb into second spot, ahead of Dean who could only manage two 3rd places all weekend.
The weekend had started in mixed weather conditions, and it was Brechin rider Ewan Gray aboard the Kawasaki who made the most of the changeable weather on Saturday morning to qualify on pole position for the first race with a fastest lap of 50.873. Greg Gilfillan started in second on the grid on his BMW, while Dean (BMW) qualified in third spot.
The starting grid for race 2 was decided from the finishing positions for race one, and so Sean started his BMW from pole. The Crossgates man made his advantage count, leading every lap of the race to finish a comfortable 3.3 seconds ahead of Greg with Gray coming home 2 seconds back in third.
Sunday morning started off in better weather condition, and with a dry track the lap times began to tumble. It was the same three men who dominated the action though, Sean grabbing the holeshot from pole, and once again leading throughout the whole race to take his third win of the weekend. The battle on track was once again for the podium slots, with Greg holding off Gray until three laps from the end, before running wide and giving the Kawasaki man the chance to nip through and take second by just over 2 secs.
A lunchtime shower soaked the track, but it was dry again as the lights went out for race 4, another Scottish championship round. This time it was Greg Gilfillan who got the best start, taking the lead on the first lap from Gray and Grigor. Sean Gilfillan didn't get off the line well, and had to fight his way back up from fourth, picking his way through into second to set up a sibling showdown with five laps left. Greg snatched the lead on lap 6, and it looked set for a battle between the two brothers, but the race was red-flagged on lap 7 when Paul Bowerbank fell and so Sean took another win ahead of Greg, with John Dean coming home in third.
The final superbike race of the season was an epic scrap, with both the Gilfillan boys, early season leader John Dean and reigning champion Bruce Birnie locked in a five way battle for the win along with Grigor. Dean & Birnie swapped the lead multiple times, with the other three in close attendance.
Track conditions were the best of the entire weekend, and the pace was hot, with Greg Gilfillan setting a new lap record of 49.7, and Birnie also posting a sub 50 sec lap. Sean was clearly keen to make it a clean sweep and fought his way into the lead, only to be penalised for overtaking under a waved yellow flag.
To be fair, he was a bit unfortunate as the five superbikes all piled into the tight hairpin together, with the leading two running slightly wide, making the overtake virtually unavoidable. After a conversation with race control, the win was awarded to Birnie, with Sean G in second and Dean on the final podium position.
It was a near flawless weekend for Sean Gilfillan, mirroring the kind of performances his brother put in at the last round back in July. Both boys have been flying all season long, and only difference between them was a couple of DNF's for Greg back at the first round in April. It's Sean then that takes the KMSC title by 32 points from his Greg in second, just four points ahead of John Dean.
The Scottish Championship moves on to East Fortune on 22 & 23 September. With just two more races to decide the 2018 Scottish Superbike Champion, it couldn't be closer between Callum Grigor (222pts), John Dean (217pts) and Sean Gilfillan (202pts). With 50 points up for grabs, Greg Gilfillan is still in with a slim chance on 174pts.
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