FS-3 Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan topped a curious opening Bennetts British Superbike free practice which saw only two Showdown contenders in the top five and championship leader Scott Redding 1.1s off the pace.
Run in wet conditions, the session was stopped after just four laps due to track contamination and didn’t get going again for the business end of half an hour while race direction established the cause.
When action did return, it was title contender Josh Brookes who set the early pace with Buchan snapping at his heels and Oxford Racing Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell also sniffing about the top spots.
Buchan took the lead with a 1’42.241 and was immediately given something to think about by Tyco BMW’s Taylor Mackenzie - who is back in the blue riband class for these final two rounds.
The Essex gangsta then upped his game again to a 1’41.721 as Brookes set out his stall, moving to third and then second with a 1’42.005.
Honda’s Andrew Irwin popped into the top three with 20 minutes left but was pushed out by Joe Francis who fired into third and then second place on a 1’41.893.
The Bowker Racing BMW man then took the lead with a 1’41.155 and stayed there for five minutes before Buchan was back in front on a 1’41.132.
Buchan then really dropped the hammer and 1’40.017 but Francis showed his was up to the challenge and went with Nando’s botherer, putting in a 1’40.176 to keep second place.
Irwin thrashed back into contention with his final run, taking third place, just in front of Taylor Mackenzie in fourth and a resurgent Ben Currie in fifth.
Redding and Brookes were nailed together in sixth and seventh with Dan Linfoot in eighth. Ryan Vickers and Christian Iddon completed the top ten.