Richard Cooper stretched his championship lead in today’s Pirelli National Superstock 1000 battle after beating Lee Jackson in a nearly race-long scrap.
Buildbase Suzuki’s title favourite held off Jackson to almost the final corner as the FS-3 Kawasaki rider ran wide going for a final move in pursuit of the win.
While pole-sitter Cooper catapulted off into the lead immediately on the start ahead of Jackson, Andy Reid launched from the third row of the grid into third before running wide at Wilson and tumbling down the order.
But it was an early end for Milo Ward, Joe Sheldon-Shaw, Sam Cox and Bjorn Estment as they were caught up in an incident after Ward’s bike went flying at Agostini.
Back at the front, FS-3 Kawasaki’s Jackson found a way through on Cooper while Taylor Mackenzie moved up to third ahead of the ensuing IN Competition Aprilia rider Lewis Rollo and the returning Billy McConnell.
Cooper got back ahead at Riches at the start of lap four, but Jackson didn’t let him escape and while Jackson hit back at Brundle, he ran wide and allowed Cooper back through at Nelson.
But all the while, Bathams Racing’s Mackenzie was on the move and by half-distance, the 2016 champ was right on Jackson’s tail as the leading trio stretched a gap of some two seconds over OMG Suzuki’s McConnell.
Mackenzie took advantage of Jackson’s wide run at the back of the circuit to have a stab at Jackson for second place at Agostini, but instead ran onto the grass and allowed Jackson to escape as McConnell and Morello Racing’s Chrissy Rouse sandwiched him as he rejoined the Tarmac.
While Mackenzie regained momentum and got back ahead of McConnell, Jackson had finally caught back onto Cooper’s wheel after clawing back over a second.
Jackson clocked a new lap record of 1’49.892 in hot pursuit but with an 11th-hour move at Nelson on the final lap, he ran wide onto the dirt and threw away any hopes of victory as Cooper cruised to 25 points as Jackson and Mackenzie completed the podium.