Brookes started the race second on the grid, but quickly found himself in tenth place after a poor start. It was a tricky race for everyone, as heavy rain fell shortly before the race causing teams and riders to make a critical tyre decision.
Brookes chose the safer wet tyre option along with the majority of the field, but it was Tommy Bridewell and Dan Linfoot who looked the most comfortable in the early stages. The two leaders quickly made a break at the front, with the chasing pack struggling in the ever changing conditions.
The conditions started to significantly improve around the mid race stage, and Brookes started to charge up the order picking off riders lap after lap.
Bridewell led for the first fifteen laps and looked in control, but with Brookes on the charge, Linfoot decided to take the lead. The Santander Salt TAG Yamaha rider increased his pace trying to create a gap, but with two laps remaining Brookes was already with him.
As the riders approached the final lap, Brookes took advantage of his superior rear grip at Clearways, in what was ultimately the race winning move. Linfoot finished a season best second with Bridewell taking third and the championship lead from Scott Redding.
For Redding it was a disaster, as the pole sitter chose the intermediate rear tyre and lost over ten seconds per lap in the first five laps.
As the conditions started to improve, Redding was finding considerable speed setting the fastest laps of the race, but the damage was already done and the BeWiser Ducati man finished outside of the top twenty.
It was an impressive performance for Danny Buchan on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki, who gained six places from tenth to finish fourth ahead of Peter Hickman.
Sixth and seventh were the Tyco BMW Motorrad teammates, with Keith Farmer pipping Christian Iddon in the final stages, with Jason O’Halloran in eighth. It was another disappointing race for the McAMS Yamaha rider who was running third in the early laps but suffered late on.
Andrew Irwin finished ninth and top Honda just ahead of his brother Glenn Irwin. With the grid positions for race two being determined by the fastest riders in the first race, the Quatrro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki will lineup third on the front row behind Redding and Brookes.
Third in the championship heading into race one was Tarran Mackenzie, but after a huge crash in Saturday’s qualifying 3 session, he was ruled out of action due to concussion.