Scott Redding celebrated his first BSB victory, following an incredible four-way battle in the opening race of the triple-header weekend at Donington Park.
At the start of the race Oulton Park double winner Josh Brookes launched off the front row to lead the pack into Redgate for the first time ahead of Jason O’Halloran, Tarran Mackenzie and Redding. However Tommy Bridewell was instantly on the attack and by lap two he was tucked in behind Mackenzie and a lap later was into second with a big move on O’Halloran.
Brookes was trying to bridge a gap but Bridewell was in close contention with the McAMS Yamaha duo of O’Halloran and Mackenzie locked in formation behind. The Oxford Racing Ducati hit the lead at Redgate on the start of the fifth lap as Mackenzie moved into second, the pair pushing Brookes into third. The 2015 champion was pushing to regain the positions when he suffered a huge high-side on the exit of Roberts on lap six which threw him out of the seat of his Be Wiser Ducati. The Australian was able to walk away from the crash despite his heavy tumble.
At the front the two joint championship leaders were trading blows with Bridewell and Mackenzie switching positions for the lead with nearly every lap, but the pair’s initially advantage was closing and Redding was determined to score an emotional victory in the opening race.
Redding was bringing Xavi Forés with him too and the final six laps became a four-way tussle at the front of the field. On lap 22 the former MotoGP contender went for a move on the pair and by the start of the next lap the Be Wiser Ducati was at the front and he held off the opposition to claim the victory.
Redding said: “It feels great first of all. I voiced it before the weekend that if I’m going to do it I need to do it here, so put a bit of pressure on myself really, but when you know you’ve got a good feeling with the bike and the team, you know a little bit of the track. I just messed up the start big time again. From second on the grid, the guys either side of me just went and I thought ‘come on Scott, get your head down’ and I got back, Fores came past. I didn’t really expect that, and I thought ‘woah what’s going on? How many people are behind, how many are going to go?’.
“And I got stuck in there and we had a good little battle for a couple of laps, trying to overtake going three abreast into the last chicane, and I love that sort of race. Everything was very clean, everyone respected each other, that was really good. And I thought ‘right I need to try and get out of this because it isn’t going to end well with three of us on the last lap’ and I didn’t know that Xavi was even just on the back of us so I managed to get a little gap and maintain it, and the win just felt phenomenal for me out there. It’s been coming and waiting for a long time and now I’ve got it, it feels a lot of weight off my shoulder and I feel much better and I think we can get many more.”
Bridewell was coming under pressure and with four laps to go Mackenzie had moved into second and then the Oxford Racing Ducati rider had Forés in close contention too. The Honda Racing rider struck on the penultimate lap to move into third and claim his first victory in the series to become the seventh different podium finisher of the season so far.
O’Halloran ended the race in fifth place following an intense scrap with Bennetts BSB debutant Hector Barbera in sixth with Christian Iddon moving up eleven places from his starting grid position to finish in seventh for Tyco BMW, narrowly ahead of Keith Farmer who bounced back from his free practice three crash.
Glenn Irwin and Peter Hickman completed the top ten finishers ahead of races two and three tomorrow.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Race 1 result:
Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati)
Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.824s
Xavi Forés (Honda Racing) +1.666s
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati) +1.868s
Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +2.147s
Hector Barbera (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +4.088s
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +7.401s
Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW) +10.391s
Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +11.284s
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +12.669s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Donington Park race one:
Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 84
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati) 77
Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) 65
Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 58
Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) 52
Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) 50
The third round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship is a Bank Holiday triple-header at Donington Park on May 24/25/26 for more information and to book visit www.donington-park.co.uk