McAMS Yamaha will give O’Halloran “everything he needs” to become British Superbike Champion for 2023..

McAMS Yamaha has today announced the re-signing of Jason O’Halloran for a renewed attack on the British Superbike Championship for 2023.

Jason O’Halloran – Image McAMS Yamaha

O’Halloran has been with the McAMS team since 2019 after switching from Honda machinery. In his successful tenure with the Japanese brand, he has scored 47 podiums aboard the R1. He finished runner up to Josh Brookes in 2020 in a close battle for the British Superbike Championship. Sadly, his recent campaigns of 2021 and 2022 have ended in disaster during the Showdown element of the season, despite such strong performances during the year leading up to it.

A pressure cooker season in 2021 saw O’Halloran crash out from the championship lead, which combined with McAMS Yamaha team-mate Tarran Mackenzie galloping off on a winning streak, saw the championship go the way of his stablemate.

2022 was a disaster for the popular Australian, most would say not of his own doing. Being taken out of both Race 1 and Race 2 at Oulton Park by Peter Hickman and Tommy Bridewell respectively, resulted in sitting out Race 3 due to injury.  That combined with a DNF at Donington Park after losing control of his machine and collecting MCE Ducati rider Tom Sykes, meant O’Halloran was out of contention before entering the series finale at Brands Hatch.

Jason O’Halloran – @ohalloran22 Twitter

Keen to put 2022 behind him,

and hoping that 2023 will be his best year yet in the team, Jason said “Deciding to continue with McAMS Yamaha for 2023 was a pretty easy choice for me. Over the last three years we’ve won 21 races together. It’s a team I feel absolutely at home with and we know we can be in a position to fight for the title as we have for the last three years.

“2022 didn’t quite end how we wanted, but that’s not to say that we didn’t have a positive year – seven wins, a load more podiums and we learned even more about the R1 so that can put us in an even stronger position for 2023. The team won’t rest on their laurels, there are new parts coming from World Superbike and we’ll continue to push on as we look to achieve our ultimate goal of becoming champion.”

Steve Rodgers, Team Owner commented: “Jason has been brilliant for the team over the last four years so keeping him on board for 2023 was our number one priority. While we were all devastated about how the 2022 season ended, after a few weeks to reflect it’s hard to say that it was a bad year – seven victories and 20 podiums is more than anyone else other than Brad.

“We know what Jason is capable of, we know he deserves to win the British Championship and we’ll do our best to give him everything he needs to do that in 2023. We’ve got some new parts coming from the guys in Italy which sound really promising, so we can’t wait to get started!”

Jason O’Halloran – Image Yamaha UK

It’s a funny silly season this year.

O’Halloran is a veteran of the British Superbike paddock and with age not on his side, the world stage likely won’t be offering up many (if any) chances to step up beyond the British level. O’Halloran is in (arguably) the best team in the paddock in terms of structure and support. The only other team many consider a rivalling to Steve Rogers’ McAMS outfit ran from the Fleetwood based Raceways Yamaha, is the PBM Racing MCE Ducati team however with Paul Bird’s team announcing the lineup of Tommy Bridewell and Glenn Irwin, 2023 could turn out to be McAMS Yamaha’s toughest season to date.

Still with no word yet on Tarran Mackenzie’s future, there aren’t many names left looking for a ride that haven’t already been announced. With a handful of spaces available in BSB, there only seems a handful of riders and teams yet to announce their future plans.

Synetiq BMW are still to announce their direction. Lee Hardy’s Vision Track Kawasaki are also waiting to follow suit. FS-3 Kawasaki are yet to announce their second rider along with Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha and McAMS themselves. It seems actually this year there are more good bikes available than the number of riders who could actually ride them!

Hopefully we will hear more this weekend at the upcoming Motorcycle Live show in Birmingham.

Thanks for reading. Follow on twitter for more Motorcycle chat and debate.

Lightning Strikes for Christian Iddon as he targets a return to BSB Success in 2023 with Oxford Products Racing Ducati

Christian Iddon – Image Vision Track Ducati 2020-2021

Another piece of the 2023 jigsaw has fallen into place with Oxford Products Racing Ducati announcing the signing of British Superbike veteran and multiple race winner, Christian Iddon.

Having previously rode for the Vision Track Ducati PBM Team in the 2020 and 2021 season, where Iddon took 21 podium finishes, including 3 race wins, there is certainly enough evidence to suggest a title challenge is more than on the cards. Iddon has everything he needs to mount a successful campaign next year.

