Gary Mason has expressed his delight at climbing onto the British Superbike Championship podium for the first time in his career after claiming third position in race one.

The former BSB Cup champion has endured a difficult tenure at full BSB level since making his debut in 2002 having never even broken into the top five in 194 attempts.

However, the MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider made good early gains from his 11th place grid position during race one to find himself up to second behind John Hopkins when the safety car was deployed.

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Dropping to fourth on the restart as he worked to get heat back into the tyres, while Mason believes a victory was possible, he admits he favoured caution to ensure he secured a long-awaited rostrum in third place.

"The first race was the longest race of my life, it was such a relief to cross the line and get my first BSB podium. When the safety car came out I had a ten second gap and second place was there to be had, but the car took away the advantage and my slicks cooled.

"I knew the other guys were on intermediates so I had to wait a few laps to get the heat back in my tyres, which was scary as it was damp out the back of the circuit.

"I really felt I could have had the win, but in the end I decided to take the podium rather than risk a crash. I'm over the moon, it's been a while coming but I'm so happy to get on the podium.

Running with the leaders during the opening half of the second race, a problem with the ZX-10R forced Mason back to seventh, but it did little to spoil his mood.

"In the second race I felt I could run at the front but the bike developed a judder, which was a shame as I couldn't run as fast as I wanted, but I'm leaving Croft so full of confidence after my first podium."

Mason's results move him up to eighth position in the overall standings.