Irwin and Hickman share the spoils as Ray takes the Championship.

Bradley Ray – Bennetts British Superbike Champion for 2022 – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Bradley Ray continued his run of consistency on Saturday at Brands Hatch, needing only 9 points to crown him the 2022 British Superbike Champion. Title rivals Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell knew nothing but race wins would be enough to see their championship fight continue into Sunday’s Race 2 and 3.

Glenn Irwin was up for the job on the day, with a dominant victory in Race 1. Followed closely throughout the race by FHO Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman and Synetiq BMW’s Andrew Irwin, neither BMW were able to put any manners on the Honda Racing U.K. Fireblade as Irwin managed the gap and pace, living up to his ambition of having one last race victory, in 2022 with the Honda.

Tommy Bridewell followed along in a hard-fought 4th place but, unfortunately Irwin and Bridewell were also relying on some bad luck on the part of Brad Ray to aid in their title challenge.

The Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha rider came home in a steady 5th position meaning Ray had done everything he needed to do to be crowned the new champion. Saturday’s task for Brad Ray had been achieved. The emotion could be seen flowing through pit lane as Ray’s family, friends and team filed out to heap praise on the young rider.

Unfortunately for Ray, it seemed the curse of the number 1 plate kicked in after a lap 2 crash in Sunday’s Race 2 saw his Yamaha arriving through the gravel on Paddock Hill bend due to a cold tyre crash. Thankfully with Saturday being the important day, all pressure was off. Ray went on to take a 6th place finish for Race 3. In a statement to the media after racing, Ray said: “Pre-season was good and I knew that this would be my best chance to fight for the championship with Yamaha, with Rich Energy OMG. We just got our head down the whole season, took everything in our stride, maximised everything race by race and that allowed us to come to Brands Hatch and have a difficult round like we have.”

“Obviously it would have been nicer to be fighting for victory and fighting for podiums [this weekend] but we’ve done enough work throughout the season to prove that we’re worthy champions. Just a big shout out to the team, family, friends and everyone who came out to Brands to support me this weekend.”

A good result coming at the perfect time also for Danny Kent, Charlie Nesbitt, Josh Owens and Jack Kennedy for their own reasons. Danny Kent, as its contract time and he would like to maximise his potential ride for the 2023 season, likewise for Josh Owens. Jack Kennedy has shown good form to get his first points on the board before competing full time next year aboard the Mar-Train Yamaha R1 after he and his team decided to step up a class for next year. Charlie Nesbitt for again showing he could be about to hit the ground running after rumors circulated the Buildbase team have already signed him for the 2023 season.

Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki Josh Owens – Image Courtesy Rapid Training

Race 1 Results

1 Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing UK
2 Peter Hickman – FHO Racing BMW
3 Andrew Irwin – Synetic BMW Motorrad
4 Tommy Bridewell – Oxford Products Ducati
5 Bradley Ray – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha
6 Jason O’Halloran – McAMS Yamaha
7 Danny Buchan – Synetic BMW Motorrad
8 Danny Kent – Buildbase Suzuki
9 Kyle Ryde – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha
10 Tom Sykes – MCE Ducati
11 Charlie Nesbitt – Buildbase Suzuki
12 Josh Owens – Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki
13 Takumi Takahashi – Honda Racing UK
14 Jack Kennedy – Mar-Train Racing Yamaha
15 Davey Todd – Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda

Race 2

Again a fight between BMW and Honda. The M1000RR v the CBR1000RR in the form of Peter Hickman and Danny Buchan vs Glenn Irwin. In another classic Brands Hatch style race, Buchan and Irwin followed Hickman around the circuit but just didn’t have the edge to make a move and snatch victory away from him. Peter Hickman became the 10th different winner this season.

FHO Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman becoming the 19th winner of the 2022 season. Image courtesy of Official BSB

Brad Ray wasn’t the only Yamaha to suffer in race 2 as an incident between Andy Irwin and Jason O’Halloran saw once again the Yamaha rider being taken out of the race in the closing stages. Andy Irwin went for an overtake under braking into the Surtees corner, making contact with O’Halloran’s handlebar sending the McAMS rider spilling onto the sidelines. O’Halloran struggled to be positive in his interview with Eurosport after the race noting 3 incidents in 3 races had basically ruined his season and all the hard work of the McAMS team. Seems the popular Australian cannot catch a break at the moment and no doubt feels like he has been robbed of a chance to compete for the British title this year. It’s no great shakes to say that had Tarran Mackenzie stayed on his bike and injury free and had Jason O’Halloran not been taken out on the same corner, in two races by two different riders, I don’t think this Showdown would have gone Ray’s way as easy. (There’s no doubt in my mind that the McAMS Yamaha team would have pushed the Ray to the last round. This is racing. If this, If that… If my aunty had balls, she’d have been my uncle etc. Such is life. We all move on.)

Andy Irwin was disqualified from Race 2’s results and given a 3-place penalty for Race 3 but this didn’t stop the determined Northern Irishman’s fight for a final podium in 2022.

McAMS Yamaha Jason O’Halloran – Image Courtesy McAMS Yamaha

Race 2 Results

1 Peter Hickman – FHO Racing BMW
2 Danny Buchan – Synetic BMW Motorrad
3 Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing UK
4 Kyle Ryde – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha
5 Tommy Bridewell – Oxford Products Ducati
6 Danny Kent – Buildbase Suzuki
7 Christian Iddon – Buildbase Suzuki
8 Charlie Nesbitt – Buildbase Suzuki
9 Josh Brookes – MCE Ducati
10 Tom Sykes – MCE Ducati
11 Josh Owens – Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki
12 Dean Harrison – DAO Racing Kawasaki
13 Takumi Takahashi – Honda Racing UK
14 Storm Stacey – Team LKW Euro Car Parts Kawasaki
15 Davey Todd – Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda

Race 3

This was a race long battle again between Glenn Irwin, Andy Irwin and Danny Buchan for the podium, followed by Tommy Bridewell, Peter Hickman and Brad Ray. It looked like Buchan was on for another race win for the season until a couple of laps to go, when a moment into Surtees allowed both the Irwin brothers to pass, leaving Buchan clinging on to the rear of the group. Glenn then put the hammer down and lead the final laps to take the final race win of the season.

