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The clear man to beat during free practice and qualifying, Alex Lowes duly converted his pole position into a faultless lights-to-flag victory in race one at Cadwell Park as the main title rivals all picked up precious podium credits.
Six tenths faster than anyone else during qualifying, Lowes was always expected to be the man to beat once the race got underway and while it was fellow front row sitter Shane Byrne that got the hole shot into turn one, Lowes was swiftly back in front by the second bend.
From here the Samsung Honda rider would control the pace, leading a train of five riders initially in the order of Byrne, James Ellison, Josh Brookes – up from seventh on the grid – and Tommy Bridewell, before making his break for the win in the closing laps.
Crossing the line just over a second up from Byrne, victory signals Lowes's third win of the year – and his first around his home circuit -, a success that secures him some potentially crucial podium credits ahead of the Title Showdown.
A fairly uneventful race as the leading protagonists chased critical points, the only significant moment of drama came on lap 14 when Ellison – having just been overtaken by Brookes – lost the front of the Milwaukee Yamaha coming onto the Mountain and slid off the circuit.
His retirement would free up Brookes to finish in third place, while Bridewell secured yet another strong finish for Halsall Kawasaki in only his second event with the team as he continues to mount a late charge for a Title Showdown spot.
As it stands, Bridewell remains only 11th with three races to go, but with Jon Kirkham and James Westmoreland - currently sixth and seventh – managing just 13th and tenth place finishes respectively, a shrinking margin of 39 points covers six riders now.
Behind Bridewell on the road, PJ Jacobsen also did his chances of getting into the Showdown some good with an equal career best finish of fifth position, ahead of Chris Walker, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Peter Hickman.
Keith Farmer, who lost time with a wide moment on the opening lap, and Westmoreland completed the top ten, with Dan Linfoot, Josh Waters, Kirkham, Barry Burrell and Jakub Smrz picking up the remaining points.