Tom Sykes made it two Bennetts British Superbike victories from two at Donington Park when he claimed the opening race win on Sunday afternoon.
The MCE Ducati rider took the lead from Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha) on lap three and eventually took a 1.4s win with Ray’s second place seeing him extend his championship lead to 55 points. Glenn Irwin took third for Honda Racing.
Ray got the holeshot from Andrew Irwin (Synetiq BMW) with Sykes dropping back to fourth and having to take the outside line around Redgate. The bunching up further back in the pack though saw Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) crash out, tumbling through the gravel trap.
Sykes was up to second by the end of the lay with Ray leading by 0.266s with Andrew Irwin in third ahead of Peter Hickman (FHO BMW), Glenn Irwin and Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) with pole sitter Jason O’Halloran back in seventh on the McAMS Yamaha.
The top three remained the same next time around with Glenn Irwin overhauling Hickman but going into Redgate at the start of lap three, Sykes took his chance and slipped up the inside to hit the front for the first time.
Sykes and Ray had more than a second advantage over the two Irwins with Hickman right in their wheel tracks. There was then a slight gap to the next group which was headed by Jackson from Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) and O’Halloran.
A new lap record on lap five by Sykes, 1’28.888, saw him open up a near half second lead with Andrew Irwin a further second back in third quickly followed by Hickman, Jackson, Bridewell and O’Halloran.
Sykes added another tenth of a second to his lead on lap seven and both he and Ray were edging away from the battle for third which was briefly headed by Glenn Irwin before Andrew immediately retook him. Their battling meant the front two were almost two seconds ahead going into lap eight.
Bridewell moved up to sixth after finding a way by Jackson, but O’Halloran was beginning to lose ground in eighth and was now a second behind the Kawasaki rider. Meanwhile, Glenn Irwin moved up to third at the Foggy Esses on the ninth lap.
At half race distance, Sykes led Ray by 0.631s with Glenn Irwin now 2.6s adrift in third and it was now Hickman in fourth from Bridewell, Andrew Irwin and Jackson, the quartet covered by just half a second. Further back, Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati) moved up to ninth after getting past Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW).
Back at the front, there was still only half a second between Sykes and Ray as they started the 13th lap, the latter having opted for the harder SC0 rear tyre but Glenn Irwin’s charge appeared to have slowed as the gap to Ray continued to hover around the 2.5s mark. The four-way battle for fourth continued to rage though, Bridewell taking over the position at the Esses with four laps to go.
Andrew Irwin regained the position a lap later when Bridewell ran wide at the Melbourne Hairpin but going into the final lap, Sykes’ lead was almost a second over Ray and he duly brought the Ducati home for his second victory in two days with Glenn Irwin joining him and Ray on the podium.
The battle for fourth saw Andrew Irwin prevail, but a final corner sort out saw Jackson grab fifth from Bridewell, O’Halloran and Hickman with Brookes and Ryan Vickers (FHO Racing BMW) completing the top ten.
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