The rumors surrounding both the Irwin brothers during the Brands weekend would have them both riding for different manufacturers in 2023. A lot of people have Glenn on an MCE Ducati next year with Andy taking over his brothers mount in the Honda Racing fold. No doubt all the silly season details will all come out over the next few weeks as we find out what is happening with newly crowned Champion, Bradley Ray and recently de-throned 2021 Champion, Tarran Mackenzie.

Race 3 Result.

1 Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing UK
2 Andy Irwin – Synetic BMW Motorrad
3 Danny Buchan – Synetic BMW Motorrad
4 Tommy Bridewell – Oxford Products Ducati
5 Peter Hickman – FHO Racing BMW
6 Bradley Ray – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha
7 Josh Brookes – MCE Ducati
8 Danny Kent – Buildbase Suzuki
9 Christian Iddon – Buildbase Suzuki
10 Kyle Ryde – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha
11 Tom Sykes – MCE Ducati
12 Charlie Nesbitt – Buildbase Suzuki
13 Ryan Vickers – FHO Racing BMW
14 Josh Owens – Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki
15 Takumi Takahashi – Honda Racing UK


Bridewell hoping to enjoy the end of a good, successful season.

Oxford Products Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell was upbeat about his season in a behind the scenes interview with Eurosport’s Steve Day, who caught up with Tommy after the free practice sessions.

Oxford Products Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

The man sitting in third place in the Showdown standings is fully aware of the job on hand this weekend but more than anything, Bridewell is hoping for an enjoyable finish to what has been a good, successful season for himself and Steve Moore’s team.

“A good day today. It’s fairly easy really. We know what we have to do. We just have to go out and win the races, but I think ultimately, I just want to enjoy the last round of the season to be honest. There’s been so much going on outside of racing, with losing riders and that just puts it all into perspective really. In truth we are all good mates off track, but all enemies on track. I just want to have fun and enjoy racing the bike. It’s been a pleasure working with the team and having another good, successful year together. What will be will be and I’m not going to overcomplicate it. It’s fairly obvious Brad certainly has a hand (or even a hand and half) on the trophy, but when there’s that glimmer of hope, as a racer, it’s what motivates you, it’s what drives us. If I wasn’t mathematically able to win the championship, I’d still try as hard but there’s that extra little bit of fire in your belly to really say “It isn’t over till it’s over” so we are out tomorrow to have a good, safe race and see where we end up at the end of it.”

When asked about his highlights and lowlights of 2022, amongst others being the only rider to make it into Qualifying 2 every round of the season…

“Yes, I have 100% success rate for going straight into Q2. Before they brought in the new format where the top 12 are straight through to Q2, I was terrible on a Friday. It didn’t mean that much barring a bit of testing and analyzing the bike. As soon as they brought that in, it was like you HAD to be top 12, so ever since they brought that in, I’ve been inside the top 12 so it’s great to keep that one going.”

“This season all in all has been tough. We’ve had hard times on trying to understand the dynamics of the bike. The weight distribution has been a bit tricky but this last part of the year, we have really chipped away at it and got a lot better at it. I know it’s a bit late in the game, but Donington was a really good turning point for us where I got a really good inroad with it and it felt a lot better and we can translate it here to Brands Hatch.”

Bridewell sits 67 points behind Ray in the championship. He effectively needs to win all three races this weekend and Ray to DNF the entire round to take the championship. A very unlikely situation but as Oulton Park proved, antying can happen in bike racing.


Glenn Irwin aiming for race wins and second place in the championship, to top off his year of achievements.

The popular British Superbike and Road Racing Superstar was interviewed by Eurosport’s Steve Day, on Friday after the free practice sessions. Asked if Glenn was satisfied with how things have come on this year, the Honda Racing UK rider responded in the typical, eloquent Glenn Irwin fashion to which he has become known for.

Honda Racing Uk – Glenn Irwin – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Yeah, in particular the last few rounds have been really enjoyable. It’s always enjoyable when you take a step with the bike. Probably from here back to Thruxton about 5 rounds ago, I made a step in myself with some old injuries I’ve never been able to get fixed. I’ve managed to get on top of them and since then, it’s been really enjoyable.”

“A massive task to overhaul Brad this weekend and a real strange one too. There’s been a lot going on with Chrissy Rouse and Victor Steeman, so as much as we need Brad to have a ton of bad luck you also don’t want to wish that he slips off and puts himself out of the weekend. We have seen it happen with Kiyo and I’m aware it can happen, but if something like that did happen, you have to grab the bull by the horns. I think the realistic thing is to fight with Tommy [Bridewell], Lee [Jackson] and Jason [O’Halloran] for second place.”

“It’s been a year of overachievement is how I would assess it so far to put the Honda right in amongst everyone. Two wins at the NorthWest 200, fastest newcomer at the Isle of Man TT and if we can wrap up second in the British Championship, then it’s been a real step forward.”

