Smiths Racing’s Peter Hickman secured his maiden win of the MCE British Superbike season, in an action packed race two at Thruxton.
It was a race where a number of riders could have taken maximum points and it did look like Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes would do the double. But on the penultimate lap he crashed, unhurt at Cobb whilst in the lead.
With Brookes out of contention it paved the way for Hickman to take the victory. RAF Reserves Kawasaki’s Jake Dixon bagged a respectable second with JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam crossing the line in third.
Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne ended his race in the pits, after he experienced an issue with his rear Pirelli tyre. He was up at the sharp end and in with a shot of a podium finish, but in the final quarter of the race he suddenly fell off the pace, whilst fighting for third with Dixon. He then dropped right back and rode his way to the garage.
In a repeat of the first race, it was Dixon who once again nabbed pole from Hickman and Byrne. Veteran racer, Michael Rutter has had a busy race weekend as he has been competing in both the Stock 1000’s and BSB. But on the grid he experienced an issue with his Bathams bike and did not start.
On lap three Brookes and Haslam were dicing on track for fifth, and going into the chicane Brookes got a place, only for Haslam to slip around him to claim it back. Further up the pack Byrne managed to gain pace on Hickman and Dixon to make his way up to first on lap five.
Haslam found some extra pace and hunted down O’Halloran to move up to fourth, with Brookes joining suit moments later. Up at the front Dixon cut underneath Byrne at the chicane on lap five to retake the number one place on track.
Brookes decided to run with the softer front and rear tyres, whereas O’Halloran went for the SC2 front and zero compounds. Haslam opted for his usual harder front and rear Pirelli’s. While those three were fighting it out, there was another three-way fight for first with Hickman, Dixon and Byrne.
On lap eight the leading trio pulled away a little bit, but Brookes was on the chase. O’Halloran then regained some speed to overtake Haslam to get back to fifth. Hickman went for the SC2 front and SC0 rear, with Dixon running the same as the S1000RR rider. Byrne ran with the softer compounds.
Brookes was consistently setting the fastest laps of the weekend and had enough pace to overtake Dixon at the bottom edge of the Hampshire circuit and went up to third and then on lap 10 was up to second after getting the better of Byrne.
Now the Bringelly rider had Hickman in his sights, with seven laps remaining. Further down the pack, Iddon got the better of Haslam to move up to sixth, with the Tyco BMW racer competing on the harder rear and front tyres, which was the same as Haslam.
On lap 16 Byrne appeared to lose pace after fighting for third with Dixon, and then he dropped off and then got sucked up by the other racers, and the champ could not do anything else than retire to the pits.
Byrne was not the only rider who had a technical issue. Moto Rapido Ducati’s John Hopkins also made his way to the garage. There was also a crash for Bradley Ray while he was in tenth, but he was unhurt at the track. At the flag Iddon lost out to Halsam to get fourth with O’Halloran in fifth.
It was a stellar result for local rider, Martin Jessopp who had his best finish in years in sixth followed by youngster, Lee Jackson. Former World Superbike champion Guintoli, Irwin and Ellison all finished within the top ten. Smrz, Linfoot, Laverty, Bridewell and Westmoreland were the last of the points finishers.
There were some absentees on track this afternoon. FS-3 Racing’s Billy McConnell is suffering from a dislocated hip, after his earlier crash in race one. JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Luke Mossey has fractured vertebrae and is recovering at the Southampton University hospital this evening after his free practice incident.