Guintoli converts pole to Race One win
POLESITTER Sylvain Guintoli has taken the win in the opening British Superbike race at Brands Hatch.
But it wasn't an easy ride for the Frenchman, who made a bad start at the green light, dropping back down the order.
HM Plant Honda's Glen Richards crossed the line second, while Hawick's Stuart Easton was the first of the North boys home in third. Cumbria's James Ellison and Northumberland rookie Graeme Gowland were fifth and ninth respectively.
At the start, it was the Hydrex Honda of Easton who made the fastest getaway, with Richards and his team-mate Steve Plater close behind.
As the pack rounded Clearways to complete the first lap, Cup runners Matt Bond and Tom Tunstall both crashed out independently, forcing the safety car on track.
As the race got underway again at the start of Lap Seven, Richards was soon on the move, passing Easton into the lead two laps later. By Lap 11, Plater was past Easton, and pressuring Richards, eventually making the pass on Lap 13.
But it was to be a shortlived lead, as the racing veteran crashed out from the lead three laps later, promoting Guintoli - who had quietly found his way back up to second - to take the lead.
And it was to be a lead which would go unchallenged, as Richards settled into second and Easton third, where they would all remain to the chequered flag.
"We just have to work on getting the starts right now!" laughed the Worx Crescent Suzuki pilot after the race. "It was really bad, although I guess it also made the race good because we had to fight back and overtake.
"I did enjoy the race. It is the first I have won in a long time, and I hope we can go on and do it again in the second, later this afternoon."
"Ratboy" Stuart Easton had a fairly uneventful race once he had dropped from the lead, while Ellison slowly worked his way back from ninth to cross the line fifth.
Gowland meanwhile recovered from a terrible start to finish ninth.
Having started the race from eighth on the grid, a slow getaway saw him drop to a lowly 15th by the end of the first lap.
But the 23-year-old put his head down and reeled in a number of bikes to cross the line tenth.
Just moments after the chequered flag he was promoted to ninth after it was ruled that John Laverty, who had finished seventh, had made an overtaking manoevre under the yellow flag during the safety car period, and was handed a 10 second penalty.
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Worx Crescent Suzuki)
2. Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) +0.952s
3. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +3.086s
4. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) +7.007s
5. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +7.814s
6. Gary Mason (Quay Garage Honda) +8.505s
7. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +9.359s
8. Jason O'Halloran (SMT Honda) +9.639s
9. Graeme Gowland (Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha) +10.549s
10. Tristan Palmer (Buildbase Kawasaki) +16.181s