Defending Bennetts British Superbike champion Shane Byrne has got the better of surprise early points leader Bradley Ray for victory in the opening race at Brands Hatch Indy.
Pole-sitter Ray led the entire race until the start of the penultimate lap when the Buildbase Suzuki rider locked his front brake and ran wide at Paddock Hill Bend which allowed six-time BSB champion Byrne to storm into the lead.
The experienced rider saw off a late challenge from Ray to clinch his first victory of the year, his eighth in total around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, which marks his 85th career BSB race win.
With Ray having to settle for second he remains early BSB championship leader after his double victory at Donington Park last time out. Behind the front two Honda’s Jason O’Halloran held off a race-long attack from JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam for the final podium spot. O’Halloran is the sole Honda rider after teammate Dan Linfoot suffered a fractured vertebrae in a Friday practice crash.
Further back Christian Iddon secured fifth place for Tyco BMW ahead of Jake Dixon for RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki with Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin producing an eye-catching charge up the order to finish seventh.
Michael Laverty faded late on to finish eighth place for Tyco BMW but kept ahead of Halsall Suzuki’s Tommy Bridewell as Peter Hickman completed the top ten for Smiths Racing BMW.
Tarran Mackenzie led the McAMS Yamaha charge in 11th place as top rookie ahead of Danny Buchan for FS-3 Kawasaki with 2015 BSB champion Josh Brookes a lowly 13th place. Jakub Smrz (Lloyd & Jones PR Racing BMW) and Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) completed the points places just ahead of James Ellison for Anvil Hire Yamaha.