Stuart Easton and Hydrex Honda are celebrating their maiden MCE British Superbike Championship race win at Croft after battling to a lights-to-flag victory over James Ellison.

The high point of a breakthrough season that has seen him stand on the podium ten times already, while Easton has led several races this season, this is the first time he has been able to resist his rivals to the chequered flag.

While his cause was arguably aided by an off for Leon Camier on lap three, one that ruled him out of victory contention, Easton still had to contend with the attentions of Ellison, whose last lap attack wasn't enough to deny his former team a first ever win at BSB level.

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Starting in third position, Easton got his trademark fast start from the front row to get dive into the lead through the first corner complex, ahead of Josh Brookes and Ellison.

Camier, meanwhile, suffered one his tardy starts, getting shuffled down to seventh position behind Simon Andrews, Chris Walker and Gary Mason. He immediately went on the offensive, dispatching Mason and Andrews before attempting to dive past Walker at Tower.

Running wide, Camier would only succeed in losing a position to Andrews, forcing him to wait another lap before he could attempt to find his way past the Kawasaki. However, while the championship leader would launch another attempt at Tower, the outcome would be worse.

Attempting to late-brake Andrews, Camier failed to get his Yamaha stopped in time, simply going went straight on, bouncing across the grass and nosing into a ditch on the outside of the run-off area. Dropping to last, the incident would cost him more than twenty seconds and a shot at a 16th win of the season.

With Camier out of the picture, the battle for the win would come down to Easton and Ellison, the local rider having overtaken Brookes on lap four at the Complex. The Australian would proceed to slip into the clutches of Andrews in the battle for the final podium spot.

Andrews, meanwhile, was on a charge, recovering from an earlier error to snatch third from Brookes on lap seven with an aggressive, but clean, pass at the tricky Sunny In right-hander.

Provisionally moving up to fourth in the overall standings with that pass, Andrews's hopes of making it a second podium in a row were dashed, however, when he was forced out of the race by an accident four laps from the end. He wasn't the only rider to fall out of contention from a good position after Walker suffered an unusual accident when his handlebar broke at high-speed, the Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha rider visibly stunned by the manner of his retirement.

It was no concern for Easton and Ellison though, who were setting a strong pace at the head of the field as they moved towards the latter stages. A mid-race push had seen Easton eke his margin out to just over a second at one stage, but Ellison was saving his best till last as he cruised up to the back of the Hydrex Honda around the final lap.

Nonetheless, despite the temptation of a desperate dive through the final corner hairpin, Ellison resisted to allow Easton, who is due to become a father any time now, to become a very popular first time winner.

His first win in 48 attempts, victory also marks a first for Shaun Muir's team, which has been racing in BSB since 2004.

Brookes finished a distant third to secure a podium finish on his return to racing from suspension, the Australian doing enough to hold off team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari, the former champion producing a marvellous display of determined riding in the early stages to battle up from 11th on the grid before settling for a solid result on his comeback to the series.

Just behind, Andrews and Walker's accidents helped Ian Lowry claim a strong fifth for Relentless Suzuki, the Ulsterman moving back to fourth overall in the standings as a result.

Beyond the battle for the lead of the race, all eyes were on Camier, who was launching a stunning fight back from having been several seconds off the tail-enders at the end of lap three.

Forging his way back into the points on lap 13, Camier - helped by Andrews and Walker's problems - scythed his way into top ten just four laps later and set about hunting down Mason and Tommy Hill ahead of him.

Easing past Mason on lap 18, Camier started the final lap half a second behind Hill, but would end it almost a second ahead, the 23-year-old crossing the line an outstanding sixth to the limit the damage to his already sizeable championship advantage.

Hill finished in seventh position on his debut for Hydrex Honda, while Mason continued his charge towards the Cup title with a class win in eighth position overall.

Julien Da Costa becomes Kawasaki's lead representative in the standings following a quiet run to ninth place, ahead of Graeme Gowland, as well as Cup pairing Peter Hickman and Tommy Bridewell.

Elsewhere, Karl Harris managed two points on his first outing with the Node4 Yamaha, although he will be disappointed to be finishing some 44 seconds behind his former team-mate.

Sylvain Guintoli, meanwhile, was heading for a handful of points on the Worx Crescent Suzuki, but crashed out at the low speed hairpin three laps from the end.