Mackenzie – King of Brands 2021

It was an action-packed return to the home of British motorcycle racing that is Brands Hatch, however it was also a weekend overshadowed by the harsh reality that faces our sport every time we strap our helmets on and pull on our gloves.

Before I go any further, everyone at CrewOnTwo would like to send their well wishes to/and to the family of Mr. Brad Jones of iForce Lloyd & Jones BMW – who unfortunately after a crash in lap 1 of the first race of the weekend, was evacuated by air ambulance to Kings College Hospital in London for further treatment. Our thoughts remain with the family, the team, and Brad at this difficult time.

Image courtesy of @bradjones12, @Instagram

Race One

The weekend started with VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon leading the championship, however following his team-mate’s success in 2020, the eyes were on the prize for Josh Brookes for this year’s King of Brands trophy. With this year’s competition, it most certainly was not going to be a victory handed on a silver platter. 

We saw the 4th different winner in the opening race when victory was clinched by McAMS Yamaha’s Tarran Mackenzie. Taz was able to lead from pole when the race was restarted and was able to hold the pack for the remaining 12 laps. His teammate wasn’t far behind in 5th overall. It was a chase to the finish between Bridewell and Mackenzie! Bridewell commented after the race that “had to get my elbows out and be a bit tough” which is all that racing is about! Oh how we’ve missed it. Danny Kent completed the top 10 for Buildbase Suzuki, narrowly pushing Glenn Irwin out into 11th for Honda Racing.

The podium of race one saw a strong presence of red as the Yamaha was accompanied by the two Ducati’s of Tommy Bridewell and Christian Iddon. Everyone of course with only one person on their mind and all were thankful they were able to finish the restarted race safely.

Race one podium, image courtesy of @OfficialBSB, @Instagram
  1. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha)
  2. Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.225s
  3. Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +1.802s
  4. Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) +3.589s
  5. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +6.838s
  6. Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki) +7.036s
  7. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +8.664s
  8. Rory Skinner (FS-3 Kawasaki) +10.447s
  9. Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +13.494s
  10. Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) +13.856s

Race Two

The action continued into race two of the weekend as Synetiq BMW’s Danny Buchan pushed into the lead from Paddock Hill Bend, however, it was short and sweet as the VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon was instantly on the attack to claim the lead. Mackenzie was put under pressure which caused him to drop back a few spaces, only opening the gap for his team-mate Jason O’Halloran – who sat comfortably in the podium fight for the remainder of the race. It was a tight fight that saw switched positions after each corner, Iddon came through on Buchan only piling the pressure on more – whilst Bridewell sat immediately behind ready to pounce as he’d fought his way up the order.

By the time the final laps had arrived there was still no clear winner, Buchan refusing to give up while Mackenzie reappeared wishing to make amends to the title following his earlier mistake. O’Halloran took another sweet victory for McAMS Yamaha,  followed closely by a Bridewell in second and Mackenzie in third position. Rory Skinner maintains his spectacular maiden season in BSB by scooping a 6th, while the man just outside the top 10 in race one, Glenn Irwin of Honda Racing was this time able to take 8th.

Race Two winner Jason O’Halloran, image courtesy of @ohalloran22, @Instagram

It was a devastating race for defending King of Brands Josh Brookes, as he finished outside the points in 18th position while trying to harmonize again with his Ducati.

  1. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 
  2. Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +2.188s
  3. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +5.845s
  4. Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad) +5.758s
  5. Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +6.503s
  6. Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +8.658s
  7. Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +9.865s
  8. Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +18.410s
  9. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +18.823s
  10. Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +19.093s

Race Three

It was the third and final race, the pressure was on and although an overclouded atmosphere of overwhelming togetherness following the accident involving Brad Jones in race one, the grid was battling hard but never so close together as a family united.

Christian Iddon of VisionTrack Ducati was finally able to claim a victory after fighting hard across the whole weekend at Brands Hatch. In the 7-lap restarted sprint race he was just able to hold off 2021’s new King of Brands, Tarran Mackenzie of McAMS Yamaha. Declared initially as a wet race, it was looking like a positive for the likes of riders who are in their prime in these conditions – however, with a rainbow of various tyre choices unable to keep up with the changing track, there was bound to be some riders slip through the net.

Image courtesy of @officialbsb, @Instagram

Brookes, who opted for wet front and rear, launched from his 16th starting position to the front end of the field. However, he was only keeping the seat warm for Danny Buchan who by lap 5 and its changing weather conditions was leading the pack. Like many others, Buchan had gone with a slick front and intermediate rear – which enabled him to make pace on Brookes.

