Josh Brookes was denied a hat-trick of wins by a machine problem in the third race of the seventh round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton and that cost the Aussie the lead in the title stakes as Tommy Hill, running second to Ryuichi Kiyonari regained the advantage by two points.
Brookes had won the opening race, held over from the weather ravaged Knockhill round, on Saturday afternoon with a last lap move on his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari with Hill, riding the Worx Crescent Suzuki running third from the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati of Michael Rutter.
Then, despite having come out on top in the Swan Combi Roll for Pole, Brookes made life difficult for himself with a sluggish start from the front of the grid in the first of the two Sunday afternoon races, to be running sixth on an opening lap led by Rutter from Hill with Kiyonari third from Michael Laverty on the Relentless Suzuki and Swan Honda’s James Ellison.
Brookes was gaining places to be running third on the fourth lap, but by then Kiyonari had pulled out with a machine problem, leaving the front running duel to Rutter and Hill, but they were soon feeling the heat from the determined Brookes.
He moved second on the seventh lap and took Rutter a further seven laps into the race as he slowed with a gear shift problem. Alastair Seeley and Ellison ran ahead of Hill with Ellison showing his Brands Hatch opening round form, prior to the tumble at Thruxton in which he sustained a broken leg soon going second.
Hill attacked Ellison, going through to take second place as Brookes completed his second win.
“I messed up the start and had to work for it but was comfortable with the passes,” Brookes said. “It was a shame that some of the others had mechanical problems but I am sure that I could have taken them.”
Ellison, fourth in that race, made a great start to the final race, heading off Brookes with Michael Laverty third from Kiyonari and Hill, but soon Kiyonari was running third and harassing his team-mate, moving ahead of him on the seventh lap and two laps later taking the lead from Ellison.
Ellison strayed off-line and Brookes nipped into second place, but not for long before he was sidelined by a machine problem. Kiyonari was leading from Michael Laverty with Rutter third as the Safety Car was deployed as Ellison crashed in a tangle with Seeley.
Kiyonari duly completed his fourth win of the season, and his sixth at the circuit, finishing half a second clear of Hill who had finally found a way ahead of Michael Laverty with three laps remaining.
For Hill second best was good enough, putting him back on top in the title stakes.
“We’ve re-grouped, gelled back and come out fighting. Now we are back to where we need to be, and where we should be,” Hill said. “The team have worked hard, we’ve had out ups and downs and problems along the way but these three podiums show were are back.The final race here was tough, but halfway through I clawed them in, and felt comfortable.”
Steve Brogan, riding Jentin BMW won all three Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class races and that put the Liverpudlian back ahead in the title chase 246-241 over Hudson Kennaugh who having switched to riding Splitlath Aprilia took a fifth and two third places.
Graeme Gowland and the PTR Honda team will be celebrating tonight after taking their first victory in the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship following an immense battle with series leader Sam Lowes.
“I knew I had the pace to be up there fighting for the win and I felt a bit nervous as I had an engine go this morning and I just wanted a good race,” Gowland said. “I felt comfortable and knew we had the pace and then I made a mistake and missed a gear and thought Sam was going to get me. I kept fighting and managed to pull it off, which for me is a weight off my shoulders now.”
Gowland had taken the hole shot from James Westmoreland, who took the lead for the CAME Yamaha team on the fourth lap at Riches, but it was short lived as he crashed out at Russells on the same lap to put himself out of contention.
Gowland then was under pressure from Lowes, who made a pass on the ninth lap at Coram but the PTR Honda was soon back in the lead which he held until the penultimate lap. Gowland though saw his chance and dived down the inside into Riches and then held off Lowes to take his first win in the championship.
Dan Cooper put the Smiths Triumph back on the podium for the second consecutive event after making a move on Wilson who dropped to fifth behind Glen Richards who had worked his way through to fourth for Padgetts Honda.
In sixth there was a battle of the Australians as Jason O’Halloran and Billy McConnell fought over the final laps after Richards had made a break after being part of the tussle earlier in the race. The East Coast Yamaha rider held the advantage from McConnell who dropped to eighth on the final lap and he now sits equal in second with his team-mate in the overall standings.
Jon Kirkham had to settle for fourth place in a dramatic Metzeler National Superstock 1000 race but that was enough to tighten his grip on the title chase over Tristan Palmer who took the victory for the Jentin BMW team.
The race was red-flagged with Glen Richards leading from Luke Quigley when Scott Kelly crashed heavily and on the re-start Quigley made the early running on the Formwise Astro Suzuki from Scott Smart riding Ducati and Padgetts Honda’s Richards.
Palmer was back in fourth but he upped the pace on the fifth lap to swoop into the lead and take the victory from Quigley, Richards and Kirkham with Smart fifth ahead of Jimmy Storrar.
Smart was later disqualified after post-race scrutineering when his bike was found to be under weight, promoting Storrar to fifth.
Australian Superbike points leader Bryan Staring wasn’t featured on the overall results sheet – stay tuned for an update.