Back to back Bank Holidays and a certain wedding allowed BSB fans to enjoy two weekends of top racing action. Hot on the heels of round 1 at Brands Hatch, the MCE British Superbike roadshow moved to Oulton Park in Cheshire.
Once again there would be drama by the truckload with yet again more huge crashes, thrills and spills as BSB again confirmed its status as the number one domestic superbike competition in the world.
Qualifying for race one saw Tommy Hill on the Swan Yamaha post the quickest time and take pole position, his team mate Michael Laverty took second with Motogp star John Hopkins and the teenage star Loris Baz completing the front row of the grid on Suzuki and Yamaha machinery respectively.
There would be early drama on race day though as Tommy Hill crashed during the morning warm up session, sustaining a shoulder injury which would prevent him from taking part in either of the days races. Michael Laverty would start race one from pole position due to the gap being left on the front row with Hill out. Race one would see Laverty, Shane Byrne, Josh Brookes, Stuart Easton, John Hopkins and Ryuichi Kiyonari all battling for the top positions. The number of countries and manufacturers represented in the top ten underlines the international flavour of BSB this year. In the Evo Class Alex Lowes was again impressing on the WFR Honda, running at the same pace as the full superbikes. Eventually the battle at the front would see Kiyonari on the HM Plant Honda take his 10th win at Oulton Park, a record that speaks for itself. John Hopkins on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki took second becoming the first American ever to score a podium in BSB, with Stuart Easton on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki making a welcome return to the podium in third. The nip and tuck duels throughout the field emphasized how close the machines are this year.
Result 1 result:
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari – HM Plant Honda
2. John Hopkins – Samsung Crescent Suzuki
3. Stuart Easton – MSS Colchester Kawasaki
4. Shane Bryne – HM Plant Honda
5. Michael Laverty – Swan Yamaha
6. Josh Brookes – Relentless TAS Suzuki
Race two saw Kiyonari start from pole position after setting the fastest lap of race one. Alex Lowes became the first BSB Evo rider to start from the front row of the grid in second place. Josh Brookes and Stuart Easton rounded out the final places on the front row.
Race two again saw the usual suspects at the front with Stuart Easton taking an early lead with Brookes, Laverty, Lowes and Kiyonari in hot pursuit. Brookes took the lead briefly before and error dropped him down to third place. There was more drama to follow for him though. After getting back to second place and closing on Easton for the lead Brookes clipped a kerb which fired his Relentless Suzuki cartwheeling through the air. Brookes was ok but the Suzuki was destroyed. The flying GSXR narrowly missed hitting Easton on the Kawasaki who later commented that the debris resembled that of a plane crash. If you havent seen it check it out on youtube!! The safety car would now play a part as the track was cleared. As the safety car made its exit the battle at the front intensified with Easton, Kiyonari, Michael Rutter on the Riders Ducati, Hopkins and Laverty all set to dice it out over the remaining laps. Eventually after some amazing racing it would be John Hopkins who would take an emotional victory completing a comeback from a number of injuries. The top three would be completed by Easton in second again showing good form and Shane Bryne on his first return to Oulton Park for a number of years taking third. Alex Lowes took another victory in the Mirror.co.uk BSB Evo championship and continues to impress on the WFR Honda.
Race 2 result:
1. John Hopkins – Samsung Crescent Suzuki
2. Stuart Easton – MSS Colchester Kawasaki
3. Shane Bryne – HM Plant Honda
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari – HM Plant Honda
5. Michael Laverty – Swan Yamaha
6. Michael Rutter – Riders Solicitors – Bathams Ducati
Going into round 3 at Croft, Shane Bryne leads the championship from Stuart Easton and Ryuichi Kiyonari.