BSB: Redding Beats Brookes to Brands Hatch Pole

Qualifying for the fourth round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch saw the riders met with almost ideal conditions on track.

Scott Redding took pole position by 0.007 seconds from Be Wiser Ducati teammate, Josh Brookes. The Ducati pairing have been the fastest riders all weekend, and quite well-matched. The battle between them in Sunday’s races should be an interesting one, as the winners of the last five races try to take the momentum away from Brands Hatch.

Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) will join the two Be Wiser Ducati’s on the front row after a strong session for the Aussie. In fact, the weekend as a whole has been a good one for O’Halloran who seems to have rediscovered some of the feeling and form that he has missed in the two rounds since Silverstone. He might be the only rider capable of taking the fight to the two Be Wiser Ducati riders tomorrow.

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) will hope to be there as well, and put himself in a good position to do so, as he will start from the front of the second row in fourth place. Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) and Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) will join Bridewell on the second row.

Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) came to Brands Hatch fresh from the TT,  in  good form, and qualified seventh. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) showed his best of the year with an eighth place qualifying, ahead of Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha). Mackenzie crashed at Clearways on his first flying lap in Q3, and so did not set a time. The #95 was knocked unconscious in the crash, and so will be unable to line up tomorrow. Therefore, Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) will line up in ninth for race one.

In turn, Luke Mossey (OMG Racing Suzuki) is promoted to the head of row four, and will be joined by Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) and Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing).

Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) will start thirteenth ahead of Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) who crashed in Q1 and prohibited his progress from Q2. Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) will start from the back of the fifth row in fifteenth.

David Allingham (EHA Yamaha) will start sixteenth, and will be joined on row six by James Ellison (Smiths Racing) and Xavi Fores (Honda Racing); whilst Claudio Corti (Team WD-40) is joined on row seven by Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Ducati) and Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha); and Hector Barbera (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) is in front of Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad) and Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) on row eight. Finally, the final row sees Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports) ahead of Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing).

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

BSB: Can Ducati be Beaten at Brands?

After the usual break for the Isle of Man TT, the British Superbike Championship is back in action this weekend, three weeks on from a historic round at Donington Park.

Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) became the fiftieth rider to win a BSB race in the first outing at Donignton three weeks ago, and backed up that debut win with two more on Sunday to take the triple. Redding was able to make winning a BSB race look fairly straightforward in Donington, however that is expected to change this weekend in Brands Hatch, where Redding has never raced. It will be interesting to see how the #45 fares at a track where the whole field, essentially, have infinitely more track knowledge than him. This will be a new experience for Redding, since in Oulton Park he at least had the benefit of eighteen laps at the test day in the run up to the race weekend to learn where he was going.

Scott Redding at Donnington park. Image courtesy of Ducati

On the other side of the Be Wiser Ducati garage is the double winner from twelve months ago, Josh Brookes. That double came on the McAMS Yamaha in 2018, and with the Panigale V4R that Brookes is piloting this year having won the last five BSB races – with Brookes doubling up in Oulton Park before Redding’s Donignton treble – and with Brookes’ record in Brands, where he is second only to Shane Byrne for total wins, it is hard to see past the Aussie to at least take an overall this weekend.

However, the McAMS Yamaha riders, Tarran Mackenzie and Jason O’Halloran, should be able to take the fight to Brookes and the V4R with the YZF-R1 which suits the fast, flowing nature of Brands Hatch quite well. Both McAMS Yamaha riders have arguably disappointed since round one at Silverstone, where they were quite dominant, with only one podium between them since then, courtesy of Mackenzie in the third race at Donington. Perhaps it is important to remember that 2019 is just Mackenzie’s second season in BSB, and the first year for O’Halloran in BSB outside of Honda. Either way, the expectation will be there for the two riders this weekend, one in which they will both be expecting top results.

Tommy Bridewell at Donnington Park.Image courtesy of Ducati

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) has enjoyed a fantastic start to the BSB year, and that earned him a place on the WSBK grid for the previous two rounds at Imola and Jerez in place of the injured Eugene Laverty at Team Goeleven. With Laverty expected to be back on the World Championship grid from the next round in Misano, Bridewell can now return his entire focus to BSB, a championship which is distinctly within the possibilities of the #46 – one that he can win. However, Bridewell is yet to win in 2019, and that monkey must be removed from his back quickly if he is to seriously contend for the title.

