Jake Dixon took a vital chunk out of Leon Haslam’s Bennetts British Superbike points lead with victory in this afternoon’s first wet race.
The RAF Regular and Reserves rider beat early race leader Tommy Bridewell to the win by just over six seconds as Haslam battled his way from the last row of the grid to third place.
But it was drama at the start as the Be Wiser Ducati of Glenn Irwin looked to have a problem and although the Northern Irishman seemingly had his issue sorted and ready for the warm-up lap, he was wheeled off the grid and the grid had to regroup with Irwin starting from the back.
Bridewell looked to have the strongest start heading into the first corner, but pole-sitter Dixon closed the door at Old Hall before the Moto Rapido Ducati rider grabbed the lead back while Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray led the third place charge.
Back in 11th, however, Leon Haslam had begun his charge from the last row of the grid after making up 11 places on the very first lap, crossing the line just behind Smith’s Racing man Peter Hickman and McAMS Yamaha’s Taz Mackenzie.
As Bridewell pulled a second on Dixon in the fight for the lead, Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran took over third from Ray with Josh Brookes and Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty in tow, but Andrew Irwin soon made it a quartet and shortly after O’Halloran had pulled away, JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Haslam was in the fight for fourth.
But Haslam was gifted a place moments later as Brookes dumped his R1 at Knickerbrook, before the championship leader made a move on both Laverty and Irwin to move up to fourth.
At the front, Dixon had been closing the gap on Bridewell and by the half-way point he made a pass stick at Old Hall before putting his head down and stretching a 0.8s gap on the same lap.
Back in seventh, Ray lost any hopes of a top five finish as he locked the front brake and ran off at Lodge, allowing Mackenzie, Mossey and Hickman to pass him, but he was given a place back after Mossey crashed at the Shell Oils hairpin with six laps to go moments before Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Shaun Winfield joined him in the dirt at Britten’s.
Haslam sat on O’Halloran’s tail waiting to take a lunge and with two laps to go he finally saw an opportunity at Lodge, slipping past the Aussie into a rostrum position.
But Dixon took a big chunk out of the series leader’s points advantage as he crossed the line some six seconds clear of Bridewell, on the podium for the first time this season, ahead of Haslam.
Irwin and Laverty fought their way past O’Halloran in the closing laps to take fourth and fifth from the Honda man, while pint-sized Mackenzie took seventh.
Showdown contender Hickman, James Ellison and Dan Linfoot completed the top 10.