Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Shane Byrne left it till the final lap on the last chicane to take a narrow MCE British Superbike win over title fighter, and fellow Showdown racer, Buildbase BMW's Ryuichi Kiyonari in Assen.
It was definitely a battle of the triple-champs out on track as for the majority of the race the fight for the win was between the ageing riders. Kiyonari did bravely hold on - only to be pipped to the post by his rival, who now has a 12 point advantage in the overall championship standings.
In the end it was a complete Showdown rostrum, with Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell stepping on to the third step of the podium, with Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot finishing in fourth.
But it was not a good day for Bridewell’s team-mate, Josh Brookes as he came away from the TT track with zero points, and is now 51 points adrift from the title. Fellow Showdown contender GBmoto Kawasaki’s Chris Walker crashed on the opening lap, but was able to hobble away from the fall.
At first it was Tyco Suzuki's John Hopkins who got the hole-shot followed in quick succession by Showdown rider’s Kiyonari and Byrne, but soon the Japanese rider got the better of the American as he took the lead at the chicane to go into the front of the pack.
But there were a number of incidents at De Strubben with title challenger, GBmoto Kawasaki’s Chris Walker, RAF Reserves Honda’s Peter Hickman and Bathams Honda’s Patric Muff. All the riders managed to walk away from the crash, but Walker had to be helped away by the marshals on the first lap.
Meanwhile Byrne left it four laps until he made a move on the Tyco Suzuki and it stuck. He closed the gap on Kiyonari and was hot on his heels. But Brookes experienced a technical problem and slowly retired to the pits.
The Aussie was not the only rider to have a disappointing race, Alstare Junior’s Christian Iddon chucked his Bimota into the gravel at Duikersloot on lap ten, with pole-setter Halsall Racing’s Jon Kirkham crashing moments later.
Elsewhere Showdown riders, Bridewell and Linfoot also wanted a slice of the action at the Cathedral of Speed and both riders got the better of Hopkins to go into the top four, with seven laps remaining.
Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Howie Mainwaring was riding high inside the top ten, but his fairing came off at the halfway stage and was flapping in the wind, and he made his way into the garage after a solid session out on the TT circuit.
On the fifteenth rotation it turned into a four way battle for the win between four Showdown riders, with Kiyonari leading the way from Byrne, Bridewell and Linfoot. But on the final lap on the last chicane Byrne took a narrow win.
Hopkins, Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Stuart Easton, and GBmoto Kawasaki’s James Ellison finished inside the top seven, with race one winner, Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Waters, FFX Yamaha’s Filip Backlund and Buildbase BMW’s James Westmoreland rounding up the top ten.
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