British Superbikes: Snetterton round-up and support series action
Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty took MCE British Superbikes victories on a scorching day at Snetterton, while Norwich rider Matt Layt was the pick of the locals in the various support series with a hard-earned podium.
Defending champion Tommy Hill became the first rider with two BSB victories this season after a relatively comfortable race one win.
Hill took the lead after a three-way tussle with pole-sitter Josh Brookes and Hill's former Swan Yamaha team-mate Michael Laverty, and never looked back to help extended his BSB championship lead.
Brookes, whose Tyco Suzuki took Saturday's pole by 0.001 seconds from Laverty, had to settle for third after Laverty finally turned impressive Snetterton pace into a podium for Samsung Honda.
But Rapid Kawasaki duo Stuart Easton and Shane Byrne saw electrical failure scupper their efforts.
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While Hill's lead at the top of the standings extended, the bunch for the top six had closed considerably heading into race two.
Laverty's fastest lap in race one handed him pole for the second, and in truth the Samsung man never looked likely to concede the lead – especially after technical problems ended Hill's race early.
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It meant Laverty became the seventh different race winner of the season, leading home Byrne in second – who was kept honest for some considerable time as Brookes chased him hard.
Third was enough for Australian Brookes to retake the championship lead heading into the next round at Knockhill, at the end of June.
• Of the home riders, Stalham man Matt Layt brushed off his 24-placed finish on Saturday to take his Formwise Triumph to three Motorpoint Supersport Championship points – and a podium in the privateers' Supersport Cup.
In the race of the day, Layt avoided a four-bike smash corner and despite being sent to the back of the field, kept his composure as others in front felt the heat.
A lap six collision between Ben Wilson and Luke Jones brought in the safety car, allowing Layt to close before Jody Lees' excursion sent the Norfolk rider to a superb class podium.
The action at the front of the field was brilliant too, as Jack Kennedy won a five-way battle for the lead on the line.
• Sprowston's Jake Newstead could not use home advantage to get his 2012 campaign going as he finished well down the Metzeler National Superstock 600 field.
The Team Tinklers Yamaha rider took a sublime podium at Snetterton last year, but this time came out of a crowded getaway a couple of places down on his starting berth of 12th.
And while a couple of riders ahead lost their way – including a terminal error from leader Jake Dixon – Newstead's gearbox issues saw him slip down the pack and he eventually came home 19th.
While Newstead's day was tinged with disappointment, the action at the front was superb as the chopping and changing throughout eventually saw Ben Burke hold off the last-lap challenge of James Rose to take the flag – and take the championship lead in the process.fe
• Newstead's team-mate David Gowen turned a back-row start into a reasonable 27th Superstock 1000 finish, having been hampered by technical issues all weekend.
His Norwich counterpart Tom Gazzard rode his Honda from a place behind Gowen to 32nd at the line as others ahead fell off the track.
Jason O'Halloran headed the field to fly to the top of the championship standings after morning leader Jimmy Storrar saw an early excursion end his race.
• Norwich's Byron Beckett left with a pair of fifths after Ducati 848 Challenge rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
The SAS Racing rider also qualified fifth and was just off the leading group in two eventful races.
His Norwich counterpart Jack Keen also suffered deja vu – both his efforts ended in first-lap spills.
• Saturday saw Norwich Buildbase BMW riders Ben Bygrave and Paul Knapton produce their best result of the Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championships, turning seventh from the grid into sixth – and they went even better in Sunday's climax, with an excellent fourth.