Ian Lowry soars to maiden BSB victory
15 April 2012
Ian Lowry has taken a sensational maiden MCE British Superbike Championship victory at Thruxton after turning his late move on long-time leader Tommy Hill into a winning pass.
A remarkable result for the Ulsterman, who has struggled for strong results since his breakthrough debut season in 2009, Lowry spent much of the race following Hill, the reigning champion having turned his pole position into a relatively comfortable lead.
However, while Hill was able to pull a large margin over the battle for third position, he couldn't shake the attentions of Lowry, the Padgetts Honda rider maintaining a watching brief in readiness for what was a surprise attack on lap seventeen.
Indeed, having limited his previous efforts to feigned looks around the high-speed Church right-hander, Lowry caught Hill off guard as they rounded Cobb, diving up the inside of the Yamaha to move into the lead for the first time.
Immediately breaking the tow to Hill, Lowry forged ahead over the remaining three laps to cross the line almost three seconds up on his rival.
A superb result for Lowry, whose previous best finish coming into the race was a run to fourth at Oulton Park in 2009, the win also marks a return to the top for Clive Padgett's eponymous team.
Blaming the tyres for his drop in pace over the final laps, Hill was nonetheless satisfied to get points and podium credits on the board following his failure to score at Brands Hatch.
While the top two dominated by a considerable margin, the fight for the third and final podium position raged throughout the race as several riders came and went during the battle.
Michael Rutter had held down third initially before mechanical problems sidelined his MSS Bathams Kawasaki, promoting Michael Laverty into the position for several laps, the Samsung Honda rider having battled his way up from 13th on the grid.
However, he too would suffer from tyre woes during the latter stages, allowing Josh Brookes to snatch the final spot on the podium. The Tyco Suzuki rider had maintained a low profile during the early stages as he languished outside the top ten, but reaped the rewards of his meagre start to climb the order as others dropped back.
Overcoming their lowly grid positions, Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki's Shane Byrne and Stuart Easton showed impressive race pace to finish in fourth and fifth respectively, the latter putting in a particularly noteworthy performance having at one time been as high as third in a race he started down in 21st.
Laverty faded to sixth, just holding off Samsung Honda team-mate and erstwhile series leader Jon Kirkham, while Luca Scassa completed Padgetts Honda's fine start to the day with a run to eighth place.
James Westmoreland and Graeme Gowland completed the top ten on their WFR Hondas, though team-mate Alex Lowes would finish outside the points after a dramatic drop in pace saw him plummet from third on lap eight to 22nd by the chequered flag. Nonetheless, the youngster's strong early laps were enough to see him claim the fastest lap, and with it pole position for race two.
Completing the points' paying positions, Tommy Bridewell notched up another decent finish for Supersonic BMW in 11th, ahead of fellow S1000RR rider Dan Linfoot, while Gary Mason, Barry Burrell and Alastair Seeley rounded out the top 15, the latter seemingly struggling for form in the dry.
As well as Rutter, Noriyuki Haga's initiation to BSB racing received a set-back as he retired early on with mechanical problems, while Chris Walker was another not to finish having qualified in fifth.
Looking ahead to the second race, Lowes starts from his pole position aboard the WFR Honda, with Lowry, Rutter and Hill joining him on the front row, while Laverty, Byrne, Kirkham and Scassa make up row two.