In addition to Redding’s success in Donington, the triple podium of Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) and the impressive performances of Hector Barbera (replacing Ben Currie at Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) meant it was a weekend for the international riders three weeks ago. With Currie out injured, Barbera is back this weekend for his first taste of Brands Hatch, whilst Fores – fresh from the announcement of his participation with the HARC-PRO Honda squad at the Suzuka 8 Hours in July – returns to Brands Hatch for the first time this decade in search of more top threes.

Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) has had a slow start to the BSB year, scoring just forty-one points in the opening three rounds. However, despite missing out on the Senior TT on the Isle of Man, it was quite a successful week for Hickman, so it will be interesting to see if he can bring that form to the short circuit.

Mackenzie: “We just need to keep the momentum going”

Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) enjoyed a return to the podium in Saturday’s race one at Donington Park, for the third round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship, and established a championship lead going into the second BSB race of the weekend on Sunday. Alex Whitworth spoke to him on Sunday morning after the warm up session for the Superbike riders about the 2019 season so far for the #95, his step from rookie to championship contender and his adaptation to a 1000cc motorcycle.

Tarran Mackenzie. Image courtesy of Impact Images Photography/McAMS Yamaha

AW: Tarran, you returned to the podium yesterday after missing it both times in Oulton Park. Are you happy with how the race went?

TM: “Yeah, really good. Struggled a lot at Oulton Park so to come back here at my home track and get second, after leading it for a long time as well, was good. So I’m happy.”

AW: Even on the short back straight here, the Ducati has an advantage, they were coming past you a lot. That must be frustrating?

TM: “Yeah, it’s quite demoralising really, because […] you can try your best [for a lap in front] and then they pass you back down the back straight, it’s quite annoying, really. It is the way it is, though, and they are beatable, so I need to try to be a bit smoother in the first part of the lap.”

AW: You had a strong rookie year, finishing tenth in the championship, and taking some podiums towards the end of the season. You’re in your second year, now, and fighting for the championship, so what has changed for you to make that step?

TM: “Probably just a bit more experience, really, because last year I was, as you say, just a rookie. These bikes are quite hard to ride, so just getting used to it, really. [I’m with] the same team, same bike, everything is the same, so just a bit of continuity, and it’s all coming together nicely.”

AW: So, you’re leading the championship. Is 2019, then, going better than expected, or are you about where you thought you would be?

TM: “[It’s going] Better than I thought, really. I wanted to just try and be in the top six each race and, apart from Oulton [Park] race one, I’ve pretty much done that. So, to be leading the championship now, with a bit of a gap to second is good as well, so, going a lot better than expected. We just need to keep the momentum going.”

AW: You took your first win in Silverstone. Was it important to get that out of the way early?

TM: “Yeah, I wanted to win a race, that was the big goal, really, so to do that […] in the second race, that’s sort of the monkey off my back, really, so we just need to keep going for the rest of the year now, and try to stay on the podium.”

Tarran Mackenzie during the 2019 Donington Park BSB event. Image courtesy of Impact Images Photography/McAMS Yamaha

AW: You’re one of the smaller riders, so was that a particular problem when you came to Superbike?

TM: “Yeah, being vertically challenged- like at Oulton Park, when it’s hard work to rider, it’s hard – if you’re a bigger rider it makes it easier. So, yeah, it does get tough at times, but it sort of plays into my advantage at some tracks.”

AW: The Yamaha is known for being a ‘corner speed’ bike, and with you coming from some years on 600s and before that on 125/Moto3, does the R1 suit you well?

TM: “Yeah, definitely, yeah. From Moto2, as well, it was a very similar style. A lot of people have to change their riding style for a Superbike, whereas I didn’t really have to do that, which was nice for me. Some tracks it works well, some tracks it doesn’t – [Donington] is one of them [where it works well], so try to use that as an advantage. Tracks like Brands [Hatch, up next on the calendar], Silverstone, Donington, Assen, just try to use it as an advantage.”

