Lee Jackson claimed a maiden Bennetts British Superbike Championship win at Oulton Park on Monday afternoon, the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki man overhauling Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) in the final third of the race.
Jackson soon pulled away to take a long-awaited win with Bridewell getting the better of double race winner Bradley Ray for second although the Rich Energy OMG Racing rider did take over the championship lead.
Ray’s team-mate Kyle Ryde grabbed the holeshot from Ray with Rory Skinner and Jackson slotting into third and fourth but Ray was soon in the lead although the safety car was quickly out after Tom Neave crashed heavily at Old Hall Corner. Ryan Vickers was also out with smoke coming from the FHO Racing BMW.
The safety car pulled in at the end of the third lap and Jackson quickly moved ahead of Skinner but Andrew Irwin had a monster highside coming out of Old Hall although he was, thankfully, able to walk away.
As the race settled down once more, it was Ray who led by 0.8s from Ryde, Jackson, Bridewell and Christian Iddon (Buildbase Suzuki) but by lap five Ray’s lead was already up to 1.7s. Jackson had now taken over second with Bridewell also following him past Ryde but Iddon had dropped back to 13th.
With a lap of 1’33.645s, Ray increased his advantage to 2.5s on lap six but it was a lot closer for second; indeed three seconds covered the second to ninth placed riders with Sykes leading the chasing pack in tenth albeit a further two seconds adrift.
Lap eight saw Bridewell slip up the inside of Jackson at Hizzy’s and the duo had pulled a second on Ryde in fourth who now had Skinner, Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) and Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) crawling all over him. Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) and Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati) were trying their utmost to keep in touch with the Honda man doing the better job of the two.
Back at the front and Bridewell was making the most of the clear track ahead of him. He was consistently eating into Ray’s lead with the gap down to just a second by lap 11 and Jackson was going with him, only a further 0.4s back.
Skinner was up to fourth with O’Halloran and Haslam pushing Ryde back to seventh, the arm pump issues seemingly still affecting him.
A lap later and just half a second covered the leading trio but lap 14 saw Bridewell make his move and he took the lead at Island Bend. Just a few corners later, Jackson moved up to second at the expense of Ray, his run of wins seemingly coming to an end.
Indeed, he soon dropped off the back of Bridewell and Jackson and the latter dived up the inside at Shell Oils on lap 15 to lead for the first time. He soon edged away from Bridewell and going into the final lap led by a more than healthy two seconds.
He wasn’t to be denied either and duly took his maiden BSB victory from Bridewell who just held off the challenge of Ray for third, the latter taking over the championship lead. Skinner completed another fine weekend in fourth just ahead of Haslam with O’Halloran taking sixth.
Glenn Irwin, Brookes, Hickman and Ryde completed the top ten with Sykes just missing out in 11th.