Buildbase goes BOOM! Image courtesy of @ginorea, @Instagram

As laps went on it was an unfortunate blowout for Gino Rea which brought the race to a red flag, he was not injured in the blow and the race was soon restarted. The restart sprint saw no hanging about from Buchan and Irwin, followed closely by Iddon who didn’t let Buchan take the lead for long. It’s been a slow burn start for Buchan onboard his Synetiq BMW but with every race, he’s looking even more comfortable! 

King of Brands Mackenzie was following the front pack, after the first four laps, he secured a podium spot fighting inside the top 5. O’Halloran was yet to give up, after he was able to pass a motion on Brookes and Buchan to secure third position.

All hail the King! Image courtesy of @officialbsb, @Instagram
  1. Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
  2. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.075s
  3. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +0.761s
  4. Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad) +1.268s
  5. Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +1.647s
  6. Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +3.014s
  7. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +3.169s
  8. Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +3.220s
  9. Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +6.471s
  10. Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) +6.538s

It was a weekend of mixed emotions at Brands Hatch. McAMS Yamaha and Tarran Mackenzie walked away with this year’s trophy, while the championship standings left him 3rd overall – just behind team-mate O’Halloran and Christian Iddon.

Approx 48 hours onwards there is still little update on the condition of Brad Jones – other than that he will be kept in an induced coma whilst he receives treatment for serious head, chest and pelvic injuries. Our thoughts remain with him, the family and team at this time.

Racing Legends: Shane Byrne

For every season in any sport we crave close action and the thrill of a championship battle. Sometimes we also need someone to stamp their own authority on a discipline; a measuring stick so to speak.

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne at the 2017 BSB chmpionship at Oulton Park. Image courtesy of Ducati

In the 1990s and 2000s my beloved Manchester United swept the board in English football, Phil ‘The Power” Taylor became the doyen of darts with 16 world championship titles while Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and latterly Lewis Hamilton have monopolised the Formula One driver’s championship through different eras of the sport.

British Superbikes is no different. While some may point to Niall Mackenzie’s hat-trick of title wins in the 1990s or Leon Camier’s 2009 championship victory as examples of BSB dominance, these pail into insignificance when one name is mentioned above all the rest. Shane Byrne.

After emerging in the championship during 1999 and an impressive eighth place finish aboard a privateer Suzuki in 2001, Byrne claimed his first BSB victory at Donington Park in 2002 on board the Renegade Ducati machine. Controversy reigned at the end of 2002 when ‘Shakey’ first linked up with Paul Bird to ride the MonsterMob Ducati bike for 2003. He replaced champion Steve Hislop in the process, and one of British motorsport’s great manager-rider partnerships was born.

The 2003 season saw Byrne claim the BSB title in stunning fashion, winning 12 races to take his maiden championship title with the first nine victories coming within the first half of the season. To add to his imperious domestic form, Byrne also claimed a convincing double victory in the Brands Hatch World Superbike round as well. The impressive return in 2003 saw Byrne make the jump to MotoGP as he gained a seat aboard the Aprilia alongside Jeremy McWilliams.

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne At BSB Oulton 2017.Image courtesy of Ducati

After a less than successful stay in the premier class, Byrne made his return to the British scene in 2006 with Rizla Suzuki. During a season that involved a stomach virus, bike thefts and an injury at the final round, Byrne managed to pick up podiums at Oulton Park and Knockhill, winning the second race in Scotland. After highsiding in the final round at Brands Hatch, Byrne was knocked out and thus didn’t compete in the final race meaning his final position in the standings slipped from fourth to sixth.

Following a competitive season in 2007, back under the stewardship of Paul Bird on the Stobart Vent-Axia Honda in which he claimed a victory at Mallory Park and eventually finished fifth overall, Byrne was back on a Ducati for 2008. Riding for GSE Racing’s Airwaves Ducati team aboard the monstrous new 1098 machine, ‘Shakey’ took the title in a dominant fashion reminiscent of his 2003 championship year. He only finished outside of the podium places on one occasion (a fifth and a fourth respectively in the two races at Croft) and claimed the title by a comfortable 117 point margin from nearest rival, HM Plant Honda’s Leon Haslam.

Two more fruitless years followed as Byrne moved up to World Superbikes before HM Plant Honda gave ‘Shakey’ a seat for 2011. Despite notching a handful of victories, inconsistencies saw Byrne and team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari fall behind the leaders Tommy Hill and John Hopkins.

A third reunion with Paul Bird followed in 2012 when the PBM team began racing Kawasaki machines. The old partnership was once again tasting glory at the end of the season. Despite not winning a race until the seventh outing of the campaign, Byrne soon turned his form around, taking four of the final seven races of the season – finishing second in the other three – to capture the championship for a third time.

After finishing second behind Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes in 2013, Byrne was once again back atop the pile a year later in record-breaking style as he helped himself to 11 victories throughout the course of the campaign before comfortably clinching the title 62 points clear of former team-mate Kiyonari.