When asked about his current fitness and how he’s feeling after a year-long struggle with injuries resulting from a mega crash in pre-season testing…

“I feel better than ever but I also feel I can be a lot more. It was a very tough start to the year but my attitude is, [after a pause] well I just have determination. That’s my quality over everyone else. I think I am an ok bike rider that puts my heart and soul into everything to do with it and now I’m in a good place physically, I’m enjoying the Honda so let’s at least try and leave with a race win this weekend, that’s the target. Let’s go for that and see what happens.”

Glenn is currently 66 points behind Brad Ray going into the weekend and, in the same case of Tommy Bridewell, can only consider race wins to keep his title hopes alive.

Ray on the highs and lows of racing, pride in his achievements and a childhood dream.

Bradley Ray is on the verge of achieving the dream. From Red Bull Rookies to British Superbikes, the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha rider is aware that it isn’t a done deal but has everything he needs within himself and around him, to become the 2022 British Superbike Champion.

Bradley Ray – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Speaking to Eurosport’s Steve Day after Friday’s Free Practice sessions, Ray seems very calm, relaxed and aware of what he needs to do. More so than anything though, the Yamaha rider seems to know it is easily within his grasp. While anything can happen in racing, Ray is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and is in prime place to wrap up the title in Saturday’s Sprint Race with a 7th place finish, or better.

When asked if his strategy is to ignore the championship for now…

“Yes I am to be honest. It’s always nice coming back to Brands Hatch for the finale. It’s always a nice atmosphere coming back here. It’s been a long couple of weeks from Donington. I’ve been trying to block out as much as possible and just carry on with the same routine as I normally would be. I’m honestly feeling good, feeling quite relaxed. This morning was really good. I felt relaxed. I felt really good on both the soft and the hard tyre, as we’ve done a bit of work on both, in case we need to run both tyres this weekend but honestly, I felt really good straight away. We’ve changed lots on the bike from when we were here last time at Brands, so I’ve been really looking forward to coming back. Three fourth places here last time so let’s try and do a good job in tomorrow’s race. If we can seal the championship up tomorrow, it makes Sunday a much more relaxing for me.”

On how much it would mean to himself to become the British Superbike Champion for 2022…

“It’s a dream from being a little kid. I remember coming to watch the British Superbikes as a young kid. It’s always been something to aim for. I’ve been through loads of different classes in the British championship, but also the Spanish championship and Red Bull Rookies so for me to actually lift the trophy at the end of this season after all the highs and lows, the doubts that you have as a racer, it would be nice to cement that, lift the trophy and be proud of what myself and my family have achieved over the years.”

Ray needs 9 points (7th place) to become the champion for 2022. Next up, qualifying on Saturday morning to sort out the grid positions for Race 1 and hopefully, for Ray, put him in a position to keep out of trouble on the first lap and allow him to concentrate on the task at hand.


FHO BMW signs Josh Brookes alongside Peter Hickman for their 2023 British Superbike Campaign

Faye Ho, Peter Hickman and Josh Brookes – Image Courtesy of FHO BMW

FHO BMW have announced the signing of Josh Brookes, and the re-signing of Peter Hickman for the 2023 British Superbike campaign.

The two-time British champion will swap his Ducati Panigale V4 for a BMW M1000 next year after a poor season aboard the Ducati which has seen him fail to qualify for the Showdown.

A successful 2019 season saw him finish runner up to Scott Redding on board the Ducati Panigale V4. 2020 saw Josh add another British Superbike title to the PBM Ducati team when he won the series himself for the second time, the first having been aboard the Milwaukee Yamaha R1 in 2015. Unfortunately, a troubled 2021 saw Brookes’ form dip somewhat which led to a 6th place finish overall.

Brookes remained with the team for 2022 but unfortunately for one reason or another, this year has been another unsuccessful one for Brookes after failing to qualify for the Showdown all together along with team-mate, Tom Sykes.

This Racing Armchair firmly believes a change of team, atmosphere and personnel will be the shakeup Brookes needs to return to winning ways and I cannot wait to see what Faye Ho, the FHO Team and the BMW M1000 has in store for Josh Brookes next year.

Brookes lines up alongside one of BSB’s longest serving superstars, and Road Racing extraordinaire, Peter Hickman. “Hicky” will move into his third year with the FHO BMW team in the hopes of third time being a charm. Unfortunately for Hickman, 2022 has been a similar year to Brookes being that he also failed to make it through to the Showdown.

Peter Hickman – “I’m delighted to be able to say I’m staying with FHO Racing for a third season. This year has been a bit tough at times but we have found form towards the end of the year and hopefully we can carry that into next year.

“It’s always vital for me that I’m with a team I know well and can trust and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than back here with the FHO family. I believe there is a lot more we can achieve together and the BSB title is definitely something I still have my eye on.

“Naturally, I’m very grateful to Faye for her continued support and I’m confident that next year we can build on our success so far and grow the team’s silverware collection as we go.”

Faye Ho and Josh Brookes – Image Courtesy of FHO Racing

Josh Brookes –

“I’m really excited about joining the FHO Racing team for 2023. It’s probably one of the worst-kept secrets in the paddock but now it’s out there, I can finally start looking ahead to next season with genuine excitement.

“Each year in BSB my target has been to race for wins and improve and I know the FHO Racing team offers me the best opportunity to do that. Faye and Peter have already demonstrated the potential of the team and I feel that’s only going to grow further next season.

“I would like to thank Faye for giving me this opportunity. I can head into the off-season knowing that I’m set for a really positive 2023. The ingredients are all there to go fast and win races and this is what motivates me to keep racing.”

Team Principal, Faye Ho –

“It is very exciting for me to be able to reveal our two Bennetts British Superbike riders for next year. Of course, we are thrilled to be welcoming back Peter for a third season, but we are also very excited that Josh will be joining us.

