Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty put in a great performance to take victory in the opening race of the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship.
Laverty stormed through from sixth on the grid to take the lead early on and stayed strong throughout in order to hold of various challengers.
The Irishman was joined on the podium by Shane Byrne and the other Tyco BMW of Christian Iddon – who celebrates his first ever BSB podium.
Luke Mossey put on a late show to fight through to fourth, ahead of the Honda Racing duo of Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran, both of whom seemed to control for grip towards the end of the race.
Danny Buchan (7th) and Lee Jackson (8th) were next, with EPayMe Yamaha’s John Hopkins and Tommy Bridewell on Bennetts Suzuki rounding out the top 10 finishers.
Race one of the season turned into a disaster for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team with Leon Haslam and Peter Hickman both retiring from the race with mechanical issues.
The start of the race saw O’Halloran initially take the lead away from Haslam but the ‘Pocket Rocket’ got him back going through Maggots.
Midway through the first lap Laverty had already moved up into second and set his sights on the Kawasaki. He made his move going through Stowe Corner, sitting Haslam up in the process.
The second lap of the race saw Linfoot, who started down in ninth, get the better of O’Halloran and Haslam to take second.
Haslam had been struggling for a few corners before eventually pulling off the track on lap three with some form of mechanical problem.
At the front Laverty, Linfoot and Byrne were beginning to pull away from the chasing pack – with all three posting similar lap-times.
As we started lap nine of the race Hickman was beginning to close-in on the top three having steadily fought his way through the order.
However he would soon suffer the same fortunes as his teammate and pulled off the track to retire from the race.
The last few laps of the race saw Mossey beginning to make progress as he got the better of both the Honda Racing riders to move up into third. Iddon would soon follow him through at Woodcote.
Back at the front Byrne was looking very confident on his Ducati as he closed in on Laverty.
A mistake on the final lap cost him the chance of taking victory and even put him in danger of falling behind Iddon – who had fought his way through past Mossey at the first corner.
He managed to hold-on and crossed the line in second, behind a visibly delighted Laverty who goes straight to the top of the championship standings.