#67 Shane Shakey Byrne Sittingbourne Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team MCE British Superbikes

Another second placed finish came in 2015  – this time behind Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes –  before Byrne really stamped his authority on the British series with a pair of back-to-back title wins in 2016 and 2017.

The 2016 triumph saw Byrne hold off the challenge of Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam with nine race wins contributing to the title win by a 59 point margin while 2017 was a much tighter affair. Despite winning more races than the second placed Brookes  – 7-3 in Byrne’s favour –  the championship was decided by just three points in one of the closest title races in BSB history.

A serious accident during a mid-season test session at Snetterton curtailed Byrne’s 2018 season and he hasn’t been seen on a bike since as the rehab process following the accident continues. However, you can still regularly see ‘Shakey’ on your screen offering his opinions and comments as a pundit for Eurosport.

It remains to be seen whether we’ll see Shane Byrne aboard a BSB machine again although one thing is for certain. Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne is a bona fide racing legend.

Steve ‘Stavros’ Parrish – Motorcycle Racer, Truck Racer, Commentator and Master Prankster

So I know the burning question on your lips is the same as mine – ‘Why is Steve Parrish known as Stavros?’ The answer is that back in his motorcycle racing days when he was teammates with Barry Sheene, Barry nicknamed him Stavros after a character in the TV show ‘Kojak’ as both had a mop of black curly hair. The name Stavros has stuck since then!

Steve began racing at the age of 19 after he ‘got too wild for the roads’ and in 1975 Steve was the Best Young Rider winning the Grovewood Award. The following year, at the age of 22, he started professional motorbike racing and won the British Solo Championship that same year.

Joining Suzuki in 1977 with Barry Sheene as his teammate, Steve finished 5th overall in the 500cc World Championship and returned to British based riding in 1978 where he became the 500cc ACU Gold Star Champion followed by the 500cc Shellsport Motorcycle Champion in 1979 and 1980. Steve went on to become the British Superbike Champion in 1981,

I think it’s safe to say Steve is well known in the paddock and indeed, out of the paddock, as a practical joker. With his infectious smile, mischief seems to follow Steve.

During one qualifying session, Sheene, turned up … um….shall we say, hungover and so Steve donned his teammate’s overalls and helmet and qualified on his behalf on the RG500 Suzuki. Back in the pits, Steve then put his own overalls and helmet on and went out and did his own qualifying lap, annoyingly finishing further down the grid than the qualifying lap he put in for Sheene! Can you imagine something like that happening these days?

Setting off firecrackers outside a brothel where a few of his fellow riders were being, I’m not quite sure how to put this, serviced, saw Steve being banned from Macau and then there was the incident in Finland where the toilet block burnt down …..

Then there was the time Steve posed as a medical doctor in Japan to enable John Hopkins to fly to the Australian GP. I am willing to bet that Steve could make a book out of his antics!

In 1986 Steve retired from motorcycle racing to start a five year stint as the team manager for the Yamaha factory team for whom he used to ride where he led the team to victory winning three British Championship titles.

Alongside managing the Yamaha team, Steve began a fifteen year career as a truck racer becoming the most successful truck racer ever. In 1987 he won the British Open Truck Racing Championship, came 2nd in the series in 1989 and went on to win the European and British Truck Racing Championship in 1990 followed by the 1991 British Championship.

Steve then went on to win the European title for the next three years, coming 2nd in 1995 and then taking the title again in 1996. Steve continued to compete in truck racing until he retired in 2002.

Talking about racing motorbikes and trucks, Steve says there is quite an affinity between the two sports explaining that a motorbike doesn’t want to change direction quickly and has to be coaxed into corners which is much like a 5 tonne truck, it doesn’t want to shift around corners either and there is an awful lot more weight to shift than a motorbike!

In 1985 Steve started commentating for BBC radio before moving to Sky alongside Barry Nutley. From 1990 he started commentating for the BBC on the British 125 championship before moving onto MotoGP coverage with Charlie Cox where the pair also commentated on British Touring Cars, British Superbikes and World Superbikes.

As a qualified pilot, commentating on the Red Bull Air Race series is a perfect transition for Steve also.

Alongside former racer James Whitham, the pair commentate on the Isle of Man TT.

I think we can safely say that whatever Steve turns his hand to, he makes a success out of it. Indeed, Steve has even managed to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for, and I quote, ‘The Fastest Speed Achieved in Reverse’! In a Caterham!! I didn’t even know that was a ‘thing’. Sure sounds like fun though ……

Steve is an expert witness for motor racing incidents and can regularly be seen testing various vehicles and racing machines. Steve’s own personal vehicle collection includes a hearse, an ambulance and a fire engine!

You can imagine the antics Steve and his vehicles manage to get themselves into – apparently for example, driving the hearse very slowly until there is a long trail of cars behind and then tearing off up the road leaving the queue behind!

