30 September 2012
Spectacular Silverstone double for Lowes
Even so, when Lowes touched the back wheel of Byrne's bike at Stowe on the penultimate lap, thus losing him momentum and dropping him into the clutches of Brookes, it seemed Byrne had the break he needed to run out the winner.
Undeterred, Lowes kept pushing, getting back onto the tail of Byrne as they entered the final corners, the race leader adopting a defensive line that simply spurred Lowes into a determined last turn overtaking attempt.
Taking advantage of the smallest of gaps, Lowes dived for the inside of Byrne, but while they would make slight contact as Byrne attempted to close the door, Lowes held firm to emerge ahead, a margin he would take to the chequered flag just metres later.
An outstanding breakthrough weekend for Lowes, who managed a perfect set of topping each practice session, claiming pole position and two race wins, he heads into the final round triple header at Brands Hatch with a convincing shot at winning the title.
However, he will face a task to overhaul the 24 point margin to Byrne, who can console himself in the knowledge that he is the big favourite to claim the 2012 title around the circuit he was a double winner at earlier this season.
The two-time champion heads into the final round with a nine point advantage over Brookes, who was at least able to keep Byrne honest by crossing the line just behind him in third place during race two.
Bridewell completed a successful day in fourth after passing Laverty late on, but there were fewer smiles to be enjoyed in the Swan Yamaha camp as Tommy Hill laboured to a seventh place finish behind Luca Scassa.
The Swan Yamaha rider, who endured a dismal weekend at Assen to lose his pre-Showdown advantage, could only manage seventh in race one when he opted for the wrong tyre, but fared no better in race two as he finished ten seconds off the lead. The reigning champion is now 42 points behind Byrne and on the cusp of losing his crown.
Behind him, Chris Walker, James Westmoreland and Peter Hickman completed the top ten – the trio benefitting when the unfortunate Robbin Harms retired ahead of them -, while Barry Burrell, Jakub Smrz, Ian Lowry, Jon Kirkham and Noriyuki Haga picked up the remaining points in 11th to 15th.
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