SETON Yamaha’s Ben Burke took his third Metzeler National Superstock 600 victory of the year and in doing so took the championship lead in a double red-flagged race at Knockhill on Sunday.
Spring Hill’s Burke struggled in the wet conditions of Friday’s practice and Saturday’s qualifying, but rallied to start the race on pole.
“I was easily quickest in Friday practice, however I did have my first crash of the season at the end of the session,” he said.
“Luckily the bike and myself weren’t too damaged and the team had the bike repaired with plenty of time for first qualifying.”
Burke set the fastest time in the first qualifying session before rain washed out the second, handing him his first pole position.
In Sunday’s race Burke took the lead early but quickly came under pressure from Scotsman Michael Robertson and James Lodge.
The trio began to break away from the chasing pack but it was reduced to a duo when Lodge high-sided out of third in spectacular style on lap two.
Moto-Breaker Yamaha’s James Rose then began to move forwards, first making his way past Matt Paulo to fourth and then past Johnny Blackshaw on the brakes into the last corner to take third on lap four.
The leading two were more than three seconds ahead of the rest before the red flag was brought out for the first time when Jay Budgen crashed, leaving some fluid on the racing line.
From the restart Burke went to the front again but it wasn’t long before Robertson dived under the inside of the Australian to take the lead.
Burke replied almost immediately, retaking the lead before the first lap was completed and he began to pull away.
Rose, now 12 points behind Burke in the championship, ran wide on lap four handing the last podium place to Smiths of Gloucester Triumph’s Blackshaw just as the red flag was brought out for a second time.
Paulo took fifth at his home circuit followed closely by Tom Fisher and Grant Whitaker.
Josh Wainwright held off the advances of Lee Jackson to take eighth and Mark Wilkinson rounded out the top 10.
Burke was wrapped with the weekend’s performance.
“The result in this session was a huge relief for me,” he said.
“This was a huge personal victory.”