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Bayliss pips Hodgson in Race One.

The battle for second to fifth positions raged on for much of the race with both Walker and Hodgson sending the crowd wild, matching one another in the spectacular moves stakes. Walker's move down the inside of Haga at Paddock on lap eight for second place garnering the biggest cheer.

Not wishing to be outdone, Hodgson tried a very late move on Chili on the run up to Druids a lap later, the orange Ducati running out of road forcing Neil to pick the bike up and run wide. Back on track, Neil cut in-front of Slight going in to Graham Hill bend and proceeded to hunt down the top four who were now disappearing into the distance.

Tenth by tenth, Hodgson reeled his opponents in one by one, dispatching Chili at Surtees on lap eleven and cutting inside Haga down the inside of paddock a lap later. With Bayliss easing away in the lead, all eyes fell on the fight for second involving the British Superbike stars for the second step on the podium.

The very physical tussles between Walker and Hodgson which have been the talking point of the BSB series this year once again spilled over onto the world stage as Walker's Suzuki strove to keep Hodgson's Ducati at bay. The deciding moment came at Surtees on lap 15 when Hodgson dived to the inside at the last moment and forced Walker to yeald.

With ten laps remaining Bayliss held down a 2.5 second lead over Hodgson who gradually pulled away from Walker as he chipped away at the leader.

The rest of the field were no longer a factor with Haga and Chili still squabbling over fourth albeit six seconds adrift of the leader and everyone else still further strung out behind.

By lap 23 Hodgson had caught Bayliss and was testing the Australian all the way around the 2.46 mile track. Bayliss had an advantage along the start/finish straight and along Pilgrims Drop whereas Hodgson closed from Druids Hairpin all the way round to Surtees. Around the rest of the lap the two bikes were evenly matched with Neil realising that he would only have one shot at the lead against the Australian rider.

The move for the lead came a lap too early as on lap 24 Neil swept into first at Surtees, holding the move brilliantly as the two bikes powered into Pilgrims Drop. However Bayliss used the superior speed of the Infostrada machine to drag past the British rider on the start/finish line. Onto the final lap and Hodgson stayed glued to the rear of the red Ducati but was unable to make a move. Troy defended his line well and took the flag for a popular win in-front of a crowd whom adopted him as an honorary Brit last year during his successful BSB campaign.

Hodgson was pleased with second as were the 120,000 fans who packed themselves around the Kent circuit especially as fellow wildcards Walker and John Reynolds completed the top four. Walker battled on until the end but his tyres were feeling the effect of his early exuberance while Reynolds saved the best of his rubber for a late charge which saw him pass Slight, Corser, Edwards, Chili and Haga in the last six laps.

The Yamaha rider eventually finished fifth as his back-up bike did not last as well as he had hoped it would and was easy prey for Reynolds on the final lap. However after a nasty crash in Superpole and an even more dangerous incident at the first turn, Haga can count himself lucky that he was able to finish the race in one piece.



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