Leon Haslam took his second victory of the year in a scorching opening race at Oulton Park after holding off a charge from RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider Jake Dixon.
It was Dixon who took the holeshot to lead the early stages of the race, but a strong start for Haslam saw him settle comfortably on his Kawasaki rival’s rear before taking the lead at Lodge on the seventh lap.
After having started on the front row, Glenn Irwin got a strong start to settle into third place before dramatically crashing out at Island bend as he tried to pursue the leaders.
Despite getting a good launch, it wasn’t such a great start for polesitter Shane Byrne who was sixth at the first turn. Looking uncomfortable on the Be Wiser Ducati, it had looked as though it could be a tough race for the reigning champion until he regrouped and looked to make his way through the riders ahead, including a hard pass on Honda’s Jason O’Halloran at Hizzy’s chicane.
Byrne would eventually get the better of series leader Brad Ray for third, but that would end his charge with Haslam and Dixon too far up the road.
Digging in in the final stages, Haslam extended his lead over Dixon to 1.6 seconds to take his second win from as many races with Dixon and Byrne completing the rostrum.
Series leader Brad Ray took fourth for Builddbase Suzuki ahead of Jason O’Halloran and Josh Brookes.
Danny Buchan was seventh for FS3 Kawasaki ahead of Tommy Bridewell with Tarran Mackenzie and Richard Cooper rounding out the top ten.
It was an incident packed race in the hot conditions with seven riders crashing out. Michael Laverty was the first to hit the deck at Lodge on the opening lap before a nasty looking crash for Peter Hickman on the way out of Cascades. Luke Mossey crashed out at Lodge, as did Carl Phillips while Kyle Ryde was also a faller in the opening session.