Riding for a team with years of experience running the Ducati V4-R, albeit a new version is being released next year. Rumour has it the new bike isn’t much of a change for the team as they are currently running parts on their current bike that are being integrated into the new V4-R next year, so hopefully it will be a case of small setting adjustments, but the aim has to be race wins straight out of the box.

The major positives are the team has a whole wealth of data to fall back on after 4 years with former Oxford Products rider Tommy Bridewell. Christian Iddon also has 2 very successful years under his belt aboard the Ducati with the PBM team, so much so that Iddon was very surprised to be dropped from the team early in 2022 leaving him adrift before finding a last-minute home in the Buildbase team, which unfortunately (and Christian would be the first to say) was a season of frustration on both parts for one reason and another. Iddon was very positive about the Hawk Racing team when I interviewed him during the summer (which you can read here) He did not have a bad word to say about them but it’s clear for all to see, he absolutely suits the characteristics of the Ducati V4-R and I cannot blame him for grasping this opportunity with both hands.

Iddon joining Oxford Products Racing Ducati also puts to bed the sensational rumours that Danilo Petrucci would be joining the British Superbike circus after team owner Steve Moore neither confirmed nor denied rumours recently that he was in talks with the multi skilled ex-MotoGP race winner. As you can see in the below statement, Moore confirms a one rider team again for 2023.

Christian Iddon – Image Oxford Products Racing Ducati

The press release comments: –

Iddon said: “Ducati is the manufacturer that I have had the most success with when I had two fantastic years on the bike previously. My 2021 season was much better than my 2020 season but the end result didn’t reflect it, it was circumstance that did. I felt I was getting stronger all the time on it so it feels great to be heading back to Ducati and to a new team for me with Oxford Products Racing Ducati. Moto Rapido is a team that I have kept an eye on for a while, I have always been pals with the Team Owner, Steve, so hopefully that stays! It is a team that has always had success, but in the last couple of years, they have had even more. They have really stepped up with the combined effort of rider with Tommy [Bridewell] and the team in recent years. Certainly last year they were the Ducati team who had everything required to take the fight for the championship and that is the important part for me. They are a team who are constantly developing and very technically minded which I believe will suit me. I am really looking forward to the challenge and what it may bring. I am coming off the back of what I think has been my hardest ever year in the championship. I have had worst seasons with injuries, but I have never had one where the effort and the possibility was so contrasting to the actual result that we actually got because I believe we had the potential. That is the nature of the beast and that is racing and sport. I am really looking forward now to trying to right those wrongs and get back to where I believe I should be and setting my sights back on my goal, which is to be British Champion.”

Team Owner Steve Moore commented: – “Firstly, thank you to Oxford Products for their continued support. We have gone from strength to strength with their help and we look forward to continuing to reward them with another fantastic season in 2023. They are a company with racing in their heart and they have become an integral part of our racing. Thanks to the boss Andrew Hammond for the continued and increased support even in these uncertain times. I know BSB fans will be sure to pick something from the Oxford shelves in their local dealerships too. I’m also very pleased to welcome Christian to the team; he was the number one choice for me. His experience of Ducati and the great form he had on the V4-R before is confidence inspiring. The bike has developed substantially since he last rode it, so I can’t wait to get him on our bike and begin making it work for him with the 2023 updates. I am sure he will thrive with the focus of being in a one rider team. I’ve already had many technical conversations with him and we seem to be on the same page – he’s as nerdy as me with the technical details so we do get along really well and that’s key to the racing family ethic in our team.  He even seems to have a sense of humour too, which he’ll need!”

I’m sure I speak for most of the British Superbike fans when I say next year is going to be phenomenal and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Iddon going into the final race of the year with a chance of becoming British Superbike Champion.

Get the trophy cabinet extended Christian, you are going to need it!

RacingArmchair

 

Honda Racing UK confirms Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave for 2023 British Superbikes

Honda Racing UK have announced the signing of Andrew Irwin alongside retaining former National Superstock 1000 champion, Tom Neave for their 2023 British Superbike campaign.

Andrew Irwin – Honda Racing UK – Source @AndrewIrwin8 Twitter

After a difficult couple of seasons with the Synetiq BMW squad during the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Irwin has decided a move back to familiar territory is on the cards in a renewed push for championship gold and glory. In his previous tenure as a Honda Racing UK rider, 2019/2020, Irwin took no less than 4 wins and finished his best year in 6th position overall in 2020.

Compared to his stint on the BMW M1000RR, where the team have struggled with both riders to get the bikes into a strong operating window, Irwin has produced zero wins and a best overall finish of 13th position in the championship. It’s little wonder the availability of a CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade vacated by brother, Glenn Irwin, after he announced his signing with MCE Ducati for 2023, was enough to sway the Northern Irishman’s choice to return to a familiar team, on a bike that has won races as recently as the final round of 2022.

Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave – Honda Racing UK

Alongside the Andrew Irwin announcement, the team have confirmed 2022 rider Tom Neave will race for them again in 2023. At the same time, Honda Racing UK have confirmed that Takumi Takahashi and Ryo Mizuno will move on to pastures new, whilst helping the team with testing duties when called upon.

Official Statements: –

Andrew Irwin said: “I am really excited to have signed for Honda for 2023 and I can’t wait to get back on the Fireblade. It was a bike I loved and I believe I am getting on an even better bike than when I left two years ago so I can’t wait to get back on it and just to get stuck into it. I can’t thank Neil and Harv enough for giving me the opportunity to return and I hope I can do a good job. The bike is good which Glenn proved in 2022 and there is no reason why we can’t have a strong championship. I think we have a strong team with good people around me. I plan to have a really good off season and work hard and try to come into 2023 season in the best shape possible. I can’t wait to get back on board and look forward to testing in March.”

Tom Neave said: “I’m absolutely delighted to remain with Honda Racing for what will be my fifth consecutive season in 2023. We have achieved a lot together over the previous seasons, so to remain on the Fireblade for another year will be a positive step for me. There’s no denying my first full season on the Superbike has been a tough one, but continuity is key at this point and the experience I have gained along the way has been invaluable. Next season I look forward to repaying the faith that Honda have shown in me, so I’ll be doing my all to take the next step in my racing career. I can’t wait to get started!”

Havier Beltran, Team Manager, Honda Racing UK said: “We’re delighted to welcome back Andrew alongside Tom in 2023. We’ve shared moments with Andrew like his and the bike’s first wins, and now we’re very happy to be able to bring him back to the family. The 2022 season was a learning year for Tom having graduated from Superstock, and with that experience he’s ready to take the next step in 2023. Alongside Andrew, we have an exciting line-up full of promise and potential. This year has continued to demonstrate the performance of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and it’s encouraging to have finished our 2022 campaign so strongly. I’d like to thank Glenn for his dedication and hard work and the success we’ve enjoyed together. Similarly, it’s been a pleasure having Ryo and Takumi on board for these last two seasons. We wish them well in the next step in their career and hope to work with them again in the future.”

Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK concluded: “Since 2020 when the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP took its first BSB victory, we’ve continued to demonstrate how much of a force to be reckoned with the new bike is, and 2022 was no exception. Now, it’s with excitement and promise that I look forward to 2023, welcoming Andrew back to the team alongside Tom. Andrew is no stranger to Honda Racing UK and the Fireblade, having played a pivotal role in its development with Honda Racing UK throughout 2020, so we believe it’s a great fit to have him back with us. We start the 2023 season full of optimism and enthusiasm after a strong run in 2022 narrowly missing out on the title, so that’s the target for next season.”

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Glenn Irwin joins PBM Ducati for the 2023 British Superbike Campaign: Rules out Isle of Man TT.

Paul Bird’s British Superbike Ducati team have announced the signing of Glenn Irwin for the 2023 British Superbike season.

Glenn Irwin PBM Ducati – Image Courtesy Double Red Photography

The Northern Irishman retuning back to a team he has previously ridden for between 2016 and 2018, alongside series legend Shane Byrne before a short stint with FS-3 Kawasaki Racing, and then settling in the Honda camp for 3 seasons.

Glenn has been very vocal about his desires to continue racing with the Honda brand but after being approached by Paul Bird recently, Irwin has decided a move over to Ducati machinery aboard the updated for 2023 Ducati Panigale V4R is the move that he believes will take him to British Championship success.

In an interview given to the BBC Sport website, Glenn confirms he will not attend the Isle of Man TT in 2023 as a competitor, with PBM Ducati. “I love doing the event but I don’t love it as much as my kids”.  It would seem for now after a desperately sad year, where 6 people lost their lives at the TT and with the recent tragic passings of Chrissy Rouse and Victor Steeman that perhaps Glenn has decided to stick with the safer of the 2 events, BSB over the Isle of Man TT.

Irwin believes he has a better chance of winning the BSB title in 2023 with PBM, even if it means he has to sacrifice entering the Isle of Man race where PBM won’t make an appearance. With this in mind it seems to have aided Glenn in choosing the best option for him for the season, after all his earnings and security come from the British Superbikes and I say fair play to someone thinking of their family first.

