Following the dramatic season opener at Silverstone two weeks ago, British Superbikes is back this bank holiday weekend at Oulton Park for round two of the 2019 series.
As is usual with the May Day bank holiday round at the Cheshire track, on-track action begins on Saturday with the races taking place on bank holiday Monday.
An official test at Oulton Park has punctuated the gap between rounds one and two, and it was the luckless Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) who dominated last Thursday’s running. Brookes has had some good success at Oulton Park in the past, and will be hoping that the positive signs from the test last week will continue into the weekend and to race day as the Australian looks to make up ground on the championship leaders following on from his non-scoring round in Silverstone, where mechanical problems ended his chances in both races.
Brookes’ teammate Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) expressed his adoration for Oulton Park after the test on social media. He was not especially high on the time sheets, but made some strong progress from the first session to the second. Intermittent rain meant that almost all of the afternoon running was somewhat unrepresentative, and most riders – including Redding – did not even bother to venture out in the final session of the day. Having had a week to digest his first experience of a more typical British track, Redding will need to a strong Friday if he is to fight at the front and add to the single podium credit he picked up in the first race at Silverstone.
Silverstone was full of surprises but perhaps none bigger than Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) who – retrospectively – took his first career British Superbike win in the first race of the season, and followed that up with a second place in race two. Despite this, there is still little pressure on Elliott, since he is still so inexperienced in the Superbike class, and is in a team which is still in only its second season of BSB. Nonetheless, Elliott will be aiming for more of the same this weekend, as he looks to firm up his position in the championship – it might not be the expectation, but the Showdown is where they all want to be.
Crossing the line ahead of Elliott in both races two weeks ago was Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha), although a penalty applied after the race took the race one victory from him. Race two, though, saw no such controversy as the first outing, and Mackenzie picked up his first BSB win in just the second race of his second season in Britain’s premier class of motorcycle racing. Oulton Park was a difficult circuit for Mackenzie last year, but he was quite fast in the test, and will be aiming once more for the top three to build his tally of podium credits.
Silverstone was a positive weekend for the McAMS Yamaha team as a whole, not just for the #95 side of the garage. A collision between Mackenzie and his teammate, Jason O’Halloran, cost the team a 1-2 in the first race, and in fact cost them the win, and a mechanical problem early on in the second race for the Australian meant the #22 went away from the first weekend of the season in the same position as Brookes: pointless. However, O’Halloran was the fastest rider all weekend and, after a decent showing in the test, will be keen to turn that pace into results this weekend.