Or when Steve visits the bank in his ambulance – he pulls up outside the bank and parks on the yellow lines, leaves the rear doors open and then pops into the bank to do his banking!

Or the time Steve pulled up outside his friend’s pub on a Sunday afternoon in his fire engine and hosed down the inside of the packed pub!

I think if you see Steve coming, you should certainly have your wits about you as you really just don’t know what mayhem is to come.

A truly talented motorcycle racer, truck racer, commentator and master prankster, I believe that makes Steve a legend in my book.

Brookes Makes His A Double With Second BSB Title

The 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship came to a head this weekend at Brands Hatch with any one of five riders still able to claim the title prior to Saturday’s first race of the weekend. Here’s how the action played out. 

Jason O’Halloran took the initiative in Saturday’s race, one of the greatest in BSB history, by producing a masterful ride to win the first of the weekend. O’Halloran’s compatriot Josh Brookes set the early pace, holding off a resurgent Glenn Irwin who soared from seventh to second.

The Honda man took the lead from a stuttering Brookes and was soon joined at the front of the pack by O’Halloran and VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon. Irwin himself began to fade and was soon usurped in the top three by O’Halloran’s McAms Yamaha team-mate Tarran Mackenzie.

As a battle ensued between Iddon and Mackenzie for second place, O’Halloran was able to pull the pin and race clear of the chasing pack to seal the victory and leave the title picture with more questions than answers as he cut Brookes’ championship lead to just seven points heading into the decisive final Sunday of the season.

While he was swallowed up by the chasing pack in the opening race, Josh Brookes wasted little time in asserting his authority in race two by turning out a dominant performance to firmly swing the championship pendulum in his direction.

Brookes grabbed the lead in the early stages of the first lap and wouldn’t relinquish his position, swatting away the challenge of Tarran Mackenzie who drifted away on lap seven, falling more than two seconds adrift of Brookes. Jason O’Halloran managed to shake off Christian Iddon’s advances and place himself as Brookes’ main rival for the chequered flag.

Despite managing to eat into the Ducati rider’s advantage, the Yamaha man still found himself more than a second behind his fellow countryman which allowed Brookes to extend his advantage to twelve points meaning that a top three finish would seal the championship for the VisionTrack Ducati man.

It was more of the same from Brookes who won the championship in emphatic style, five years on from his first when he came top of the standings on the Milwaukee Yamaha in 2015.

Josh Brookes Celebrating being the 2020 BSB Champion. Image courtesy of Ducati

It was another dominant performance, fitting for a champion as he once again held off the challenges of O’Halloran and Mackenzie respectively, knowing that falling behind the Yamaha pair could spell the end of his championship ambitions.

The final standings saw Brookes take the title, 22 points clear of nearest challenger Jason O’Halloran. Christian Iddon ended his first season on the VisionTrack Ducati third in the final table with Glenn Irwin and Tarran Mackenzie rounding out the top five.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic restricting the BSB action we’ve seen this year, 2020 will go down as one of the most fiercely competitive seasons in recent years with no less than eight different riders tasting victory over the course of the year. Thoughts now turn to 2021 when hopefully we’ll see more of the same over a longer calendar. All that remains to say is congratulations to Josh Brookes on winning the title.

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati.

The BSB Championship is heading to Brands Hatch for the finale

The end is near for what has arguably been a fantastic, although highly unusual, 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season which still has three rounds remaining to be held at Brands Hatch on 17/18 October.

Andrew Irwin at Donington Park BSB 2020. Image courtesy of Honda Racing UK

In what was a decidedly wet weekend at Donnington Park on the 3 /4 October, Saturday’s racing turned out to be a washout. After the second aborted start, racing was cancelled for the day with all three rounds of the BSB racing scheduled to take place on the Sunday.

Round 13 saw Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) take victory after riding a near perfect race with both the VisionTrack Ducati’s of Christian Iddon and Josh Brookes coming in behind in second and third place respectively.

Losing the lead in the championship standings for the first time this season, was Glenn Irwin after crashing out on the opening lap at Goddards, thankfully he was unhurt. Irwin is now on equal points with Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) who did not fair well in this race, finishing in 14th place ahead of Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati).

Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) took fourth place in the closing stages of the race from Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) who had his best result of the season with 5th place. Teammate, Jack Kennedy, moved up to 7th position in the closing stages of the race and will start on pole position for Round 14.

Round 14 saw Josh Brookes on the top step of the podium having worked his way from 6th to the front of the grid by lap 5 thus taking the championship lead. Despite his best efforts to close in on Brookes, Jason O’Halloran finished a very respectable second place taking him up to 2nd in the championship standings. Teammate, Tarran Mackenzie, finished third putting both the McAMS Yamaha’s on the podium.