“With two titles under his belt, Josh is one of the best riders in the championship and I am very happy that he will become part of the FHO family in 2023.

“I believe we have signed two of the strongest, most capable and most successful riders on the grid for next year’s BSB campaign and signing two big names like this is just the next step in the FHO story.

“There have been all sorts of rumours and I know a lot of people thought I was going to take my team to World Superbikes, but as you can see, FHO Racing is very much staying here in the British Superbike Championship where we belong and we will be aiming for big success next year.”

Tom Sykes in the Donington Park Spotlight

British Superbikes Donington Park 2022 – Round 10

Bradley Ray of Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha has one hand on the 2022 British Superbike trophy. He also has his feet, a space on the mantlepiece, the Brasso polish ready and has fitted the single spotlight on the ceiling in readiness for the grand unveiling. (I’m joking but you get the drift). Barring a disaster beyond his control, it’s hard to see anyone else winning this year’s championship, although considering the BSB action of late, we shouldn’t count our chickens before they have hatched.

A solid 4th , 2nd and 1st over the three races at Donington Park has all but sealed the deal for Ray going into Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time. Ray currently leads 2nd place in the championship Glenn Irwin, HRC Honda Racing and Tommy Bridewell, Oxford Products Ducati in 3rd by 66 and 67 points respectively, with only 75 points available over the Brands Hatch weekend. Mathematically, it is now only Ray, Irwin and Bridewell who can lift the championship trophy in 2022. Fourth place in the standings is Lee Jackson, FS-3 Kawasaki, who sits 76 points behind Ray overall leaving him out of contention for 2022 glory along with the remaining riders who originally entered as the Showdown 8.

Bradley Ray – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

The star of the show?

In most people’s eyes at Donington came in the form of MCE Ducati rider, Tom Sykes. The popular Yorkshireman found a setup that suited his Ducati, on a track he has a lot of experience at which was enough to power home to two race victories. After a season long struggle to find his feet in the British Superbikes, Sykes has crossed the line between ‘also ran’ and ‘winner’. Sykes’ first stint in BSB was between 2007 and 2008 (also a wild card appearance in 2010) which bagged him 18 podiums, 5 of which were wins, but since returning to the series after over a decade on the world stage, Sykes has struggled to find the form that himself and the Paul Bird team expected.

Alongside that of his teammate, Josh Brookes, many came to expect 2022 to be a year that didn’t bear fruit for the Panigale V4 after both riders failed to make the Championship Showdown. An emotional Paul Bird could be seen after the race on Saturday being congratulated by many in the pitlane after what is widely considered a torrid year for the Cumbrian outfit. Sykes was also in top form for Race 3 but an incident involving Jason O’Halloran wrote off a potential 3rd podium of the weekend when the McAMS Yamaha rider collided with the rear of Sykes’ Ducati under braking for the Melbourne Loop hairpin. Sykes is heavily rumored to be returning to World Superbikes in 2023 in partnership with Puccetti Kawasaki. Personally, I wish Tom had decided to stick with British Superbikes for 2023, as this weekend has proven that on the right day, he has the skills to succeed in this paddock. I firmly believe there are/could have been British Superbike Championships on the table for Tom had he chosen to stick around a little longer and I can’t help feeling the warmer climates, GP Circuits, familiar motorcycle packages and world stage have dragged one of BSB’s headline acts away from us. Perhaps next year we will see the reasoning behind it all if the rumors are proven to be true and Sykes does depart from whence he came. For now, Brands Hatch awaits Sykes and hopefully his recent run of form could be the ignition his gunpowder needed to go out with a bang at the series finale.

Tom Sykes – Picture Courtesy of Official BSB

Another decent race weekend for Glenn Irwin has seen the popular Honda Racing UK rider climb to second in the championship standings. Perhaps the gap is a little too much for Glenn to bridge, but certainly finishing runner up for 2022 is something Glenn has firmly got the scent of in the nostrils, despite losing his left foot peg late on in race three, Glenn was able to fight for the podium against Synetiq BMW (and Brother) Andy Irwin and Rich Energy OMG Yamaha’s Bradley Ray. The joke around the paddock would see Glenn line up at Brands Hatch with no foot pegs on and win all three races.

Glenn Irwin – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

A strong weekend for Glenn Irwin has come at the cost to Tommy Bridewell. With an 8th, 6th and 4th place finish in the weekend’s three races, the Oxford Products Ducati rider has seen his place in the overall standings slip to 3rd, be it by only a single point, but with Brad Ray finishing all three races in front of him, Tommy along with Glenn, has nothing but an almost vertical uphill climb now to win the British Championship. Silly Season rumors in the paddock have Tommy Bridewell riding again for Ducati in the 2023 British Superbike Championship but perhaps in a different shade of grey….and by grey, I mean RED… but as it stands, all rumors are yet to be confirmed.

Special mentions of the weekend: –

Kyle Ryde. The Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha “Youth” had a couple of top 10 finishes which will go a long way to settling the nerves of the last few rounds and go hand in hand with some confidence building chest bumps which he fully deserves after being re-signed for 2023 in the same team. Consistency is the key and Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha clearly think there is a lot of untapped potential in the young rider and his future. Well done Kyle.

Kyle Ryde – Image Courtesy of Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha

Andrew Irwin. The Synetiq BMW rider has form for success at Donington Park in recent years. Notably his dust up with brother Glenn, when both rode the Honda Racing UK bike in 2020 to take race wins. Electrical gremlins hampered Irwin in Race 1 on Saturday but in Races 2 & 3 on Sunday, Andrew Irwin was able to fight for a 4th place and 2nd place finish proving he has the talent for this game, but perhaps not the tools. Danny Buchan has also had an up/down year on the M1000R BMW which has proven to be difficult to ride for all the entrants, including FHO Racing’s Peter Hickman and Ryan Vickers. Great to see Andy up there again. There’s no better spectacle in BSB in my eyes than watching the Irwin Bothers go at it at the front of the pack.

