Josh Brookes fought his way from the back of a seven-man leading group to the front to claim a much-needed victory at Silverstone. The Australian's title hopes were fading fast after failing to finish on the podium in the first three races of the Showdown but an impressive ride in race two has given him an outside chance heading to Brands Hatch.
Brookes started from pole position but it was championship leader John Hopkins who made it into Copse first. Michael Laverty went with him and briefly held the lead after a brave move at Becketts but as the race settle down, Hopkins led from Shane Byrne, Laverty, Tommy Hill, Jon Kirkham and Peter Hickman with Brookes down in seventh.
The next change of lead came on lap five as Byrne sneaked past Hopkins into Stowe but the Londoner only held the advantage for two laps before Hopkins returned the favour at the same corner. The two Swan Yamahas came into combat there too with Hill snatching third after a mistake from Laverty.
With no-one getting away, Brookes was starting to look dangerous and after passing Kirkham and Hickman on consecutive laps, the Relentless Suzuki man gained another two places on lap eight. The first came at the expense of Laverty at Copse and fourth quickly became third when he followed Hill past Byrne at Farm.
Brookes would have to wait a little longer to get a shot at Hill's Yamaha as the Lingfield rider surged up the inside of Hopkins at Farm to take the lead. Brookes was a man on a mission though and after demoting Hopkins to third on the tenth lap, moved straight past Hill as they hit the brakes for Club corner next time around.
Brookes managed to edge ahead by a second as Hill fended off Hopkins but any fears of a last-lap challenge were wiped out by a spectacular engine failure for Chris Walker on the Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki.
With oil and smoke everywhere, the race was halted a lap early and Brookes took the win ahead of Hill and Hopkins, with Michael Laverty beating Byrne to fourth after the Honda rider made a mistake at Brooklands three laps from home. Kirkham and Hickman continued to hang on behind the title challengers but were forced to settle for sixth and seventh respectively.
Michael Rutter finished eighth ahead of Tommy Bridewell and Dan Linfoot while Graeme Gowland claimed a sixth consecutive EVO class win. That wasn't enough to keep his title hopes alive though as second (16th overall) was good enough for Glen Richards to clinch the championship with three races to spare.
Lap Leaders: M.Laverty (1), Hopkins (2-4, 7-8), Byrne (5-6), Hill (9-10), Brookes (11-13)
Fastest Lap: Josh Brookes (2:06.698 – Lap 6)