Shane 'Shakey' Byrne entered this weekend leading the British Superbike Championship, and ensured he would leave with the advantage after a dominant victory in race two at Croft.
The HM Plant Honda star led for virtually the entire race and cruised to his second win of the year ahead of Stuart Easton and former series leader John Hopkins.
Race one winner Jon Kirkham started from pole position but couldn't hold off MSS Colchester Kawasaki's Gary Mason on the run town to the first chicane, with Byrne and Hopkins relegating him to fourth.
Michael Laverty was fifth but he and Kirkham collided halfway around the first lap as the Swan Yamaha rider attempted a move on the inside of Tower corner. Both riders, along with their bikes, were sent careering into the trackside barriers but both were uninjured.
The safety car was soon deployed but Byrne was able to sneak past Mason before the field was bottled up and promptly sped off into the distance when the Nissan GTR pulled in at the end of lap four.
Hopkins moved straight into second when green flag racing resumed but Mason responded a lap later to push the American back down to third, with Rutter keeping a watching brief in fourth. While this battle was taking place, the second Kawasaki ZX-10R was making good progress, and by lap nine Stuart Easton was right in the thick of the action.
The Hawick rider passed Rutter and Hopkins in the space of a single lap to move onto the tail of his teammate, and entering the Complex on lap ten, Easton slipped through into second.
Mason's hopes of a second consecutive rostrum finish were fading and Hopkins soon demoted him to fourth. In the meantime, Relentless Suzuki's Josh Brookes had moved up from twelfth on the grid and was looming large behind Mason.
Byrne cruised to victory by 1.877s with Easton and Hopkins completing the podium positions, but Brookes would deny Mason fourth after overtaking him five laps from home.
The Lichfield rider wasn't out of the woods yet though, as he lost two more places on the penultimate lap. First Loris Baz got past for fifth and Tommy Hill followed through for sixth. The Swan Yamaha rider produced a stunning ride through the field after starting all the way down in 21st.
Michael Rutter was forced to make do with eighth on the Rapid Solicitors–Bathams Ducati ahead of Peter Hickman. Those two were fortunate to finish after they were nearly collected after Dan Linfoot crashed out just behind them, making gentle contact with the rear of Rutter's bike.
Tommy Bridewell got into the top ten again on the second of the Tyco Hondas while Alex Lowes finished 11th to secure yet another victory in the mirror.co.uk EVO class.
Ryuichi Kiyonari's nightmare weekend didn't come to a dream conclusion. The reigning champion was the final classified runner in race one and having started race two in 28th, would be forced to make do with a solitary point for 15th.
Race Two Result (20 Laps):
- Shane BYRNE (HM Plant Honda) 27:46.928
- Stuart EASTON (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +1.887
- John HOPKINS (Samsung Crescent Racing) +2.269
- Josh BROOKES (Relentless Suzuki) +2.461
- Loris BAZ (Motorpoint Yamaha) +5.517
- Tommy HILL (Swan Yamaha) +6.094
- Gary MASON (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +6.748
- Michael RUTTER (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +8.120
- Peter HICKMAN (Tyco Honda) +8.397
- Tommy BRIDEWELL (Tyco Honda) +9.657
Mirror.co.uk EVO Class Result:
- Alex LOWES (WFR Honda) 27:57.347
- Glen RICHARDS (WFR Honda) +10.789
- Barry BURRELL (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) +12.268
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Croft
- Shane BYRNE (HM Plant Honda) 95 Pts
- John HOPKINS (Samsung Crescent Racing) 92 Pts
- Stuart EASTON (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 89 Pts
- Ryuichi KIYONARI (HM Plant Honda) 59 Pts
- Tommy HILL (Swan Yamaha) 57 Pts
- Jon KIRKHAM (Samsung Crescent Racing) 54 Pts
- Loris BAZ (Motorpoint Yamaha) 51 Pts
- Gary MASON (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 44 Pts
- Michael RUTTER (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) 42 Pts
- Peter HICKMAN (Tyco Honda) 37 Pts