Scott Redding stretched his series advantage with victory in the opening Bennetts British Superbike race of the day after early race leader Tommy Bridewell crashed out.
Be Wiser Ducati’s championship front-runner worked his way through from fourth on the first lap to take the win as the Devizes rider binned his hopes of a first win of 2019 less than half way through the 16-lap scrap.
Tarran Mackenzie made a flying start to grab the holeshot as Brookes launched into second from fourth on the grid with Redding just behind, but Bridewell wasn’t hanging around behind and by Agostini’s, he had moved up the inside of Oxford Racing’s Tommy Bridewell.
By the end of lap one, McAMS Yamaha’s Mackenzie had pulled a 0.370s gap on Brookes, but the Australian was holding on as the top four began to stretch an advantage over FS-3 Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan, who was leading the chase in fifth.
Bridewell saw his opportunity and pounced on Brookes at Riches on lap four to move up to second before powering past Mackenzie a lap later at Williams to hit the front.
Meanwhile further back, Smith’s Racing man James Ellison was spotted touring with issues while Bike Devil MV Agusta’s Danny Kent stopped completely to bring his BSB racing return to a halt.
And it was all over for local boy Ryan Vickers as he binned the RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki at Nelson on lap seven, putting his return to the points on hold.
Back at the front, Mackenzie had fallen back to fourth before squeezing through to third ahead of Brookes, but it was disaster at the front as Bridewell threw away any hopes of victory after dropping his Panigale at Agostini’s, handing the lead to Redding.
Joining Bridewell in the dirt moments later was Buildbase Suzuki’s Luke Stapleford followed Bridewell, who also crashed out at Ago’s and put his top-10 charge to a stop. And back in 15th, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Ben Currie had run on and dropped from the points down to 19th.
In the fight for podium honours, a false neutral from Mackenzie cost him time with just a few laps remaining and allowed Brookes to slot into second but with Redding 1.864s up the road and only three laps to catch him, the battle was on for runner-up honours.
But Brookes set a strong pace in the closing laps that the pint-sized Scotsman couldn’t match and while Redding took the win by over a second with his team-mate making it a PBM one-two.
Buchan secured a lone fourth ahead of Honda Racing’s duo, with Andrew Irwin barging ahead of Xavi Fores to steal fifth.
Smith’s BMW man Peter Hickman and OMG Suzuki’s local rider Luke Mossey crossed the line seventh and eighth while Jason O’Halloran and the broken-leg-stricken Tyco BMW rider Christian Iddon completed the top 10.