It was a dramatic weekend of action in the Cheshire countryside as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visited Oulton Park. Here’s how the action unfolded over the course of a pulsating weekend.
Polesitter Jason O’Halloran became the eighth different rider to claim a BSB victory in 2020 with his victory in Saturday’s race one. The Australian McAms Yamaha man took the victory at the end of a pulsating contest that saw the lead change hands on a number of occasions. Championship leader Glenn Irwin and VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon both led the pack on separate occasions during the race but O’Halloran (who had also earlier led) fought back and claimed the victory after successfully making his move by breaking down Iddon’s stern defence on the final lap and crossing the finish line just 0.358s ahead of the Mancunian rider. FS-3 Racing’s Danny Buchan rounded out the podium with his first top three finish of the season.
Andrew Irwin finished fourth ahead of brother Glenn with Lee Jackson on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki ending in sixth. Synetiq BMW’s Brad Ray came seventh ahead of Iddon’s team-mate Josh Brookes and Tarran Mackenzie (McAms Yamaha) and Gino Rea on the Buildbase Suzuki rounding out the top 10. Rea’s Suzuki team-mate Kyle Ryde, a double winner during the previous round at Silverstone, crashed out of the race on the first lap.
It was more of the same for O’Halloran in Sunday’s first race as he claimed his second win of the season with a near-perfect display aboard the R1 to lead the race from the opening lap, holding off the challenges of Christian Iddon and Danny Buchan.
Thirty-five year old O’Halloran’s victory eventually held more gravitas than anyone would have expected prior to the race when Glenn Irwin was forced to withdraw from the race following technical problems with his Honda FireBlade. The win for O’Halloran combined with Irwin’s DNF catapulted the Australian Yamaha rider well and truly into the title race, slashing Irwin’s lead to just five points.
A determined ride from Josh Brookes saw him finish fourth after being as low as seventh at one point while a fine move from Lincolnshire rider Lee Jackson on Andrew Irwin saw him nab fifth place. Tarran Mackenzie finished in sixth ahead of Irwin. Luke Mossey, aboard the Rich Energy OMG Kawasaki finished in ninth place as the filling in a BMW sandwich with Brad Ray in eighth and TT winner Peter Hickman on the Global Robots Smith’s BMW closing out the top 10.
The result of race three made it Australia Day in Cheshire as VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes reminded the championship leaders that he was still well and truly in the hunt for the prize by taking the victory. 2015 BSB champion Brookes was made to work hard for his second win of the season as his team-mate Christian Iddon provided a spirited challenge. Iddon had a number of chances to make a move on his PBM partner but Brookes’ experience came to the fore as he continually held Iddon at bay.
Lee Jackson capped off a fine weekend for FS-3 Racing as he pinched a spot on the podium at the expense of Jason O’Halloran after making his move at Lodge and cross the line 0.096s ahead of the Yamaha rider. Jackson’s team-mate Danny Buchan ended the race in fifth position ahead of Glenn Irwin, the Honda man’s sixth place result means he ends the weekend still on top of the standings but only by a tight margin of two points from man of the weekend O’Halloran. Peter Hickman enjoyed his best finish of the season in eighth place behind Brad Ray. Tarran Mackenzie and Luke Mossey rounded out the top 10.
As previously mentioned, the events of the thrilling weekend at Oulton leaves Glenn Irwin just two points clear of Jason O’Halloran at the top of the standings with Josh Brookes in third, himself just ten points behind Honda Racing’s irwin. Christian Iddon can still harbour designs on the title just two points behind VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Brookes on 166. There’s then a gap of 32 points between Iddon and nearest challenger, Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell.
It may be an over-used clichè in sports but it really is all to play for now as there are just six races remaining of the 2020 BSB season with the attention shifting to the Grand Prix layout of Donington Park over the weekend of 2-4 October.
Featured Image courtesy of Impact Images/McAMS Yamaha.