It was, unmistakedly, a close finish in the second race of the day in the Bennetts British Superbike championship at Oulton Park: after a brief delay which seemed like an age for the expectant audience at the track, the timing monitors showed that Ryuichi Kiyonai had taken the win from Gregorio Lavilla to put the Japanese HM Plant Honda rider top on the points standings.
The result was that close that it could scarcely be discerned out on track, and indeed Lavilla was initially celebrating a win, but regardless of whether it was Lavilla's Airwaves Ducati or Kiyonari that won, it was a fantastic race-long battle for the lead, watched on for most of the eighteen lap distance by the resurgent Rizla Suzuki of John Reynolds taking his first double podium of the year.
The leading trio had truly dropped those following and there was a drop of another kind for Michael Rutter who saw his race, and title aspirations cruelly curtailed on the fourth lap. Rutter sat by and watched the battle ensue, though to say he enjoyed the action was probably not the case with the pangs not only coming from his shoulder as he watched the action.
Whilst Rutter's title aspirations were dealt the harsh blow, the Superbike Cup title was decided in race two at Oulton, with James Buckingham taking his eleventh win of the year and the title.
With Michael Rutter now significantly down in the points stakes, the title race may now be down, realistically, to just two, but it's really shaping up to an epic.
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari
2. Gregorio Lavilla
3. John Reynolds
4. Leon Haslam
5. Karl Harris
6. Tommy Hill
7. Dean Thomas
8. Glen Richards
9. Gary Mason
10. Steve Plater