An inspired tyre choice helped Dan Cooper claim a maiden Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship victory at Oulton Park after damp conditions wreaked havoc for his rivals.

The Centurion Honda rider rose from 21st on the grid, capitalising on a chaotic race that saw just 17 of the original 36 riders classified at the finish.

Declared a dry race, the original start was red flagged after only two laps following a spate of falls caused by drizzle. Amongst those to tumble was Hudson Kennaugh, the pole sitter crashing having moved into the lead at the end of the first lap.

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However, while the safety car was called out, worsening conditions would see Billy McConnell crash out from fourth at low speed and the red flag would be brandished due to the rain.

With the rain easing at the restart, the grid was awash with a variety of different tyre strategies, with most favouring slick rubber, but some gambling on intermediate and wet tyres.

For new pole sitter Paul Young, inherited after the new grid was classified by the order they were in under the safety car, his race would last just a few metres after he tipped into Old Hall and collided with Dan Linfoot, the Triumph rider subsequently falling out.

Ben Wilson led into the first corner, but having taken a punt on a combination of intermediate and wet rubber, he quickly tumbled down the order, allowing Steve Plater and Dan Linfoot to dispute the lead of the race.

Eventually, Linfoot prevailed with a move on Plater on lap three at Lodge, but would carry on as far as lap five when he high-sided dramatically at Old Hall, the Rob Mac Racing rider lucky to avoid injury after impacting with the barrier and his bike.

With drizzle returning, a flurry of accidents would mar the next few laps, allowing the riders on intermediate tyres to gradually rise to the front.

These included Lee Johnston, Dennis Hobbs and Cooper, who disputed the lead as a threesome until Johnston tumbled out of contention on lap seven. Cooper was charging, though, passing Hobbs soon afterwards and promptly sprinting away from the chasing pack to win by a mammoth 16 seconds.

Hobbs followed in second position, while Wilson fought back from being as low as 20th at one stage to claim a well earned podium for the Gearlink Kawasaki team.

Dean Hipwell put in a marvellous performance to finish fourth as the leading Supersport Cup competitor, ahead of Craig Fitzpatrick, Tom Grant on the second Centurion machine, Marty Nutt, Kev Coughlan, Westmoreland and McConnell, the Australian making the restart but struggling to tenth.