Be Wiser Ducati’s Josh Brookes moved a step closer to the championship lead after taking victory in the severely-delayed second Bennetts British Superbike race today.
But drama followed just behind as a dust up between Peter Hickman and Andrew Irwin and a penalty for points leader Scott Redding shook up the order.
While Honda Racing’s Irwin lined up on pole after his maiden win earlier, it was Jason O’Halloran who got the best start ahead of Hickman and Brookes.
But Irwin soon got the better of Brookes as James Ellison slotted ahead of Brookes to take over third after starting fourth on the grid.
Brookes found a way through on Irwin just before snatching the lead from O’Halloran heading into the Club Chicane as the Smith’s Racing boys settled into a fight for fourth just behind.
Hickman got the better of race one winner Irwin just before squeezing up the inside of O’Halloran at the start of lap five.
But it was disaster for Ryan Vickers as he dropped the RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki at Club towards the end of lap four after and bounced across the circuit into the grass.
Meanwhile back in the podium battle, Oxford Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell had moved up to fourth before squeezing Irwin out at Club to take over third place before Redding followed the Devizes rider through to go fourth.
But a lap later, Redding sliced ahead of Bridewell to move into podium contention in third moments before red flags were waved as rain began to spit down over the Hampshire circuit.
When action got back underway for a 13-lap sprint after chiefs waited out threats of bad weather, Hickman edged out restart pole-sitter Brookes and Irwin, but Bridwell and O’Halloran were quickly up into the top five fight, with Ellison and Dan Linfoot just behind.
At the front, Hickman had been shuffled back to third as Brookes and Irwin moved into first and second before Santander Salt TAG Racing man Linfoot pipped the roads ace for third.
Just as Irwin had spotted a way through on Hickman, his brother Glenn went down at Club with his Tyco BMW spewing flames after hitting the kerbs, prompting chiefs to wave red flags yet again.
Marshals hit the track moments later to deal with a massive puddle of oil left behind by the stricken S1000RR, which caused a further 45 minute delay ahead of an eight-lap quick restart to end the day.
Brookes got the best launch on the third race attempt, escaping ahead of Hickman and Irwin as Linfoot slotted into fourth before sitting up at the complex, but it was drama further back as Redding barged past O’Halloran in the fight for eighth.
While former champ Brookes began stretching a lead, Irwin levered Hickman aside as Bridewell moved up to fourth just behind them, but Hickman wasn’t having it and he hit back on the run to Church on lap two.
Iddon, Buchan, O’Halloran and Redding soon joined the fight for the top five as they caught onto the back of Irwin, Bridewell and Hickman.
But as Redding moved up into fourth after regaining ground following a run on at the club chicane, he was slapped with a long lap penalty for the excursion.
Meanwhile in the fight for second, Irwin ran into Hickman on the run to Church, apologising but prompting two fingers up from the Smith’s man as Hickman immediately grabbed his place back.
As Redding charged through the pack, unaware of his penalty, he crossed the line second but was hit with an equivalent 15s anchor, sending him tumbling out of the points.
But just behind, Hickman got through at the Club chicane before Irwin nipped an effective second place from the roads star by a mere 0.012s.
McAMS Yamaha’s O’Halloran bagged fourth ahead of Bridewell, Iddon and Fores, with Buchan in a lone eighth.
Ninth went to OMG Suzuki’s Luke Mossey while Linfoot eventually crossed the line 10th.