Josh Brookes fended off a hard-charging Tommy Bridewell and led lights-to-flag to give the Ducati V4 its first Bennetts British Superbike win this afternoon.
The Be Wiser man converted his pole position into his first win since Thruxton last year after he and fellow Panigale rider, Oxford Ducati’s Bridewell, controlled action from the front.
But it was drama early on as the Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad BMW of Joe Francis had a technical problem down at Brittens and after a rolling chat with the safety car, Tyco BMW’s Keith Farmer convinced officials to check out track conditions down at the chicane, prompting a delayed start.
O’Halloran made a lightning start from the second row and jumped up into third as the pack hit Old Hall, but Brookes and Bridewell were already edging away as Christian Iddon, Redding, Hickman and Buchan fought to keep touch with the leading group.
With four laps completed, Bridewell finally began hacking away at Brookes’ slight advantage and the two stretched a one-second gap over O’Halloran just as Luke Mossey retired to the pits with issues.
Back in the battle for fourth, Iddon had been dropping down the order as Buchan, Redding and Hickman all found their way through on the Tyco man.
Further back, the rate of attrition grew with JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Glenn Irwin and Smith’s Racing’s James Ellison stopped off in the pits as the race crossed the half-way point, shortly before Iddon joined them in the retirement queue.
At the front, Bridewell was in hot pursuit of the 2015 champ as he set the quickest lap of the race, a 1’35.061, but he couldn’t quite bridge the gap and the Australian maintained the slight advantage he’d held almost the entire race as the laps wound down.
And while the Devizes man made a late dash, he missed out on the win by just over two tenths of a second as he clinched pole for race two with his fastest lap.
Buchan cruised to a lone podium almost four seconds off the front while O’Halloran, keen to make up for his luckless Silverstone form, took fourth.
After a battle in the closing laps, Redding held off Smith’s BMW man Hickman for fifth as Farmer beat Mackenzie to seventh some five seconds further back.
RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki’s Ryan Vickers and OMG Suzuki’s Josh Elliott completed the top 10.