Mackenzie finished fifth in BSB race two at Donington on Sunday, and fourth in the second race. In comparison, Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) won both races, in addition to his win in Saturday’s race, to take him to the top of the championship. Tommy Bridewell also found the podium in both of Sunday’s races, which took him ahead of Mackenzie in the championship by one point, meaning the #95 is now third in the championship and seven points off the top, with a five-podium point deficit to Redding.

BSB: Donington National Awaits at Round Three

It’s another Bank Holiday and another round of the British Superbike Championship this weekend, as the series heads to Donington for round three of the 2019 season.

Josh Broke Be Wiser Ducati at Oulton Park BSB 2019. Image courtesy of Ducati

Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) got his championship back on track in Oulton Park three weeks ago, after a non-scoring round one at Silverstone for the Aussie. Two wins for Brookes and the PBM Ducati Panigale V4R, in which he led from lights to flag on both occasions, slingshot the #25 rider straight into the championship top six, just fourteen points off the championship lead and with the highest podium points score of any rider as we approach the third round.

Arguably, Donington should suit the Ducati even better than Oulton Park, being a wider, track with less hard braking zones. Certainly, that would make for low hopes for the opposition, as it was not just Brookes in Oulton Park who was faster than the rest, but also Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) who was able to go pretty much right with Brookes in both races at round two and goes to round three as the joint-championship-leader. The #46 has since been to Imola at the World Superbike race to replace Eugene Laverty for the GoEleven squad, and performed quite impressively. It will be interesting to see this weekend if anything Bridewell learned on the WorldSBK-spec Panigale can be translatable this weekend. Similarly, the WorldSBK Ducati riders will be watching this weekend somewhat keenly to see how the bike performs at Donington, even though this weekend the BSB riders will go right at the end of the back straight and cut out the Melbourne Loop.

The anticipation of Ducati performances will also extend to Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) who is searching for his first BSB win this weekend at – almost – the circuit where he took his first Grand Prix win back in 2008 in the 125cc class.

Away from Ducati, perhaps it will be once more the McAMS Yamaha pairing of Jason O’Halloran and the rider joint with Bridewell at the top of the standings, Tarran Mackenzie. O’Halloran’s season has not gone to plan so far, having scored just twenty-two points from the first four races thanks to events (mostly) out of his control in Silverstone, and then missing some pace in the second race in Oulton Park.

Whilst O’Halloran missed pace in the second race in Oulton Park, Mackenzie missed pace in all the weekend, apart from the second race when he finished fifth to retain his championship lead on countback. Both Mackenzie and O’Halloran will be looking for podium returns this weekend, at the place where the current model YZF-R1 scored its first podium back in 2015 with Josh Brookes – and this weekend they will be missing out the part of the track which in theory should suit the Yamaha the least.

Whilst the Melbourne Loop section of Donington Park will be not so sorely missed by the Yamaha and possibly Ducati riders, it probably will be missed by the Kawasaki riders. The ZX-10RR has always been impressive in hard braking zones, and the hardest of the braking zones at Donington where at the Melbourne Loop section.  Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing) will nonetheless be hoping to continue his impressive form from Oulton Park – where he scored two third places – into this weekend and close his nine-point deficit to the championship leaders.

Buchan is not the only Kawasaki rider facing an important weekend – Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) is also at an important point. The start of his BSB career with Kawasaki has not gone to plan, and Oulton Park saw the #2 in what seemed almost like desperation. Nothing seemed to work for him three weeks ago, but he had an impressive time at the Northwest 200 last week with a couple of podiums, so it will be interesting to see this weekend if changes which worked on the roads will also work in BSB.

On the other side of the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki garage there is some change, as the injured Ben Currie is replaced by Hector Barbera, who will be running the #80, who won his first Grand Prix at Donington in 2003 by six tenths from Andrea Dovizioso. Certainly, for a non-British rider, Donington is a fairly comfortable introduction to British Championship racing.

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

BSB: Brookes Doubles Up in Oulton Race Two

The fastest lap of race one and therefore race two pole position went to Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) at the second round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship.

