Posted: 08 Aug 2011
RACE 1 – WEATHER FASHIONS SURPRISING RISE
Rain again played a major part in the championship scoring system when it rained just before the start of the race. Riders and teams had to make difficult decisions on whether to start with full wets or gamble on intermediates or a comination of the two in case the conditions brightened.
Australian Josh Brookes and his team opted for intermediate tyres – a gamble that paid off when he rode from 13th race start position to third by the start of lap 2. Soon after, Byrne and other riders who had elected full wets fell foul to drying conditions and many decided to pit for time-sapping tyre changes. Brookes had by then taken the lead and was putting home his advantage.
But while most riders were opting for intermediate rears during their pit-stops, Rapid Bathams Ducati rider Michael Rutter chanced his luck with a slick rear. His gamble paid off to as he seared through the riders to come a close second to Brookes at the end of the race. Mason, on the rapidly improving Kawasaki, came home in third place ahead of Hopkins, who in turn just stayed out of the clutches of fifth-placed man Chris Walker.
RACE 2 – Bryne bounces back to win
With fastest times from the previous race dictating grid positions, Tommy Hill and his Swan Yamaha took up the leading grid box for the start. From the off, Hill was determined to make up for a lack of points in race one. But he forgot about Shane Byrne, who was also looking to salvage crucial points from the event.
By lap six Byrne had made the most of his Brands Hatch circuit knowledge and sneaked ahead of Hill, with a view to running riot. But it wasn’t to be. Hill sat on the tail of Byrne biding his time for opportune overtakes and stealing the win. That chance came on lap 13, but Hill failed to make it stick as he ran wide after passing Byrne going into Paddock Hill.
The cat and mouse scenario stayed in place right to the flag, which Bryne took much to his obvious joy. Hopkins had worked extra hard to make his way up from 12th and would possibly have faired better if it hadn’t been for the on form Rutter who held Hopkins in check. The final outcome was inevitable and Hopkins took third spot. Laverty also broke free of Rutter for fourth place leaving the Ducati man in fifth.
RACE 3 – Hill's third pole of weekend finally pays off
From zero points in Race 1, second spot in Race 2 and three pole starts in the weekend event, all the signs pointed to Hill making the most of this third outing.
And that’s just how it panned; leading from the front at the off and never coming under any serious challenges from his rivals. The following riders maintained a freight train stance from lap one to race end in the order of Hopkins, Byrne, and Laverty. Rutter came home in fifth position to secure yet more points towards the Shootout stage.