This weekend marked the return of the Race of Aces for the first time since 1994. It was Paul Bird Motorsports BeWiser Ducati that took a double one-two at Snetterton, with Scott Redding taking the double and the Monster Energy Race of Aces title.
Race one – Advantage Redding
As race one began pole-sitter Scott Redding got a less than ideal start dropping back to fourth in the early stages. It was McAMS Yamaha‘s Tarran Mackenzie who took the hole-shot into turn one followed by Tommy Bridewell.
As Redding settled into his rhythm, he began to pick off the riders in front of him. Beginning with, Josh Brookes with a clean and calculated manoeuvre. It wasn’t long until he picked off Tarran Mackenzie for second place.
Bridewell then hit the front with a pass up the inside of Mackenzie, who was then passed by the BeWiser duo of Redding and Brookes. Bridewell started to edge away from the chasing Ducati’s but in doing so, crashed at turn four on the eighth lap, ending the chances of his first win of the season. In a reaction to the fall up ahead, Brookes ran wide at turn four allowing Mackenzie back passed for what was now the runner-up spot.
Tarran Mackenzie tried to stay with Redding but it became apparent that the Yamaha‘s tyre’s had given up on him. It then became about defending from Brookes who had found great late-race pace but had nothing left for the Australian who made his way through on lap thirteen.
On their return to the championship, both Ryan Vickers, Danny Kent and MV Agusta’s race ended early after Vickers crashed out as a result of a highside at turn nine, and Kent’s MV Agusta suffered a fourth mechanical failure of the weekend during race one.
Back out front, Redding was controlling the lead over a suffering Mackenzie who had the Integro Summer Triple Crown contender, Josh Brookes, desperately trying to find a way passed the Silverstone race winner. Brookes was able to use the power of his V4 R Ducati down the Bentley Straight and set up a move into the quick left-hander of Brundle, and made the move stick.
With the PBM Ducati’s out front, Mackenzie had to settle for third throughout the final few laps, whilst the battle raged on behind for the final positions inside the top ten. Danny Buchan had a comfortable fourth whilst the Honda teammates Andrew Irwin and Xavi Fores battled it out till the last lap for fifth and sixth positions, even making contact at the tight right-hander of Nelsons.
Luke Mossey had the Smiths BMW of Peter Hickman attacking the local rider for seventh at every given chance, whilst injured Christian Iddon was fighting with his one-off teammate for the weekend Michael Laverty and the recovering Jason O’Halloran after his two crashes in qualifying.
Scott Redding eventually took the win, denying Brookes a chance of the £30,000 crash prize, who finished second, Tarran Mackenzie rounded out the podium positions with a respectable third position.
Knockhill race winner Danny Buchan finished fourth whilst Irwin lead Fores, Hickman, Mossey, O’Halloran and Iddon who both squeezed into the top ten on the final lap.
With that win, Redding opened up his title lead to twenty-nine points over the unfortunate Tommy Bridewell.
Despite the crash early in race one, Oxford Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell would line up on pole for race two, heading an all Ducati front row at the Norwich circuit.
Race two – Double or nothing
There was drama before the second race even began after Danny Buchan and Josh Elliott both crashed on the sighting lap to the grid, ending their race before it even began.
If that wasn’t enough drama, Scott Redding added to it after a controversial jump start from his second position grid slot, a crime that would normally be treated with a ride through penalty, however, Redding got away with it.
Speaking to Eurosport during the race, Bennetts British Superbike race director Stuart Higgs claimed that because “Redding wasn’t moving at the time of departure, he did not gain an advantage, therefore no penalty”.
Despite the move from Redding, it was his teammate Josh Brookes who took the early lead at Richies leading Bridewell and Redding to the hairpin for the first time, where Redding squeezed his way back into second position.
Bridewell then claimed second place back from the Gloucestershire rider after a mistake at turn four on the opening lap demoted Redding back to third.
Brookes opened up a healthy gap over Bridewell and Redding whilst Mackenzie and O’Halloran completed the top five after passing Honda’s Irwin on lap two.
Redding started his charge back to Bridewell, setting the fastest lap of the race and passed Bridewell on lap four.
Jason O’Halloran’s weekend got even worse after a highside on lap four left the Aussie sidelined for the remainder of the race, throwing away a potential top-five finish.
At the mid-way point of the race, it was Mackenzie who was closing the leading trio down but his charge was halted after crashing out of fourth position at turn two.
Lap thirteen saw a new leader for the first time in race two, with Redding passing Brookes at the end of the back straight, as he charged for his second race win on his first official visit to the Norfolk circuit.
Despite Brookes’ pressure, Redding hung on to pull off a sensational double ahead of Brookes, whilst Tommy Bridewell made it an all Ducati V4 R podium in third.
Andy Irwin came home in fourth, his best result on the Fireblade, ahead of Hickman and Iddon who pulled off a brilliant sixth position with a broken leg after his race two crash at Knockhill. Hector Barbera came home in seventh ahead of Fores, Laverty and Mossey who completed the top ten.
Dan Linfoot came home in a lonely eleventh ahead of Vickers and Bradley Ray, Claudio Corti and Luke Stapleford completed the points positions.
With another win to his name, Redding extended the title advantage to thirty-eight points over Bridewell, who sits three points clear of Brookes. Tarran Mackenzie lies in fourth ahead of Buchan and Xavi Fores who rounds off the showdown positions.
Redding played his cards right to win the ‘Race of Aces’ at Snetterton and sets himself up for yet another successful weekend at Thruxton for round seven of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.