Josh Brookes has returned to the top of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title fight as the Milwaukee Yamaha rider claimed the victory in the second race at Oulton Park as arch rival Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was forced out with a technical problem.
Byrne had initially led the race from the pole position but Brookes was instantly on the attack and he fired the Milwaukee Yamaha ahead to lead the second lap. The pair then swapped places again as the defending champion made a move to go ahead of Brookes at Old Hall, only for the Australian to push back in front at Shell.
The pair had Tommy Bridewell in close contention to spoil their race too and the Tyco BMW rider was looking to make a move until he suffered a huge high-side at Cascades on the fifth lap and he was out of the race for the second time this weekend.
At the front the battle continued between Brookes and Byrne but the pack behind turned into a huge scrap between Dan Linfoot, Danny Buchan, Luke Mossey and James Ellison. After his debut podium finish yesterday, Buchan eventually moved ahead and then he edged a gap to hold third.
Buchan was then promoted to second place on the penultimate lap when Byrne was forced to retire with a technical problem to his PBM Kawasaki, ending his hopes of taking the fight to Brookes on the final lap.
The intense tussle for third was then in the hands of Linfoot and Mossey and the pair traded places several times before the Honda Racing rider held the advantage on the final lap to move closer to a Showdown position at the expense of Stuart Easton who withdrew from the races with injury.
Ellison held on to fifth place for JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead of Peter Hickman, Michael Laverty who confirmed his position in the Showdown, Richard Cooper and Christian Iddon. James Westmoreland completed the top ten.
The top five riders in the standings have now confirmed their position with sixth place to be decided in the third and final race of the weekend. Easton currently holds sixth place but only seven points separate him from Linfoot.
"It was a fast race. I could see on my dash the times we were doing, and it was much faster than race one yesterday." Brookes said. "I felt much better being able to ride at the front rather than through the pack, and I just tried to settle into a rhythm at the front. Obviously though, getting past Shakey first was the primary target.
"I felt confident a couple of times to make the pass, and finally got the lead - and set about trying to set a smooth fast rhythm.
"The plan was to bridge a gap, like I have at other events, but Shakey was having none of that! He really stayed with me, and every time I did a good lap and made a gap, he would just get right back on me. With a few laps to go, I knew it would be easier to defend a gap than a position, so I put my head down and tried hard to use the last energy I had left in reserve to just get a little clear.
"I came through and saw +10 seconds on the board - and didn't know if it was a mistake! I questioned for a minute 'did I see that right?' until I was able to look over my shoulder and see there was no one there. It's funny how things work out, isn't it? I try and not get too cocky when things are going right; I just keep my head down and do the best I can. Misfortune can come at any time!"