Peter Hickman became the second first-time BSB winner of the day after a supreme performance in torrential rain at Cadwell Park. The RAF Reserves Honda rider, based in nearby Louth, mastered the horrendous conditions to lead home Shane Byrne with race one winner Tommy Bridewell completing the podium.
The drama kicked off before the race had even got underway with Josh Brookes sliding off on the approach to the mountain section. The Australian remounted and took up his place on the front row but with rules prohibiting riders from remounting crashed motorcycles, Brookes was promptly black-flagged once the race had begun.
Hickman had an unmatched level of confidence in the early stages and had blasted through into the lead as early as the Gooseneck on lap one. Byrne ran a comfortable second ahead of Ryuichi Kiyonari but the Japanese rider became the second title contender to crash out within four laps, highsiding on the exit of the turn 17 hairpin.
The dominant Hickman was untroubled though, easing away whenever Byrne closed to within striking distance, and took the chequered flag to claim a hugely popular and emotional victory. The 27 year old joined the RAF Reserves team after the tragic passing of Simon Andrews at the North West 200 and later dedicated the victory to Andrews.
“It feels unbelievable to win and what a place to do it than at home! We are only a small team so to think of a podium finish is great, but to actually do it is unreal. I had nothing at the start of the season and it was such an unfortunate way to come into the races, so this win is certainly for Simon.”
With Bridewell a fine third, Gary Mason claimed a shock fourth for Tsingtao WK Kawasaki ahead of Josh Waters and Jon Kirkham who returned to action despite falling at the end of race one. Glen Richards was next up in seventh while Chris Walker consolidated his sixth place in the championship standings by taking a safe eighth.