Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne made up for a poor start to propel his way up the grid to finish on the top step of the podium, in the opening MCE British Superbike race at Brands Hatch.
But he was caught in a battle with Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Luke Mossey, Bennetts Suzuki’s Tommy Bridewell, and then in the end JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam to storm to victory. But it was Bridewell who led for the majority of the race, only to lose some pace and while in third crashed out on the final lap.
Initially it was Mossey who got the hole-shot going into Paddock Hill but it was not a good start for Byrne as he slipped back to ffith. But Haslam certainly made up for lost time and was second going into lap two, followed by Bridewell and Parkes. But the Devizes Swearbox was not giving up and made a move at Hawthorns to go past Haslam to edge into second.
Meanwhile O’Halloran was charging on ahead and got the better of Byrne to go up to fourth, with Parkes slipping back two places and had Byrne just ahead of him on track. All the riders were on the soft rear SC0 tyre, and the only ones who were running the harder front was Mossey, both ePayMe boys, Honda Racing and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki bikes.
Soon Irwin decided to join the party and had the pace to edge ahead of Parkes with 11 laps left. But then the safety car came out after Filip Backlund crashed at Clearways and the air fence was damaged.
When the safety car went back in Bridewell went into the lead at Surtees on the tenth rotation and the leading trio tried to pull away from the chasing Byrne. But Haslam was not giving up and made a move on Mossey going into Paddock Hill to go up to second.
Another faller was Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin at Paddock Hill Bend while in sixth, with eight laps to go and it pushed Parkes up to sixth on the GP track. Further up the field Mossey went wide, allowing Byrne to go up to third. But Haslam had Bridewell as his next target with the Derby-based rider getting in to the front - but only for a matter of seconds at Paddock Hill, then Bridewell bit back.
With five laps left Haslam was preparing to overtake Bridewell at Paddock Hill bend and did go into the front, only to go wide and Byrne slid underneath and up to second. A rotation later at Hawthorns Byrne made a move that stuck on Bridewell to take the lead for the first time today. Then on lap seventeen Haslam made a repeat move that Byrne did on Bridewell a lap before at Hawthorns to go into second, with Bridewell down in third.
But on the final lap at Surtees while in third Bridewell crashed, pushing Mossey on to the final step on the rostrum. At the flag O’Halloran and Jackson crossed the line inside the top five, followed by ePayMe Yamaha’s Broc Parkes, Linfoot, Cooper, Iddon with Ellison completing the top ten. Hickman, McConnell, Dixon, Laverty and the returning John Hopkins were the last of the points finishers.
Smiths Racing’s Jakub Smrz crashed at Druids on only the fourth lap. Another rider who took a tumble in the same spot was Moto Rapido Ducati’s Danny Buchan who crashed unhurt whilst in the points. Team WD-40’s Jack Kennedy also fell but at Surtees and walked away uninjured.
One rider who did not make it out for the first race was Honda Racing’s Jenny Tinmouth, who’s earlier warm up crash meant her Fireblade was too badly damaged to make it out on track.