As in race one, the race took place in the sun, and as in race one, there were problems at the start. Peter Hickman’s Smiths Racing BMW S1000RR fell foul of the tyre pressure rule, so was wheeled into pit lane before the warm up lap and had to start from the back of the grid.

Tommy Bridewell 2nd in race 2 at Oulton Park 2019 BSB. Image courtesy of Ducati

At the front of the grid, Bridewell did not make the start he needed, and it was Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) who took the holeshot for the second race of the day, this time followed into turn one by fellow Aussie and the man who replaced him in the McAMS Yamaha squad for 2019, Jason O’Halloran. This did not last long, however, as Bridewell made his move on O’Halloran into turn three on the opening lap.

The similarities to race one did not end before the start of the second race, as the two Panigale V4Rs of Brookes and Bridewell stretched away from the rest of the field, as the only man who could get near their pace – Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing) – was fighting through the pack after an average start.

As Buchan was moving forwards, Jason O’Halloran was moving backwards, losing out to Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) early on, and then to Buchan as well on lap four. On the same lap, O’Halloran lost six tenths to Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati), who in turn had Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) – who had made a much better start than in race one where he fell to seventeenth – or company.

Further back, Hickman was charging through, and by the start of lap six he was up inside the points. At the same point, the start of lap six, Scott Redding made a pretty late lunge on O’Halloran – who was by now clearly struggling compared to the first race – in Old Hall, and took fifth place from the Australian.

At Druids on lap seven, Buchan was able to pass Iddon for third. There was a gap of around two seconds between the Ducati of Bridewell in second back to Buchan’s Kawasaki.

By lap eleven, Brookes was creeping away from Bridewell, hundredth by hundredth. This would set the tone for the second half of the race, a race which Brookes would win by 2.686 seconds to take the double. It was noted by Brookes before the weekend that, realistically, his championship started in Oulton Park due to his misfortune in Silverstone and, in that case, it was the perfect start to his championship.

Bridewell sealed his second podium of the weekend and of the season to go 2-2 in Oulton Park, and to be joint points leader as he leaves Cheshire.

Buchan took third to make the race two podium identical to the one of the first race.

Scott Redding took fourth, ahead of Tarran Mackenzie who had a much better second race and leaves Oulton Park as the championship leader on race wins after a fifth in race two.

Christian Iddon got a finish under his belt in the second race and a top six at that, ahead of a no-doubt-disappointed Jason O’Halloran who missed a lot of pace compared to race one in the second outing and finished seventh.

Eighth went to Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) who was quite close to O’Halloran towards the end but was unable to put a move on the Yamaha rider, although his return to BSB thus far has been a positive one.

The weekend was less positive for Honda Racing, although their #18 rider Andrew Irwin was able to take a top ten in race two, ahead of Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) who once again impressed by rounding out the top ten.

Bradley Ray at Oulton Park.BSB 2019. Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

After starting last, Peter Hickman was able to recover to eleventh, ahead of Brad Ray (Buildbase Suzuki), Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Racing), Luke Mossey (OMG Racing) and Josh Elliott (OMG Racing) who completed the points.

There were only three retirements in race two, as Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Racing) crashed out, whilst Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) and James Ellison (Smiths Racing) retired down pit lane.

BSB: Brookes Overcomes Bridewell Challenge for Oulton Race One Win

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.

Scott Redding at Oulton Park. BSB 2019. Image courtesy of Ducati

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.

Josh Elliott Image courtesy of Ian Hopgood photography/OMG Racing via Suzuki racing

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

BSB: Dominant Brookes Storms to First 2019 Pole

Qualifying took place in glorious sunshine for the second round of the 2019 British Superbike Championship, and Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) was the clear favourite for pole position after dominating the test last Thursday and the fry practice sessions on Friday.

Josh Brookes at Oulton Park 2019. Image courtesy of Be Wiser Ducati

Brookes made good on his potential. He took pole by a huge 0.625 seconds on the Panigale V4R. After a disappointing Silverstone round this was just what the Aussie needed ahead of tomorrow’s races, in which he will be hoping to get his first points and podium credits of the season.

Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati) made it a Ducati 1-2 on the grid for race one tomorrow, ahead of Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) who is enjoying much better fortunes in Oulton Park than in Silverstone two weeks ago, and completes the front row.

Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) injured his shoulder at last week’s test, and no doubt a crash in practice this weekend did not help that. However, he was able to put his YZF-R1 on the head of the second row, ahead of Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) and Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing) who has generally been the closest rider to Brookes across the weekend, but goes from sixth in tomorrow’s race one.

Scott Redding on the Be Wiser Ducati at Oulton Park 2019. Image courtesy of Be Wiser Ducati

Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) only had a used tyre for Q3. The ex-GP rider only managed to fit eighteen laps in at the test, thanks to the un-ideal conditions in the afternoon. He managed to get himself on the front of the third row for the first race, ahead of Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) who is also enjoying a better time on the BMW this weekend than in Silverstone, and rookie Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) who was incredibly impressive in ninth.

Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki) was the fastest rider to not make Q3, and will start tenth tomorrow. On the back of row four will be the man who shares the championship lead with Elliott, as Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) qualified twelfth. In between the championship-leading pair is Luke Mossey (OMG Racing Suzuki).

Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Racing) qualified thirteenth, ahead of Brad Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) and roads expert Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki); whilst Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing), David Allingham (EHA Racing Yamaha) and Joe Francis (Lloyds & Jones Bauker Motorrad) complete row six.

Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Ducati) heads up row seven, from Claudio Corti (Team WD 40) and Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Racing); whilst James Ellison (Smiths Racing) is with Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha) and Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) on row eight; Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) heads up row nine after a crash which left him clutching his wrist. Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) and Sam Coventry (Team 64 Motorsports) join Stapleford on the ninth row tomorrow for race one, assuming Stapleford is declared fit. Dean Hipwell (CDH Racing) and James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) are the only two riders on row ten, as the third JG Speedfit Kawasaki of Ben Currie is out of the weekend after a crash earlier in the weekend has left him unfit.

BSB: Oulton Park Gears Up for Round Two

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.

Scott Redding on the Silverstone 2019 BSB podium. Image courtesy of Ducati

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.

Josh Elliott and OMG Racing Suzuki Team. Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

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.

BSB: Mackenzie takes first BSB win… and keeps it

A few hours on from being handed his first win in British Superbike courtesy of a Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) penalty, Josh Elliott (OMG Suzuki) lined up on the front row as he eyed a dream double.

He did not make the start he would have wanted, though, and his poor launch ensured it was Mackenzie who made the holeshot.

However, running wide at Brooklands meant Mackenzie lost out to Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) who took the lead, and led the first lap.

Throughout the opening stages of the race, the front group was quite large, despite retirements from Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) who suffered a mechanical problem and Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) who fell after contact with Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing).

By lap nine, though, there was a distinctive front four of Josh Elliott, Dan Linfoot, Danny Buchan (FS-3 Kawasaki) and Tarran Mackenzie.

Tommy Bridewell and Josh Brookes. Image courtesy of Ducati

Another quartet behind was led by Andrew Irwin, from Luke Mossey (OMG Racing Suzuki), Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) and Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati), with the #18 Fireblade bringing the trio behind up to the front group.

This charge was halted, though, for the Northern Irishman when on lap twelve he was handed a long lap penalty for the previous incident with Redding.

Irwin took the penalty at his first opportunity, on lap thirteen, and the following lap Mackenzie passed Elliott for the lead. Elliott’s pace to that point had not been so electric, and with the trio behind of Bridewell, Mossey and Brookes closing in Mackenzie was seemingly intent on keeping the fight for the win to as few contenders as possible.

The pace dropped when Mackenzie hit the front. Elliott and Buchan were able to go with him, but Linfoot dropped off the back of the leading three, and into the clutches of Bridewell who went past on the Wellington straight on lap eighteen.

On lap twenty, as Mackenzie and Elliott were beginning to stretch away from Buchan behind, Josh Brookes brought the safety car out as his Ducati expired for the third time in the weekend. There was plenty of oil pouring from the Australian’s V4R, and the retirement meant that Brookes left Silverstone with zero points.

The safety car worked to bunch the field up, so on lap twenty-five of what was now a thirty-three-lap race there was all to play for.

Mackenzie held the lead on the restart, although Elliott piled the pressure on through Woodcote and Copse.

