At a surprisingly sun-kissed Knockhill circuit in Fife, it was reigning British Superbike champion Shane Byrne who took the win in the first race, ahead of Australian Josh Brookes and Ryuichi Kiyonari on his apparent and duly welcomed return to form.
|Byrne took his 46 BSB career victory
Photo: MCE British Superbikes
Following various incidents in practice and qualifying Danny Buchan, Martin Jessop and Karl Harris were unable to take further part in the weekend and look to return at Snetterton in three weeks time or at a later date.
As the lights went out, it was Josh Brookes who got the holeshot, ahead of Byrne, Lowes and Kirkham. Due to the tight nature of the Knockhill circuit, there was little overtaking for the majority of the race between the front runners, with a bungee chord effect of gaps opening and closing between the top quartet of Brookes, Byrne, Lowes and Kiyonari for the first half of the race. However, on lap fifteen coming out of the final corner, Alex Lowes high-sided his Samsung Honda out of the race, promoting his team mate Kiyonari into the final podium spot.
Buildbase BMW’s John Kirkham also put himself out of the race some laps later while running in fourth, ahead of Keith Farmer and the remaining Quattroplant Kawasaki of Chris Walker. Other non-finishers but as a result of technical problems were Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Waters, Aaron Zanotti and and Michael Howarth on the MH Kawsaki, in his first outing on the bike as a full time rider.
After sitting patiently behind Brookes for the majority of the race, Byrne put a move on the Australian going into the final corner with five laps to go, but was unsuccessful due to leaving a Suzuki sized gap on the exit of the turn, allowing Brookes to reclaim 1st. However, a lap later the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider put a far more composed move onto the Tyco Suzuki man, which this time was a success. Brookes had no reply for Byrne, who had managed to pull nearly a second gap, come the chequered flag. This was Byrne’s 46th BSB career win and his 5th win of the season.
With Kiyonari rounding out the podium, Byrne’s team mate Keith Farmer took fourth just ahead of Chris Walker. A couple of seconds down the road was Westmoreland in 6th, who had Ellison, Linfoot, Jacobsen, Hickman and Bridewell nipping at his heels all the way to the line, rounding out the top 11.