Charlie Nesbitt. Drafted in to replace Christian Iddon, who fell foul of BSB’s Concussion Protocol, Nesbitt found himself on the Buildbase Suzuki Superbike for the weekend after running for the team in the National Superstock during 2022. Rumored to have already signed a deal for the Buildbase team for 2023, though not yet announced, it looks like this was Nesbitt’s early shot at a little testing and ride out on a Superbike, albeit a little earlier than expected. With a 19th, 13th and 13th finishing all three races and some scalps to his name, including current 2022 rider for Buildbase Danny Kent, Charlie has done himself a world of good at Donington. Well done.

Another special mention is to our beloved mate, and friend of the Motorcycling world, Chrissy Rouse.

Chrissy slipped off his motorcycle at the Goddard’s hairpin and sustained serious head injuries via contact with a following motorcycle. Chrissy was transferred to Nottingham hospital where he had a neurological procedure upon arrival and is currently in a serious condition in Intensive Care. I met Chrissy a few months ago and he was a proper good lad. Understanding the process of building an online following and podcast, he was very helpful in his advice and was the first rider to allow me to hone my interviewing skills late at night after a full day’s work and an evening run. I met him again at the Oulton Park round and he took the time to talk to me when he didn’t have to, all of which brought me firmly onto team Rouse. Our industry has grown to love Chrissy via his own podcast, Chasin’ the Racin’ hosted by himself and Road Racing colleague Dominic Herbertson and I know when I speak for the entire motorcycle community when I say, “Come on Chrissy, we are all praying for you!” We are all feeling this one and I hope that Chrissy Rouse makes a full and fast recovery.

Chrissy Rouse – Picture courtesy of Bonnie Lane

The 2022 British Superbikes Championship concludes in 2 weeks time at Brands Hatch. A circuit famous for some of the best title fights in the last 20 years. I hope for a good show at Brands, but I fear it won’t be the exciting title fight finale we would want. Perhaps we can have a weekend long battle for the race wins, even if we aren’t going to get one for the championship.

RACE 1 Points Finishers

Sykes, O’Halloran, Hickman, Ray, G Irwin, Jackson, Ryde, Bridewell, Haslam, Vickers, Brookes, Buchan, Neave, Takahashi, Mizuno

RACE 2 Points Finishers

Sykes, Ray, G Irwin, A Irwin, Jackson, Bridewell, O’Halloran, Hickman, Brookes, Vickers, Ryde, Buchan, Nesbitt, Kent, Takahashi

RACE 3 Points Finishers

Ray, A Irwin, G Irwin, Bridewell, Buchan, Ryde, Jackson, Vickers, Kent, Haslam, Hickman, Stacey, Nesbit, Neave, Takahashi

The Oulton Park Showdown Shocker!

I’ve written this intro something like 10 times. Deleted it and started again! Deleted it and started again! Deleted it and started again! Deleted it and started again! I’m struggling to find the words to describe what happened this weekend that you can follow in a logical pattern and order which will make sense by the end of this article. A roller coaster of action, emotion, shock, confusion, anger, deflation and a whole other host of feelings towards situations beyond our control. Huge amounts of disappointment for some, while others breath a huge sigh of relief, albeit with a concerned eye on the health of their racing colleagues but appreciating that one third of the Showdown battle is behind them.

Oulton Park in the Autumn of 2021 changed the season for two McAMS Yamaha riders. One rider’s fortunes were changed for the better, where the other lost a season’s worth of hard work in 2 days. Of course, I am referring to Tarran Mackenzie’s success and Jason O’Halloran’s disastrous ‘two crash weekend’ 1 year ago. Well it seems ‘The Curse of Oulton Park’ his struck again in 2022 for the same team, though it seems it has swept through the McAMS team like a case of the common cold! Take this in for a second… The McAMS Yamaha pairing of reigning champion, Tarran Mackenzie and [the man who up until Saturday inhabited second place in the championship standings] Jason O’Halloran have failed to finish a single race this weekend. 6 FULL RACES. GONE! The British Superbike Championship has been turned on its head.

Jason O’Halloran – Image courtessy of McAMS Yamaha

Race 1

A typical Oulton Park race, of which we have seen many over the years, where riders try to pass on the tight, twisty, undulating circuit but ultimately the attempts are short in supply and the laps tick off one by one in the countdown to the checkered flag. The first shock of Race 1 came when a charging Tarran Mackenzie crashed his Yamaha R1 on the entry to Shell Oil’s hairpin, trying to bridge the gap to the front group after his poor start from his qualifying position of 5th on the grid. Oulton Park, 1 – Tarran Mackenzie, 0. The first mistake of the Showdown coming from the reigning champion. Before you know it, fans and teams alike looking at Bradley Ray entering the final lap with a 3.1 second lead over the following group of Tommy Bridewell in second place, followed by Jason O’Halloran, Peter Hickman and Leon Haslam. A group of three riders chasing Ray, but who will round out the podium on the final lap?

Now here’s the rub! After cresting Clay Hill and entering the Druid’s right-hand turn for the final time, there was contact between the motorcycles of Peter Hickman [FHO Racing BMW] and Jason O’Halloran [McAMS Yamaha] resulting in a crash for The O’Show. Hickman letting the brake off and moving for an inside line overtake, O’Halloran turns in and the end result is a trip to the gravel trap ending O’Halloran’s first race in the Showdown. A potential podium chance gone. Oulton Park, 1 – Jason O’Halloran, 0. Being it was the final lap, the incident was investigated after the race and resulted in Bennetts British Superbike Race Direction disqualifying Peter Hickman from the race, handing him 2 points on his racing license and a 3-place grid penalty for Race 2. Official BSB later released the onboard footage from Hickman’s BMW and Leon Haslam’s Kawasaki following behind.