The race ended early for Ryan Vickers and Andrew Irwin after crashing together at the Melbourne Loop swiftly followed by Peter Hickman and Danny Buchan.

Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati #25) winner of Race Two at Donington Park 2020 BSB. Image courtesy of Ducati

Claiming his best result of the season for the Buildbase Suzuki team, Gino Rea finished in 4th place ahead of Tommy Bridewell and Christian Iddon. The race was not going well for Glenn Irwin either and we saw him drop down to 7th position ahead of Jack Kennedy and Luke Mossey. Finishing the top ten line up was Joe Francis for the (Lloyd & Bowker BMW Motorrad) team.

Round 15 saw a third different rider to top the championship charts with Tarran Mackenzie taking the race lead with four laps to to for the McAMS Yamaha team.

Josh Brookes had a great start by taking the lead followed by Jason O’Halloran and Tommy Bridewell, with Bridewell quickly moving up to 2nd. Glenn Irwin was moving up the order and it was not long before he grabbed 2nd place from Bridewell. Unfortunately Lap 7 saw a technical problem put an early end to Bridewell’s race.

Lap 9 saw O’Halloran collide with Iddon during a battle for fourth place causing O’Halloran’s brake lever guard to jam ultimately dropping him down to 8th place by the end of the race.

Glenn Irwin was in the lead by lap 10 with Mackenzie behind him and Brookes in third. The McAMS rider made his move on Glenn Irwin at the Fogarty Esses and was able to hold onto the lead and claim victory. Christian Iddon came in fourth moving him into 2nd place in the championship standings going into the final round at Brands Hatch.

Gino Rea finished 5th place with his best result for the Buildbase Suzuki team followed by Lee Jackson for the Rapid Fulfillment FS-3 Kawasaki team.

Round 13 winner, Andrew Irwin, came in 7th place followed by O’Halloran with Luke Mossey and Joe Francis completing the top ten.

Make sure you don’t miss any action that will be coming our way from Brands Hatch on the 17/18 October.

Featured image courtesy of Ducati

 

BSB Title Race Blown Wide Open At Oulton Park

It was a dramatic weekend of action in the Cheshire countryside as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visited Oulton Park. Here’s how the action unfolded over the course of a pulsating weekend. 

Polesitter Jason O’Halloran became the eighth different rider to claim a BSB victory in 2020 with his victory in Saturday’s race one. The Australian McAms Yamaha man took the victory at the end of a pulsating contest that saw the lead change hands on a number of occasions. Championship leader Glenn Irwin and VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon both led the pack on separate occasions during the race but O’Halloran (who had also earlier led) fought back and claimed the victory after successfully making his move by breaking down Iddon’s stern defence on the final lap and crossing the finish line just 0.358s ahead of the Mancunian rider. FS-3 Racing’s Danny Buchan rounded out the podium with his first top three finish of the season.

Jason O’Halloran winner at BSB Oulton Park 2020. Image courtesy of Impact Images/Mcams Yamaha

Andrew Irwin finished fourth ahead of brother Glenn with Lee Jackson on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki ending in sixth. Synetiq BMW’s Brad Ray came seventh ahead of Iddon’s team-mate Josh Brookes and Tarran Mackenzie (McAms Yamaha) and Gino Rea on the Buildbase Suzuki rounding out the top 10. Rea’s Suzuki team-mate Kyle Ryde, a double winner during the previous round at Silverstone, crashed out of the race on the first lap.

It was more of the same for O’Halloran in Sunday’s first race as he claimed his second win of the season with a near-perfect display aboard the R1 to lead the race from the opening lap, holding off the challenges of Christian Iddon and Danny Buchan.

Thirty-five year old O’Halloran’s victory eventually held more gravitas than anyone would have expected prior to the race when Glenn Irwin was forced to withdraw from the race following technical problems with his Honda FireBlade. The win for O’Halloran combined with Irwin’s DNF catapulted the Australian Yamaha rider well and truly into the title race, slashing Irwin’s lead to just five points.

A determined ride from Josh Brookes saw him finish fourth after being as low as seventh at one point while a fine move from Lincolnshire rider Lee Jackson on Andrew Irwin saw him nab fifth place. Tarran Mackenzie finished in sixth ahead of Irwin. Luke Mossey, aboard the Rich Energy OMG Kawasaki finished in ninth place as the filling in a BMW sandwich with Brad Ray in eighth and TT winner Peter Hickman on the Global Robots Smith’s BMW closing out the top 10.

The result of race three made it Australia Day in Cheshire as VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes reminded the championship leaders that he was still well and truly in the hunt for the prize by taking the victory. 2015 BSB champion Brookes was made to work hard for his second win of the season as his team-mate Christian Iddon provided a spirited challenge. Iddon had a number of chances to make a move on his PBM partner but Brookes’ experience came to the fore as he continually held Iddon at bay.

Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon at BSB Oulton Park 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Lee Jackson capped off a fine weekend for FS-3 Racing as he pinched a spot on the podium at the expense of Jason O’Halloran after making his move at Lodge and cross the line 0.096s ahead of the Yamaha rider. Jackson’s team-mate Danny Buchan ended the race in fifth position ahead of Glenn Irwin, the Honda man’s sixth place result means he ends the weekend still on top of the standings but only by a tight margin of two points from man of the weekend O’Halloran. Peter Hickman enjoyed his best finish of the season in eighth place behind Brad Ray. Tarran Mackenzie and Luke Mossey rounded out the top 10.

As previously mentioned, the events of the thrilling weekend at Oulton leaves Glenn Irwin just two points clear of Jason O’Halloran at the top of the standings with Josh Brookes in third, himself just ten points behind Honda Racing’s irwin. Christian Iddon can still harbour designs on the title just two points behind VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Brookes on 166. There’s then a gap of 32 points between Iddon and nearest challenger, Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell.

It may be an over-used clichè in sports but it really is all to play for now as there are just six races remaining of the 2020 BSB season with the attention shifting to the Grand Prix layout of Donington Park over the weekend of 2-4 October.

Featured Image courtesy of Impact Images/McAMS Yamaha.

BSB 2020: The Story So Far

As the Bennetts British Superbike Championship heads to the Cheshire countryside for it’s fourth meeting of the season at Oulton Park, let’s recall what took place during the first half of the truncated 2020 season. 

Tarran Mackenzie winner of Race 1 at Silverstone BSB 2020. Image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

The action got underway at Donington Park with Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin making the headlines for both the right and wrong reasons.

Northern Irishman Irwin took the first two races of the season ahead of brother Glenn before controversy reigned in the final race of the weekend when Andrew collided with VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes, which led to the Australian rider crashing out of the race at Hollywood.

While replays showed that there was a gap that many believed Irwin was right to attempt to exploit, the BSB officials took a rather dim view on the incident, claiming that the Honda rider had made ‘unfair and avoidable’ contact and disqualified Irwin from the race and ordered him to start the next race from the back of the grid. The incident had no effect on the race winner as Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell took the spoils.

After a decade of trying, Christian Iddon finally claimed his maiden BSB in race one of the second meetings at Snetterton. The Mancunian rider was embroiled in a tough battle with VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Josh Brookes before taking the lead with five laps remaining and then sprinting clear of the Australian to claim a comfortable victory.

Brookes took his first victory of 2020 in the second Snetterton race after an intriguing tussle with championship leader Glenn Irwin. The two men battled hard and traded the lead until a mistake by Irwin allowed Brookes to build a decisive lead. The Honda rider attempted to snatch the lead back at Agostini’s but ran wide thus shutting the door on his hopes of victory.

Irwin responded with a win of his own in the third race of the meeting to prevent a Ducati hat-trick and extend his lead in the standings by 23 points. Despite being as low as seventh at the end of the first lap, Irwin showed great determination to fight his way through the pack and eventually take the lead during lap 10. The Honda man wouldn’t surrender his position and finished 1.138s ahead of nearest challenger Tommy Bridewell.

The championship front runners had their noses bloodied at the third meeting of the season at Silverstone as two more riders took the spoils to take the tally of BSB competitors taking victories in 2020 to a magnificent seven.

Tarran Mackenzie on the McAms Yamaha took an emotional win one tenth of a second ahead of Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde with Yamaha team-mate Jason O’Halloran taking third place. Mackenzie showed tremendous pace to fight his way through the pack from twelfth position to take the second victory of his BSB career, his first coming at the same venue in 2019.

Buoyed by his maiden BSB podium in the first Silverstone race, reigning British GP2 Champion Kyle Ryde backed up his impressive form in the early rounds to claim victory in races two and three in Northamptonshire. In the second race, Ryde perched himself behind long-time race leader Josh Brookes before opening up the taps and making his move on the Australian on lap 27. Ryde soon pulled the pin and scorched clear, eventually coming home a comfortable 1.686s ahead of the Ducati rider.

Kyle Ryde, winner; Tarran Mackenzie, second place and Jason O’Halloran third in Race 2 at the 2020 BSB Silverstone round. Image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

In the third race of the weekend, Ryde put in a dominant performance and controlled the pace of the race to romp home 1.549s ahead of race one winner Mackenzie.

Going into the Oulton Park round, it’s Glenn Irwin who heads the championship some 35 points clear of VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes and Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell. Ryde’s brace of victories at Silverstone catapulted him into fourth place ahead of McAms Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran (the only rider in the top seven to have not yet won a race in 2020). Christian Iddon sits in sixth place, five points clear of Tarran Mackenzie.

