CHRISSY Rouse scored his first podium of the year and his first for the BMW by Team IMR squad as he crossed the line second at Brands Hatch.

The Newcastle University student went into Sunday’s race gunning for a top three after narrowly missing out on one on Saturday.

Rouse crossed the line second behind Billy McConnell, with Andy Reid third…

After qualifying sixth on the grid for the opening race, he was a little slow off the line start and dropped a few spots, although he clawed them back almost immediately and was back in sixth by the end of the second lap.

By lap seven he was up to fifth position, and he set off after Josh Elliott who was running fourth, making the move and stealing the spot on the 11th lap. Unfortunately, by then the front pack had cleared off and he was unable to catch them, and settled for fourth.

For Sunday’s 24-lapper, Rouse was gunning for a podium, and even a bad start couldn’t stop him. Despite dropping back to 10th, he got his head down and made his way back through the order, and was up to fifth by the start of lap four.

He passed Josh Elliott at Paddock Hill Bend a lap later as Keith Farmer, who had been running in second place, pulled off the track with a problem, and Rouse then set his sights on Andy Reid who was running second.

He passed Reid for second position on the seventh lap…

He passed Reid on lap seven and set about trying to catch leader Billy McConnell, but as light spots of rain began to fall, he was unable to get close enough to McConnell to make a move, and crossed the line second.

“In both races I got poor starts, I dropped right back to 10th in the second one but I just kept on pushing and pushing my way back up,” he said. “I had my favourite place to pass which was at Paddock Hill, and I was passing everyone there whenever I got the chance.

“In the second race we had a little few spots of rain, the flags were out for about five or six laps, and I pushed as hard as I could but in the end I couldn’t catch Billy, but it was a great race.

“We have really progressed forward this weekend, we’ve got the bike running really, really well and I think if I’d got a better start I could’ve challenged for the win.

Champagne celebrations after scoring his first podium of the year…

“I’m really happy to take second, it’s helped me in the championship a lot and I’d like to thank Team manager Ian Moffitt and the BMW by IMR team who have worked so hard to get us here and it’s great to be able to reward them in this way.”

As a result, Rouse has now moved up to fifth in the championship and has two weeks off before the third round, which will be held at Oulton Park in Cheshire over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

*Images: Bonnie Lane