Buxton motorbike racer Chris Kent relinquished his lead in the BMC MZ250 Championship after a weekend of mixed fortunes racing at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
After qualifying third, the first race started poorly for Kent, who dropped to fifth and had to battle through to take second place.
An intense battle with another rider saw Kent clip the inside of the kerb going into the blind downhill corner of Paddock Hill, causing the front wheel to slide away.
Lightning reactions and luck allowed Kent to catch the slide on his knee and he remained upright, although off-track in the gravel trap.
Fortune smiled on the local racer, however, when the race was red-flagged due to another rider crashing elsewhere on the circuit.
That meant the race result was decided on the preceeding lap and a second-place finish was awarded to Kent.
In the second race Kent struggled with front tyre grip problems, which meant he could only achieve a fourth-place finish.
Unfortunately his main rivals both had good results and reduced the championship points gap at the end of the racing on the Saturday at Brands Hatch.
The first race on the Sunday was decided by back-markers, who both hindered and helped the leading riders.
Kent had managed to close down the leading pair by almost two seconds when a large group of slower riders involved in their own battles allowed the leaders to get away.
Kent finished third, despite putting in the fastest lap of the weekend.
He was a mere 0.4 seconds off the lap record, which gave him a pole position start for race four.
The local rider’s plan for the last race of the weekend was to get to the front as soon as possible and make the other riders chase him for the points.
For two laps his strategy worked.
Kent hit the front on the first lap and began a sequence of fast laps in an effort to leave his rivals behind.
Unfortunately on lap five a metal-fatigue failure in the exhaust caused his engine to lose power.
That meant Kent dropped back through the field to finish in ninth place.
He said it was a disappointing finish to the weekend’s racing.
With only one round and four races remaining, the top three riders are separated by just eight points.
That means it is the closest finish the championship has seen for many years.
The venue for the vital last meeting of the championship is Cadwell Park, racers’ favourite because of its undulating, twisty course.