It’s all to play for now as we enter the business end of the season with race one of the weekend at Oulton Park getting underway at 16.15 on Saturday (September 18th).

 

The BSB Winner’s Enclosure Welcomes Two New Members At Silverstone

Two more riders entered the winner’s enclosure in the Bennett’s British Superbike Championship at Silverstone as McAms Yamaha’s Tarran Mackenzie and Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde took the spoils in Northamptonshire over the weekend.

It was Mackenzie who took race one on Saturday at the end of an exciting final lap that saw the Yamaha cross the line just 0.105 seconds clear of an improving Ryde who took his first BSB podium. McAms team-mate Jason O’Halloran rounded out the podium in third.

A fourth placed finish for Glenn Irwin allowed the Northern Irish Honda rider to extend his lead at the top of the championship with brother Andrew coming home in fifth, Josh Brookes finished sixth ahead of Lee Jackson. Brookes’ VisionTrack Ducati team-mate Christian Iddon finished eighth with Tommy Bridewell claiming a points finish to hold on to second place in the championship.

Mackenzie, son of triple BSB Champion Niall, replicated his heroics from Silverstone in 2019 and truly catapulted himself into contention for the 2020 title.

If Saturday belonged to Mackenzie, then there is no doubt who should have joined him in the headlines on Sunday as Kyle Ryde earned his first British top-flight wins with a pair of fine victories.

Ryde was clearly brimming with confidence after securing his maiden BSB podium on Saturday and bided his time and held his position behind Josh Brookes before making his move on the Australian on lap 27. After pulling in front of the Ducati rider, Ryde put the hammer down and opened up a healthy lead to cross the line 1.686 seconds clear of Brookes and recording the fastest lap of the race in the process. Jason O’Halloran once again came home in third with Glenn Irwin replicating his result from race one in fourth.

Bradley Ray came out on top of an exciting battle for fifth place ahead of a chasing pack that included Tommy Bridewell, Lee Jackson and Danny Buchan, although FS3 Kawasaki rider Buchan was docked a grid place for exceeding track limits out of the final corner. Honda’s Andrew Irwin came home in ninth with OMG Racing’s Hector Barbera rounding out the top 10.

Kyle Ryde, winner; Tarran Mackenzie, second place and Jason O’Halloran third in Race 2 at the 2020 BSB Silverstone round.
Image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

It was more of the same for Ryde in the final race of the weekend as he led from lights to flag to secure a dominant win, coming home 1.549 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Tarran Mackenzie. Jason O’Halloran finished on the bottom step of the podium for the third time this weekend with Glenn Irwin also recording a hat-trick of fourth placed finishes which allowed the Honda rider to extend his lead at the top of the championship to 35 points.

Tommy Bridewell prevailed after a three-way Ducati battle for fifth place, getting the better of Brookes and Iddon who finished sixth and seventh respectively. Lee Jackson finished in eighth position ahead of Andrew Irwin and Luke Mossey (ninth and tenth respectively) who just edged Danny Buchan out of the top 10 on the final lap of the weekend.

Ryde’s double wins puts him into fourth place in the standings with 114 points behind Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell who are both locked on 122 behind Glenn Irwin on 157.

All eyes will be on the Cheshire countryside on the weekend of 18-20 September when BSB heads to Oulton Park for round four.

Featured image courtesy of Impact Image/McAMS Yamaha

Thrills And Spills Aplenty As The #BSBRestart Heats Up At Donington

After all of the drama and excitement of yesterday’s (Saturday August 8th)  opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, how would rounds two and three pan out on day two of the #BSBRestart? Read on to find out. 

Round Two

It was more of the same for Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin as he once again saw off older brother Glenn to take maximum points from round two at Donington Park.

Pole sitter Josh Brookes started brightly aboard his VisionTrack Ducati but was pegged back by Glenn Irwin at the Old Hairpin. Christian Iddon improved his position to third place and soon had Andrew Irwin for company with the Carrickfergus man performing an excellent manoeuvre on Iddon at the Craner Curves whilst McAms Yamaha’s Jason O’Halloran edged himself into the thoughts of the front runners by running in fourth.

Australian rider O’Halloran was soon engaged in an interesting battle with Oxford Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell as the two swapped places during the midway point of the race. O’Halloran eventually prevailed and attempted to pilot himself within distance of the Hondas after swatting away the challenge of Iddon on lap 16.

With five laps to go, the Australian made his move on Andrew Irwin and temporarily held second place before the Northern Irishman fired back and took back his position with a move at Schwantz Curve.

As the action moved into the final lap, either one of the Irwin brothers or Jason O’Halloran could have taken the victory. It would be the younger Irwin sibling who prevailed, performing a smart braking move at Roberts to force his older brother wide and eventually take the win to complete a second Honda/Irwin 1-2 of the weekend with O’Halloran taking third for McAms Yamaha’s first podium of 2020.