Hickman was quick to defend his position, taking to Twitter to issue a statement. “Of course, I’m absolutely gutted that JO and McAMS Yamaha didn’t finish that race, that was never my intention and never would be. I’m just glad he’s ok. I am however shocked at Race Directions decision, don’t get me wrong they have a tough job to do but disqualification… 2 points on my race license and a 3 place grid penalty is absolutely way over the top. We are racing, not playing today [Hicky meant tiddly] winks! I stand by what I said on Eurosport after the race, there was a gap, he was weak in that area and I was strong, and I had a chance of a podium so… of course I had a go. It’s a huge shame that he tagged the back of my bike and went down, but we are racing on very small margins and sometimes it happens. As for comments about not having a go at passing someone because they’re in the showdown and lack of respect etc I… completely disagree, but each to their own eh! Thanks for the support from everyone as always, I’ll be on the grid again tomorrow and trying just as hard. Hicky.”

Jason O’Halloran took to his own social media outlets to post a picture of his accident damaged Yamaha in the McAMS garage and wrote “All my guys and I have worked so hard this year to put ourselves in a position to win this championship. A little bit of respect would go a long way.”

 Race 1 Results – Ray, Bridewell, Haslam, Glenn Irwin, Buchan, Jackson, Iddon, Skinner, Ryde, Brookes, Sykes, Kent, Neave, Harrison, Rouse, Takahashi, Owens, Mizuno, Delves. 

DNF – Mackenzie, O’Halloran, Andy Irwin, Jeacock, Vickers, Stacey.

Race 2 – Start 1

Unlike last year (which was shorts and a t-shirt) it was freezing cold on Sunday. Raining on and off and blowing a gale. Not the best weather for a British Superbike race. Declared a wet race, then after a slight delay and the rain abating, it was declared a dry race meaning any sudden rain would cause a red flag.

Dry Race – Image courtessy of Official BSB

LAP 1 Away from the lights it’s Brad Ray who gets the holeshot, followed closely by Jason O’Halloran and Tommy Bridewell. As we return to the scene of Saturday’s Race 1 incident at Druid’s corner, racing fans and teams look on in shock as Tommy Bridewell puts a move on Jason O’Halloran, that sends the McAMS Yamaha rider barreling through the same gravel trap as the previous day. Oulton Park, 2 – Jason O’Halloran, 0. Race direction investigates the incident as the race continues to circulate.

Oulton Park, Race 2 – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Tommy Bridewell was ordered to perform a Long Lap Penalty (which is down at Hissy’s chicane while you perform the slalom between the barriers) but a lap later, while entering the Hislop Chicane Tarran Mackenzie slipped off his Yamaha R1 and slid into the path of Peter Hickman. In a split second, contact was made between Hicky’s BMW and Mackenzie’s lower body and legs. Oulton Park, 2 – Tarran Mackenie, 0. The race was then red flagged. The Mackenzie family and McAMS Yamaha later released a statement officially ending Tarran’s season due to a fractured femur, which after surgery leaves the Scottish / Derbyshire-man unfit for the remaining rounds in the 2022 season. While the medical team were dealing with Mackenzie on circuit, Bridewell gave an interview to Eurosport insinuating that he also thought O’Halloran was going too slow in the Clay Hill / Druid section and he thought the move was on.

Statement from McAMS Yamaha with reference to the Oulton Park Round.

Race 2 – Start 2

Shortened to a 14-lap race and Bridewell’s unserved long lap loop penalty was changed into a time equivalent, which effectively put him to the rear of the grid. Race 2 kicks off again for the second time, only for the race to be stopped again due to rider contact at Britten’s Chicane a few laps later. This time it was contact between Rory Skinner, Christian Iddon and a luckless Kyle Ryde. Iddon and Ryde both a victim of ‘wrong place, wrong time’. Entering the Britten Chicane, Iddon and Skinner had the same idea at the same time. Iddon lined up Ryde on the brakes into the left / right chicane and as he moved left to pull off the maneuver Skinner behind had lined Iddon up for the same move. All happening in a split second, with only a heartbeat to react Iddon realised the move wasn’t on and lined up to slide in behind Ryde but Skinner had already put his own move into action. The result was Skinners FS-3 Kawasaki crashing into the rear of Iddon’s Buildbase Suzuki, sending Skinners bike careering across the track to collect Ryde’s Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha from behind, bringing down the Yamaha rider.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of the crash for Skinner himself. He was scooped up between the rear wheel and subframe on the Suzuki GSXR of Iddon and dragged into the back wheel. This caused Iddon’s rear wheel to lock and dropped them both to the ground. Red Flag x 2. Iddon later confirmed he has a broken bone in his hand and has also been ruled out of the Donington Park round this weekend due to the sports concussion protocol. Skinner has also suffered multiple fractures in his hand and requires surgery. It is yet to be confirmed if Skinner will attend the Donington Park round or not.

Lee Jackson. Winner of Race 2 – Image Courtesy of FS-3 Racing

Race 2 – Start 3

A relatively tame version of events, barring poor Kyle Ryde’s Turn 1 slip off which can only be put down to cold tyres. In comparison to the first two attempts, the restart running to the finish was a welcome relief to everyone but the delay had affected the schedule for the remaining races of the day. After the two earlier versions, the surprise of the restart was Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s Bradley Ray seemingly not having an answer for the FS-3 Kawasaki of Lee Jackson or the Oxford Products Ducati of Tommy Bridewell who took the win and second place respectively after Bridewell had made up half the grid at the restart, before the red flag, to then make up the rest of the grid on the 3rd restart. Lee Jackson returning to the winning step of the podium for the first time since his earlier win at Oulton Park back in the summer.

