Jake Dixon’s title hopes were given another boost as he overcame a late charge from Leon Haslam to complete the double at Oulton Park.
Dixon got off to a flying start and didn’t look back, pulling away from the field lap by lap. Haslam was closing him down in the closing stages, however the RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki rider would eventually cross the finish line with a 1.279 second advantage.
The two main titles contenders were joined on the podium by Tommy Bridewell on the Moto Rapido Ducati – his second podium of the day. Tarran Mackenzie was next up in fourth, just ahead of the resurgent duo of Josh Brookes and Glenn Irwin.
Luke Mossey took seventh on the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki machine, with Peter Hickman, Andrew Irwin and James Ellison completing the top 10.
The only showdown contender not to finish the race was Bradley Ray, who crashed at Old Hall Corner on lap 12. Jason O’Halloran and Richard Cooper also suffered from front-end crashes at the first corner, with Michael Laverty crashing out of proceedings early on.
As the race began, Dixon made a fantastic start and led comfortably going into turn one. Meanwhile, Andrew Irwin had a disastrous start as he dropped from second on the grid down to sixth. O’Halloran moved up into second on his Honda Racing machine. Tom Neave’s race came to an end on the opening lap.
Haslam moved into the top three on the second lap, going down the inside of Laverty at Lodge Corner. On the following lap, Bridewell went down the inside of Laverty for fourth at Shell Oil.
By the end of the lap four Dixon had already pulled out a huge lead of 3.449 seconds over his rivals and looked to be in complete control.
Laverty’s race came to an end on lap five, with the 37-year-old suffering from heavy crash at Cascades. The former MotoGP man looked to be in some discomfort as he crawled away from his Tyco BMW machine.
Dixon may have pulled away at the front, but behind him there was an exciting battle for the podium as Mackenzie and Mossey closed in on O’Halloran, Haslam and Bridewell.
Perhaps knowing about the incoming danger behind him, Haslam made his move on O’Halloran going into Lodge Corner. On the following lap Bridewell and Mackenzie battled for fourth at Shell Oil, with the latter going through momentarily. Bridewell would take the position back a few corners later.
As we entered the final few laps of the race, the first corner would take the first of its three victims. Cooper lost the front of his Suzuki and crashed out of a strong 10th position. He was joined in the gravel by his teammate, Ray, two laps later, and then by O’Halloran on the following lap.
Back on the circuit, Mackenzie had inherited fourth spot after getting the better of Mossey. Behind them, Glenn Irwin and Brookes were closing in on the top five at a very fast rate. Both riders would go by Mossey on the penultimate lap, with Brookes also going by Irwin on the final lap.
At the front, Haslam was catching the race leader lap by lap. Ultimately, the championship leader would run out of laps and had to concede a another five points to his main title rival.
Dixon’s double means that he had closed the gap in the championship to 31 points, with five races remaining in 2018. The series now heads to the famous Assen circuit, in the Netherlands, in two weeks time.