Kyle Ryde at BSB Donington Park 2020. Image courtesy of Suzuki Racing

Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde recorded a career best fourth place after securing the position thanks to a last lap move that consigned Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan to fifth place. Josh Brookes made up some lost ground to finish sixth ahead of Tarran Mackenzie and team-mate Christian Iddon.

Tommy Bridewell’s bid for third place on lap 24 almost ended in disaster but the Oxford Ducati man recovered and fought his way back through the field to finish ninth with Hector Barberá rounding out the top 10 on the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW.

Round Three 

The Honda monopoly during the opening weekend of the #BSBRestart was broken as Tommy Bridewell turned out a superb, dominant win aboard the Oxford Products Ducati to take his first win of 2020.

Save for a hairy moment early on that almost unseated the Wiltshire native, Bridewell’s dominance shone through from lights to flag and by lap 11, he was running at almost four seconds a lap quicker than the remainder of the field.

Josh Brookes looked comfortable in second before being reined in by both Irwin brothers and Jason O’Halloran. Glenn Irwin was the first to move on the Australian before the race’s dramatic moment when Andrew Irwin made his move up to second.

At the exit of Redgate, the younger Irwin pulled level with Brookes and a slight collision at the entrance to Hollywood saw the Australian fly off his VisionTrack Ducati and off the track at high speed, thankfully the 38 year old came out of the accident unhurt.

The Irwin Brothers at BSB 2020 Donington Park. Image courtesy of Honda Racing

The collision means that at the time of writing, the result remained under investigation however the maximum points achieved by Tommy Bridewell doesn’t need to be scrutinised further. Andrew Irwin finished in second but faces a time penalty with Glenn coming in third.

Jason O’Halloran ended in fourth position ahead of Christian Iddon, Danny Buchan and Tarran Mackenzie. Kyle Ryde ended an impressive race weekend with eighth place in round three ahead of Hector Barbera in ninth and Ryan Vickers completing the top 10 aboard the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki.

Support Class Round-Up 

Former British Talent Cup winner Rory Skinner took maximum points from the opening rounds of the British Supersport/British GP2 Championship with a  pair of dominant wins on the Tyser Yamaha R6.

Honda’s Tom Neave took race one of the Superstock 1000 weekend before Chrissy Rouse on the Crowe Performance BMW held off the challenge of first Lewis Rollo and then Billy McConnell to take the spoils in race two.

Owen Jenner made it three from three aboard his Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki in the Junior Supersport class while Casey O’Gorman and Franco Bourne were the weekend’s victors in the British Talent Cup.

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

All Systems Go At Donington As BSB Finally Gets Underway

At long last the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship got underway this afternoon (Saturday August 8th) at Donington Park. Here’s how the action unfolded during round one of the #BSBRestart. 

Andrew Irwin Winner, Glenn Irwin second and third Josh Brookes. Image courtesy of Honda Racing

Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin claimed victory at the climax of a thrilling three-way battle alongside his brother/team-mate Glenn and VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes.

Buildbase Suzuki’s Kyle Ryde took the early initiative from his qualifying position of third and led during the early stages going from Hector Barberá, the Irwin brothers, Danny Buchan and the Ducati pair. Andrew Irwin went into second place during the second lap, out braving Barberá in a classy move at Roberts.

Buchan crashed out early on and was joined back in the garages by Synetiq BMW’s Bradley Ray and then Barberá himself.

Andrew Irwin claimed the lead from Ryde in the sixth lap as the Suzuki rider found himself as the filling in an Irwin sandwich as Glenn took second position to fight for supremacy with his brother. Josh Brookes had been biding his time and made his move on lap eight before being reeled back in by Ryde. Unfortunately for the Buildbase Suzuki man, technical issues forced his withdrawal from the race allowing Brookes back into third.

It was Glenn Irwin who held the lead when Brookes eventually made his bid for first on lap sixteen, which was successful but only temporarily as the Irwin brothers made a brave attack on Brookes at Schwantz which powered the two Hondas into the top 2.

During a pulsating final lap, Andrew Irwin made his final and decisive move on his brother which saw him take the lead, a stern defensive approach followed which saw the younger Irwin brother take the first win of the delayed 2020 season by a tight margin of 0.119s with Brookes in third.

Brookes’ Ducati team-mate Christian Iddon claimed fourth place ahead of Oxford Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell. Luke Mossey aboard the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW came home in sixth. Tarran Mackenzie finished in seventh, ahead of team-mate and pole sitter Jason O’Halloran, whose progress was hampered by the necessity for evasive action after Danny Buchan’s accident. Ryan Vickers on the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki and Lee Jackson on the Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki rounded out the top 10.

Attention now shifts to races two and three which will take place tomorrow afternoon (Sunday August 9th).