Buildbase BMW’s Ryuichi Kiyonari secured a double win at Oulton Park this weekend, however Josh Brookes prevented the Japanese rider from doing the triple, dominating the third and final race of the weekend.
|Race one action, on a sunny Saturday
Photo: MCE BSB
Under sunny skies on Saturday, for the first of the triple header races former BSB champion Kiyonari won his 11th race at the Cheshire circuit ahead of Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne, after starting from tenth on the grid. Byrne on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki got the hole-shot after getting a strong start off the line, however he soon came under challenges from Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha and the Australian hit the front on the third lap at Old Hall.
Meanwhile Kiyonari was carving through the pack to eventually catch the dicing pair, getting into third position the seventh lap and hitting the front on lap 10 of 15. From there he proved un-catchable, despite both Byrne and Brookes’ best efforts. Kiyonari crossed the line just under half a second ahead of Brookes, with Byrne rounding out the podium and Bridewell a distant fourth.
Rain was not going to slow Kiyonari down on Sunday, as the heavens opened on Sunday and he took another 25 points and his 12th win at Oulton Park. Brookes was able to edge the Japanese to pole for race two, as Byrne completed the front row. With a damp track facing the MCE British Superbike riders in the afternoon, all three riders on the front row opted for slick tyres; a risky gamble which appeared to pay off.
Brookes led the 27 riders into Old Hall for the first time on Sunday, with Kiyonari, Byrne and Hopkins hot on his tails. However it wasn’t long before Tyco Suzuki’s Hopkins dropped off from the leading pack after running wide at Cascades on the second lap and dropped back to 11th. Kiyonari took the lead in the second half of the race, this time in lap 9 but Brookes wasn’t going to let him get away. Sitting on his back wheel, the Australian tried to find a way through on the last lap but to no avail, taking the chequered flag in second for the second time this weekend. Byrne rounded out the podium once again, ahead of Dan Linfoot 23 seconds down the road.
As the third and final race came round, Brookes put in a dominant performance to secure a lights to flag win preventing Kiyonari from securing a hat trick in Cheshire. Getting a strong start off the line, Brookes had already built up a one second lead on the second lap making a relentless charge for the race win on his R1.
Brookes explained: “I wanted that win badly. I wanted to get out to the front first and go for it because I thought I could then control the race. I wanted to give myself the best possible chance and that was what I did by taking the lead at the start. I didn’t know how hard to push to start with, but I decided and just kept focused. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew I wanted to win!”
Shane Byrne seemed happy to see the back of this weekend after a cycling crash on Thursday left the former champion injured, and he was happy to come away with three podiums and the all important podium credits: “My fitness isn’t what it should have been this weekend so with a second and two thirds from the three races, it hasn’t been a bad weekend by my standards. Aside from having a bit less side grip, the bike was great all weekend and more than capable of winning and it was simply a case of the rider not quite being strong enough. Three more podiums mean a good chunk of podium credits and hopefully I’ll be back a lot stronger at the next round.”
Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot was able to hold off a flying Kiyonari to secure his first ever MCE BSB podium, finishing just .0125s behind Byrne in second: “To finally crack the podium is a fantastic feeling and it’s testament to the team who have given me a superb bike all season. From the beginning of the weekend, I felt really good and although it proved to be a challenging weekend with the conditions we proved we were strong in both the wet and dry and I’m just so happy. I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground as there’s still a long way to go and we’re focusing firmly on the next four races now to make sure we finish inside the top six.”
Stuart Easton rounded out the top five for the Rapid Solicitor’s Kawasaki team ahead of Brands Hatch race two winner Josh Waters as his Tyco Suzuki team-mate John Hopkins crashed out of 13th position at Old Hall.