Ian Lowry and Padgetts Honda made history at Thruxton by securing their first race win in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship as they snatched the lead from defending champion Tommy Hill.
Hill took the hole shot on the opening lap to lead Michael Rutter and Lowry into Allard for the first time with the Padgetts Honda rider then making a move on the MSS Bathams Kawasaki into Club on the opening lap. The pair began to edge out an advantage as the Yamaha versus Honda battle waged with Lowry waiting until there were just three laps remaining to force his way down the inside into Campbell. Hill was pushing hard but didn't have as much grip as Lowry who stormed to the chequered flag to a rapturous reception from his Padgetts Honda team.
Lowry said: "It is absolutely fantastic to have won a race so early into the season, especially as the team moved into Superbike this season. It's great for the whole team after all their hard work this weekend. I sat behind Tommy for a while and it worked out well for me as I saw he started to struggle with five laps to go and I knew I could push then. It was awesome on the last lap as I knew I had a bit of space between me and Tommy and I think if it had been any less it could have been a completely different story. It was a massive thing for me to cross the line and that one was for Clive and the team."
The battle for third was intense; Josh Brookes on the Tyco Suzuki claimed the position with two laps remaining but he had fought back after a slow start saw him outside the top ten over the opening laps. He had made a move on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki pairing of Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Stuart Easton who both had run in a potential podium position in the closing stages before the Australian repeated overtakes into Club.
Michael Laverty on the Samsung Honda was sixth after an equally gritty ride through the field ahead of team-mate Jon Kirkham. Luca Scassa had been in the chasing pack but was forced to settle for seventh ahead of James Westmoreland and Graeme Gowland. Swan Yamaha's Noriyuki Haga was forced to retire in the early stages as did Rutter who had been running third.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, race one result:
- Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda)
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +2.794s
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +13.136s
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ) +13.566s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ) +14.435s
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +18.433s
- Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) +18.473s
- Luca Scassa (Padgetts Honda) +19.867s
- James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +24.609s
- Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +26.896s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Thruxton race one:
- Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) 38
- Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) 34
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ) 22
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 22
- Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) 21