MICHAEL Mills took the fight for the Bemsee MRO 600 crown to the wire as he pipped Jamie Kelman to the championship by a hair-splitting two points.
The A51 Racing rider overhauled his points deficit and pipped his season-long rival to the crown by the narrowest of margins while Chris Burrage and Max Symonds shared this weekend’s spoils.
The title contenders had been at it all year and it was only four races from finished as they rocked up at Brands Hatch separated by just 20 points with Kelman on top.
And the championship front-runner fired a warning shot as he put the Phased Out Racing 675 on pole ahead of visiting NG 600 champ Max Symonds with Chris Burrage, a former Champion of Brands, rounding out the front row as Mills lined up fourth.
When the lights went out, however, it was all Burrage as he powered the Seton Tuning R6 into an early lead and never let up, taking the lights-to-flag victory while Symonds ended up ahead in the race-long three-way dice with Mills and Kelman as Mills snatched the final rostrum spot.
It looked to be an identical second race as Burrage got another strong start as he and Symonds inched away from the pack, but in the end it was Burrage back on top of the box with Symonds just 0.213sec adrift as Mills followed them home some 1.5sec back with Kelman again fourth.
With Kelman’s advantage down to 14 points, Mills knew he needed a solid two finishes ahead of his rival to to have any chance at the crown.
As Symonds shot out front early in a wet race three en route to the win while Burrage began to drop back, Mills quickly slotted into second and followed Symonds home to take second ahead of Stephen Draper with Kelman down in a lowly fifth in class and seventh overall behind Clubman winner and recent Rookie 600 champ Cedrich Bloch as well as Jon Clark.
With just five points to spare in the finale, Kelman knew he had to finish ahead of Mills for any hope of hanging on, but it was off to a tough start as he dropped down to sixth on the first lap with Symonds, Mills and Burrage in a three-way scrap at the front.
Kelman managed to move back up to fourth in the opening few laps, but it was already too late as he watched the front trio disappear and while Burrage eventually took the win to complete his weekend hat-trick, it was Mills who took the chequered flag a vital 0.3sec clear of Symonds to bag seconds and the MRO 600 title.
Nick Whitcher did the double in the Clubman ranks with the final win of the year, but it wasn’t quite enough to overhaul eventual champ Michael White as the Race Lab Suspension rider kept both of his closest contenders, Whitcher and Dawid Krawiecki, at bay.