Race 2 Results – Jackson, Bridewell, Ray, Glenn Irwin, Buchan, Haslam, Sykes, Brookes, Andrew Irwin, Hickman, Stacey, Kent, Vickers, Takahashi, Mizuno, Jeacock, Delves. 

DNF – O’Halloran, Mackenzie, Harrison, Rouse, Ryde, Neave, Owens, Iddon, Skinner. 

Race 3

It was announced by McAMS Yamaha that a battered and bruised Jason O’Halloran would not take part in the remaining race of the day. Oulton Park, 3- Jason O’Halloran, 0. Race 3 turned out to be a very tame affair and the surprise came in the form of a battle for the win between Honda Racing UK’s Glenn Irwin and Oxford Products Tommy Bridewell, with Bridewell claiming the victory. Another great result for Race 3 was the addition of Tom Sykes and his MCE Ducati making it into the top 6, not more than a handful of seconds from the winners. In race three the temperature had dropped significantly and with the news that his closest rivals weren’t taking part in the remaining race, it seemed Brad Ray could also ensure he had a solid finish to a chaotic race meeting.

Race 3 Results – Bridewell, Glenn Irwin, Jackson, Buchan, Ray, Sykes, Hickman, Brookes, Ryde, Kent, Stacey, Andrew Irwin, Vickers, Haslam, Harrison, Takahashi, Rouse, Owens, Jeacock, Mizuno. 

DNF – O’Halloran (Did not Start) Mackenzie (Did not start) Delves, Neave, Iddon (Did not start) Skinner (Did not start).

The overall championship has been turned on its head. McAMS Yamaha have dropped down the order to be replaced by Tommy Bridewell, Lee Jackson and Glenn Irwin, however Bradley Ray has extended his championship lead from the 13 points he had on O’Halloran coming into Oulton Park, to 40 points over Tommy Bridewell in 2nd place overall.

Tommy Bridewell, Oxford Products Ducati – Image courtesy of Official BSB

Donington Park this weekend. Who will take the second round of the Showdown in their stride and come out on the other side leading the championship?

British Superbikes Oulton Park Preview – The Showdown Starts Now!

“Showdown – NOUN. A final confrontation intended to settle a dispute.” Oxford Dictionary. The dispute?  Who will lift the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Crown?

Picture courtesy of Official BSB

This weekend Oulton Park in Cheshire plays host to the travelling Circus that is the British Superbike paddock. Despite the tents and food vendors and merchandise stalls, it’s not Clowns we are here to see, it’s Gladiators!

A motor racing venue for 2 and 4 wheels since the 50’s, the former parkland/come formal gardens were converted to the racing circuit we know and love (although it has changed a little over the years) it has been the home of many adored racing series over the year such as BSB, British Touring Cars, Formula 3 and Porsche Carrera Cup etc. Oulton Park is also a favorite venue for track day enthusiasts of many different disciplines and track day experience providers.

This weekend is the first round where all eyes are now on the championship rather than qualifying for a position in the Showdown. The podium credits have been applied and the final game of musical chairs has finished. Everyone is now fully aware of their overall position within the points standings table. There are 9 races left in the 2022 season and the overall standings have the top 8 riders separated by just 53 points. With 3 races per weekend over the next 3 rounds, there are 225 points available between Race 1 at Oulton Park and the final race of the season at Brands Hatch on the 16th of October.  So as of this moment, it really is anyone’s guess who will lift the trophy at the end of the season and put their name on the plaque under the words ‘British Superbike Champion 2022’. A title held by racing greats such as Shane Byrne, Ryuichi Kiyonari, Neil Hodgson, Niall Mackenzie, John Reynolds and more. BSB is seen as the best domestic racing series in the world and winning the grand prize takes a tremendous feat of bravery and skill.  

Coming into Oulton Park, the current series leader is Bradley Ray of Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha. Ray has had a stellar second half of the season and really piled the pressure on reigning champion, McAMS Yamaha’s Tarran Mackenzie. Team mate to Mackenzie is Jason O’Halloran who knows all too well the level of pressure any rider faces in the Showdown fight for the championship after slipping off his Yamaha in 2021 while occupying the top of the rider standings going into Oulton Park. Oulton Park in 2021 saw Jason O’Halloran’s title challenge take on water after 2 DNF’s which ultimately cost him the Championship.  

It’s no secret that the three Yamaha riders are seen as the favorites to lift the trophy but as we have seen before, anything can happen in the Showdown. The first thing to consider is the great British weather. At the time of writing this it’s looking like the rain will hold off although it will be mild and overcast. As a keen motorcyclist myself, I can guarantee whatever the forecast says in late September, you can assume it’s wrong or just plain lying to you. You never know what the weather is going to do when moving into British Autumn.

