It had rained in the morning, and in fact grip was very low in warm up on Monday morning for the second round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.
There were several crashers in that warm up session, including Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducait) who high sided on the exit of Hizzie’s Chicane, and Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad) who locked the front on the entry of the same chicane. Redding got away fairly unscathed, but both Francis and his #40 S1000RR had come off fairly worse-for-wear from the crash. It was a big rebuild for Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad, and so perhaps the oil leak Francis suffered on the warm up lap for race one was an understandable consequence of the rebuild.
That oil leak postponed the start of the race slightly. Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) informed the safety car when he saw fluid spewing from Francis’ #40 machine, and when the riders got back round to the grid the start was delayed so the track could be checked and the fluid could be cleaned up.
When the race finally got underway, it was under the Cheshire sunshine, shortened to seventeen laps, and Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) made the holeshot from pole position. The Australian had been by far the fastest rider throughout the weekend, so the front was precisely where he wanted to be to be able to use his pace.
Fellow Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) fended off Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) into turn one to be able to slot in behind Brookes from the beginning.
By the end of the first lap, the two Ducatis were already starting to pack out a bit. O’Halloran was visibly pushing on to try and stay with them. But Bridewell was going with Brookes, and that was something of a surprise after the #25’s dominance of the weekend.
Despite the somewhat alarming shapes the #22 R1 of O’Halloran was making, the Australian was still being pulled along by the Ducatis out front, and away from the Tyco BMW Motorrad S1000RR of Christian Iddon behind. In turn, Iddon was extending his advantage to Scott Redding behind, who had Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing) very much for company until the end of lap five, when Buchan moved through, and Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) took Buchan’s place on the back of Redding.
Almost immediately after passing Redding, Buchan was on the back of Iddon. Buchan, Redding and Hickman were all past Iddon within three corners, and soon after it became clear the #24 BMW had an issue.
After Iddon was out of the way, Buchan set his sights firmly on O’Halloran and the final podium spot, and by lap ten the Kawasaki rider was right on the back wheel of O’Halloran, and in Knickerbrook on that same lap the #83 was through.
By now there were three distinctive pairs in the front six. With seven laps to go Tommy Bridewell was still pressuring race leader Brookes, whilst Buchan was now fending off O’Halloran and Scott Redding was defending from Peter Hickman.
It stayed this way until the end of the race, which Brookes won by two tenths, proving his potential after a round one plagued by reliability problems.
Bridewell’s second place was an impressive one. Although he was unable to launch an attack on Brookes, nobody expected anyone to be able to go with the #25 and, like Brookes, this result was one which showed his potential.
There was frustration for Buchan. He had to fight his way through the pack at the start, and that limited his chances. Once he had passed O’Halloran, Buchan was able to show pace on the same level as the front two. Nonetheless, a third place was a good way for Buchan to open his weekend.
O’Halloran was ultimately missing the pace of the front three, but he maximised his result with what he had, and scored some solid points which was important after a pointless Silverstone. Redding managed to hold on to fifth place in his first race at Oulton Park, from Peter Hickman.
Seventh over the line was Keith Farmer, ahead of Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) who took the championship lead outright with eighth place thanks to beating Josh Elliott (OMG Racing) who was tenth. Between Mackenzie and Elliott over the line was the impressive rookie Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) in ninth.
Andrew Irwin was the first CBR1000RR over the line for Honda Racing in eleventh, in front of Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing), Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Racing), Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) and David Allingham (EHA Yamaha) who took his first BSB point and the last of the race with fifteenth spot.
Whilst Joe Francis failed to make the start, Luke Mossey (OMG Racing), Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad), Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha), Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) and Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) all failed to make the finish.
Feature Image courtesy of Ducati