Once again, though, it was Mackenzie and Elliott with a small gap behind to Buchan, who in turn had a small lead over Bridewell behind. By the end of lap twenty-seven, Bridewell had caught Buchan, who in turn had caught Elliott, and so there was an eight-wheeled fight for the win.

As the final lap started, though, the clear battle was for second. Mackenzie had worked a bit of a gap for himself out front, and Bridewell had dropped off a little in fourth place. Buchan was close, though, to Elliott in second, but was unable to make a move before the line.

It was Mackenzie who arrived at the flag first, for his first BSB win, and this time he kept it. With Elliott finishing second, the two winners from Silverstone leave round one joint on points at the top of the championship.

Whilst Mackenzie was somewhat expected to fight for wins this season, perhaps not so many believed he would achieve his first victory in the first round. In comparison, few probably thought that Josh Elliott would take a podium this season, but he as come away from the first round with a win and a second. For the pair of them, there are many positives to take from this first weekend of the season.

A similar situation exists for Danny Buchan, who was the only Kawasaki rider to make the top ten in the second race, and one of only two ZX-10RR pilots to finish inside the top ten across both races. It was a Saturday night turnaround which proved pivotal for Buchan’s weekend, after a difficult Saturday with a poor qualifying. A step in warm up allowed him to make a good race in the first outing – despite running on in Brooklands early on – and to set a good lap time allowing him to start further up the grid for the second race, which in turn enabled him to claim his first podium since Knockhill last summer.

Luke Stapleford. Image courtesy of Suzuki racing

Fourth place went to Tommy Bridewell who was the top Ducati, ahead of Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) who once more impressed on his first weekend as a full-time BSB rider. Two top tens – including one top five – from the first weekend of the season is a strong return for the 2015 British Supersport Champion.

Sixth place went to Luke Mossey, meaning it was three Suzukis in the top six, making the GSX-R 1000 the most populous bike in the top six in race two.

Andrew Irwin recovered from his long lap penalty just before half distance to take seventh place, a couple of tenths clear of his rookie teammate Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) in eighth; whilst Dan Linfoot and Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) completed the top ten for the second race of the season.

Glenn Irwin ended a difficult debut weekend for Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki with an eleventh place, ahead of Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad), Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki), Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) and Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) who completed the points in his second career BSB race.

Claudio Corti (Team WD-40) and Fraser Rogers (Gearlink Kawasaki) were the first two retirements, both out on lap one. The aforementioned retirement of Jason O’Halloran came a couple of laps later, and a lap before Scott Redding was out. Conor Cummins (Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles) was the next to go on lap ten, before Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha) on lap sixteen. Both Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing) and Josh Brookes retired on lap twenty, and James Ellison (Smiths Racing) was the final retirement a lap later.

Featured Image courtesy of Dutch Photo Agency/Red Bull Content Pool

BSB: Mackenzie Penalty Hands Elliott and OMG Racing First BSB Win

After much anticipation ahead of this season, the 2019 British Superbike season got underway under steaming sunshine in Silverstone.

Starting from pole, Tarran Mackenzie had to see his McAMS Yamaha teammate, Jason O’Halloran, take the holeshot. This would set the tone for the rest of the race as far as the battle for the win was concerned.

Behind, Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) maintained the third place with which he started the race, ahead of Josh Elliott (OMG Racing Suzuki).

There was a gap appearing behind Elliott back to fifth-placed Dan Linfoot (Santander Salt TAG Yamaha).

Then the safety car came out after an incident which could have been much worse than it was in reality. Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) collided with Dean Harrison’s Silicone Engineering Kawasaki after the TT winner crashed in Becketts. Both riders and their bikes were lying in the middle of the track, but fortunately for both of them, and everyone else, both the bikes and the riders were avoided. Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) also went down at the same moment, but in a separate incident.
This safety car saw the pack bunched back up after the initial laps, but the same pattern arose once the race went green again.

2019 British Superbike Championship,
Ben Currie, Image courtesy of Tim Keeton/Impact Images/Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki

Both McAMS Yamahas once again took off out front, gapping Scott Redding behind quite comfortably. Josh Elliott had soon tired of the view of the Panigale V4R’s bizarre tailpipe, and made his move on Redding before ten laps were up on the change of direction from Copse to Maggots.