The second thing to consider for the Showdown are the other riders on the grid. Although anyone from 9th onwards in the overall standings is not in contention for the championship, there are other things at stake for them. With the end of the season drawing close at an alarming rate, the rumors are starting to circulate. Silly season has started and there are already rumors flying around about who will be riding for who next year. There are riders looking to impress and therefore will not think twice about their position on track and how it would affect anyone else’s placement in the championship. It is a team sport, but it’s well known the only standings the race fans keep an eye on are the individual rider standings. All the riders are battling for a seat for the 2023 season, or to be seen as doing well from spectators in other paddocks around the world. Showdown rounds are usually where you end up with riders who are not racing for the championship taking wins, podiums and top 10 positions. These situations create an unknown for the riders in the Showdown… Imagine a tangle between a couple of riders and suddenly the gap in the standing shrink and we have a new championship leader? 5th place moves to 2nd etc. A situation we have literally just seen over in MotoGP where Pecco Bagnaia has battled to bring a 91-point deficit to Fabio Quartararo down to just 10 points, aided massively by the reigning MotoGP champions DNF at the recent Grand Prix of Aragon where Pecco finished 2nd and collected 20 points.

The pressure is on for sure for 2022 glory.

Bradley Ray – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Bradley Ray – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha. Brad’s plan is simply to go out and win. Hoping to keep his title rivals behind him, and on his recent run of form it’s not a bad plan whatsoever. Get your head down and win the championship by winning every race. It’s foolproof, providing he can pull it off.

Jason O’Halloran – Picture courtesy of Official BSB

Jason O’Halloran – McAMS Yamaha. The ever-pragmatic Australian’s plan is to relax into the racing and see what the next few rounds bring. A strong season again for the McAMS rider has seen him once again in a very strong position to challenge for championship glory. Consistency needs to be the key to O’Halloran’s Showdown battle plan. Almost approach the Showdown in a race-by-race situation rather than worrying where his rivals are. O’Halloran has had a dip in form over the last few rounds which has given Brad Ray the overall lead, and I fear Jason has to hit the ground running or no matter what he does, it will all be a little too far to reach.

Tarran Mackenzie – Picture Courtesy of Official BSB

Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha. Mackenzie has form at this point of the season after coming from behind in 2021 to dominate the Showdown and take his championship by the scruff of the neck. No doubt last year is something he aims to repeat after a dismal start to his 2022 season after suffering a broken ankle in a training crash. Tarran has great form at Oulton Park, Donington Park and Brands Hatch, although he was involved in a little skirmish with both Christian Iddon and Lee Jackson last year at Outlon, Tarran is still the man everyone is looking to now the Showdown has started.

Glenn Irwin – Picture Courtesy of Official BSB

Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing UK. Glenn has an outside chance of the championship although he will need a little bit of bad luck for his rivals, or a poor showing in terms of finishing positions in their races. The Honda doesn’t generally enjoy the Oulton Park circuit so much and Glenn also wasn’t able to finish all the races held at Oulton in 2021, but recent improvements to the bike and a boost of confidence for Irwin after a strong round at Snetterton (despite podiumgate) should give the popular Northern Irishman a spring in his step for the weekend. I’m sure deep-down Honda think the Yamaha’s will be too strong for them but I for one hope to see the Fireblade and Glenn return to the top step before the end of the year.

Lee Jackson – Image Courtessy of Oficiall BSB

Lee Jackson – Cheshire Mouldings FS3 Kawasaki. Jackson needs a return of the form that saw him claim his maiden win at Oulton Park earlier in the season. With Jackson having re-signed with the FS3 Kawasaki team for 2023, the pressure of next year is off. With Jackson free of the silly season pressure, it will hopefully lift a weight from his shoulders and allow him to attack the weekend with nothing but podiums in every race to try and pull off the underdog story of the year.

Kyle Ryde – Picture Courtesy of Official BSB

Kyle Ryde – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha. Ryde is appearing in the Showdown this year for the first time. The popular Nottinghamshire rider will have no choice but to buckle in and see how it unfolds. If Ryde can return to the form from the start of 2022 which saw him take podium and race wins, there’s no reason he cannot promote himself into the top 3 positions in the standings overall. It’s fair to say Kyle has a big hill to climb to win the championship this year but nothing is impossible. Good luck to him I say and hopefully he can finish the season with a big smile on his face and plan for a new attack in 2023.

Rory Skinner – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Rory Skinner – Cheshire Mouldings FS3 Kawasaki. Rory has had a standout season with multiple podium finishes and has done himself a grand service achieving a place inside the Showdown. Especially when you consider the grid he is racing against. He has well and truly put himself in the window for the rumoured move to Moto2 for 2023. A rumour which has gained traction since the announcement that Cameron Baubier will not ride for the American Racing Team in Moto2 for 2023 but return to home soil to race in Moto America. A move which would leave room in the team for Rory Skinner in his stead. Although nothing is yet announced, Skinner’s wild cards this year in the Moto2 paddock have come via the assistance of John Hopkins, former MotoGP and BSB rider, whom also has a lot of pull inside the American Racing team. Could Hopper be able to aid Rory’s step back up onto the world stage after falling through the crack in Red Bull Rookies? Skinner, like Ryde, will have to see how the next few races pan out and would be better concentrating on picking up a win, race by race rather than concerning himself with championship glory. A strong finish to the British Superbike season could well seal the deal / grease the wheels to his future.

Tommy Bridewell – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Tommy Bridewell – Oxford Products Ducati. Bridewell has had a somewhat up and down season with only 5 visits to the podium so far in 2022. Tommy seems to be in a similar (albeit more successful boat) as rival Ducati riders Josh Brookes and Tom Sykes. It seems the Panigale hasn’t been able to replicate its expected run of form this year and the package has spent most of this season in the mid-pack. Bridewell has a mega battle on his hands now to be in with a shout of championship glory but after a strong end to the Showdown in 2021 saw the Oxford Products Ducati rider pip Jason O’Halloran to 2nd in the championship overall, I for one have no doubts Tommy Bridewell will make waves over the next few weekends, especially at Oulton Park.

Good luck to all the riders this weekend in every category. We are truly in for a great show.

Racing Armchair.


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