Elliott then caught the McAMS Yamahas, who had yet to engage each other. Once on the back of Mackenzie, Elliott looked a few times at passing the 2016 British Supersport Champion in the same place as he passed Redding, but the #95 was strong enough to hold the 2015 National Superstock 1000 Champion at bay, even when he started to drop off his teammate in the mid-race.

In response, Mackenzie made a push in the final third of the race, and started to make a gap to Elliott behind whilst simultaneously closing in on O’Halloran.

Despite being within range of the Australian for a few laps, Mackenzie did not launch an attack until Brooklands on the final lap. Mackenzie dived to the inside, and blocked his teammate’s line, forcing O’Halloran a little wide and compromising the #22’s line into Luffield. O’Halloran ran a little wide in the mid-corner, and Mackenzie emulated Jorge Lorenzo in 2013 when he was up against Marc Marquez in the MotoGP. The #95 cut to the inside, and jammed his R1 on the kerb. He had turned too tight, and had to sit up slightly to avoid touching the kerb and taking both himself and his teammate out of the race. O’Halloran didn’t budge, and the contact between the two riders sent O’Halloran – who had led the race in its entirety – tumbling.

The Australian was enraged. He had dominated the race, after dominating the weekend and preseason, yet still had victory snatched from him on his McAMS Yamaha debut by none other than his teammate.

Certainly, the competitive relationship between Mackenzie and his teammate could have gotten off to a better start, but as far as Tarran is concerned he did what was necessary to win. He had one opportunity in the race to pass his teammate for the victory, and he took it. The outcome was harsh on O’Halloran, who had ridden a fantastic race, and it was unfair on the team, who had done enough to deserve a 1-2. However, Mackenzie should not be condemned – his move was one of the rider he was at the time: one in search of his first BSB win.

O’Halloran’s retirement meant that Josh Elliott, who had dropped a way off the back of the two R1s out front in the last ten laps, took his first BSB podium in his first attempt with OMG Suzuki, who also enjoyed their first BSB top three.

Certainly, whilst the main talking point of the race was what happened between the two McAMS teammates, the most impressive performance was no doubt that of Elliott. A post-race penalty for Mackenze then promoted Elliott to first, giving both him and OMG their first win in the premier class of British motorcycle racing. The win also meant that OMG Racing Suzuki took the lead in both the teams’ championship and the riders’ standings.

The expectations will now be high for Elliott, perhaps unfairly, but nonetheless it will be interesting to see how he will react.

That demoted Mackenzie to second. He will undoubtedly be out for redemption in race two.

Scott Redding benefited from O’Halloran’s fall to claim a podium on his BSB debut. Whilst third was his result, his real position was fourth, and he will be keen to improve on that for the second race.

Luke Mossey rounded out the top four in what turned out to be a stunning race for the OMG Racing Suzuki squad, and one that would have far surpassed all their pre-race expectations. Mossey was able to break away from the battle for sixth behind in the middle of the race, and was closing on Redding ahead by the end.

That battle for sixth became a battle for the top five after O’Halloran’s fall, and it was Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing) who came out on top in that fight ahead of Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) who impressed with sixth on his debut aboard the Fireblade.

Also impressing was Luke Stapleford (Buildbase Suzuki) who took seventh on his full-time debut in BSB, and came home ahead of yet another impresser, this time in the shape of WD40 Racing’s Claudio Corti who was eighth.
Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing) ran wide in Brooklands in the early laps, but recovered to ninth by the end to be the top Kawasaki at the flag, ahead of BSB debutant Xavi Fores (Honda Racing) who rounded out the top ten.

Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW Motorrad) seemed to retire at one point in the race as his name dropped down the timing column, but in the end he was the top BMW in eleventh, ahead of impressive rookie Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) in twelfth, Dan Linfoot in thirteenth, Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) and Keith Farmer (Tyco BMW Motorrad) who rounded out the points in fifteenth.

As well as the initial wave of retirements in the initial stages of the race, James Ellison (Smiths Racing), Shaun Winfield (Santander Salt TAG Racing) and Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) all retired.