On the move, Glenn says “Re-joining PBM after four years apart is something I’m relishing as I feel I’ve improved as a rider and as a person during that time. The experience away has taught me a lot and to be coming back to the most successful team in the paddock is a fantastic opportunity. I’m in a stronger position now and we both know how each other works so the timing is perfect. I want to win, and Birdy wants to win and with Tommy as a very strong teammate, it will drive us all on. I’ve proved I can challenge for the title this year, so the plan is to go one better next season.”

Team Owner Paul Bird “With Glenn joining Tommy, I think we have an unbelievable line up for 2023 with the riders that finished second and third in this year’s championship. It’s great to have Glenn back as we have had a lot of success together in the past and he’s probably left what I would regard as one of the best, if not the best, team in the paddock to come to us. After a disappointing season for PBM, it will be good to be back at the sharp end.”

Tommy Bridewell joins Paul Bird Ducati for 2023 British Superbike title attack

Seemingly the worst kept secret in silly season is finally announced. Tommy Bridewell will race with the Paul Bird Motorsport squad for 2023 in the British Superbikes.

Tommy Bridewell PBM Ducati – Picture courtesy PBM Ducati / Double Red Photography

Bridewell had been rumoured to be joining the PBM Ducati lineup for a few weeks now and the rumours gained traction when Steve Moore, Team Principal of the Oxford Products Ducati team, which Bridewell has ridden with for the last 4 years, took to Twitter to sayThank you Tommy Bridewell, Stacey Jo and the Bridewell family for a mega 4.5 years. They said we’d never get along, but the results made our team! I’m so proud that he was in demand from several big factory teams. He has earned his place. Now we’ve got to try to beat him.”

On the same day Bridewell was quoted by Ducati on social media “It was nice to end the @OfficialBSB season on some strong results. It was my last race with @MotoRapidoBSB, I’d like to wish them every success in their future and a huge thank you for everything they have done for me.”

On signing with PBM Ducati, Bridewell said “This is my best shot at winning the title with a team that knows all about winning British Championships. I’ve known the team for a long time and this represents a fantastic opportunity as I’ve strived for years to beat them. There was a consensus that we should work together and PBM can guide me towards our goal. I’m confident in my riding and the team can give me the technical support I need. The job comes with added pressure but it’s one I’m relishing.”  

Team owner Paul Bird said “I’m delighted to have Tommy joining the team for 2023. He came up to me in the paddock as a 15-year-old when he was just starting out and told me he would ride for me one day and now it’s going to happen. He’s done a great job on a Ducati over these past couple of years and has been one of our toughest rivals so to have him on board with us is fantastic and we can’t wait to get started.”

We are still awaiting confirmation of who will fill the second seat alongside Tommy Bridewell. Lots of rumours are floating around at the moment but until it is confirmed, we have to keep biting our nails and waiting for news.

Follow me on Twitter @RacingArmchair for daily racing chat and updates.

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.

 

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.”

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.

 

Snetterton 300 – British Superbikes Round 8 – 2022 Race Report

Who do you think is going to be the 2022 British Superbike Champion?

The Showdown is finalised and now the nail biting starts. Round 8 of the BSB season was an important one for a small group of riders. Some hoping to secure their spot in the showdown, while others hoping to snatch a spot away from their competitors. In with a chance to enter the showdown were Danny Buchan, Peter Hickman and Leon Haslam and hoping to retain their place were Lee Jackson, Glenn Irwin, Tommy Bridewell, Tarran Mackenzie and Kyle Ryde.

BSB Snetterton 11.09.2022 Picture courtesy of Josh Brookes

As is always the case with British Superbikes, there is a trend for riders who have struggled in the earlier part of the season to start hitting the top 10 and Round 8 was no different. A surprise podium for Kyle Ryde after a poor showing in the last few rounds, joined by Christian Iddon in 4th, who has the skillset for this position but perhaps not the backup from him machinery. Leon Haslam fought back into the top 5 again in Race 1, as he seems to be getting the Vision Track Kawasaki dialed in albeit too little, too late. Also a surprise top 10 finish from Danny Kent and Takumi Takahashi in 11th. While regular top 10 finishers Peter Hickman, Glenn Irwin and somewhat regular top 10 finisher, Tom Sykes were in the mix too.

Danny Buchan needed to have a strong round to gain a position in the title Showdown but a lap 1 pileup seemingly caused by yet another Ryan Vickers DNF took him out along with Josh Owens, effectively ending his chance to secure a position in the top 8 positions. Tommy Bridewell was also left looking at the championship standings through gritted teeth after his Race 1 DNF when his Oxford Products Ducati Panigale stopped along the start finish straight causing his retirement from the race. Eurosport’s Steve Day and Jamie Whitham confirmed that Tommy had accidentally hit the kill switch on his bike and with the modern superbikes, it simply is not a case of flicking it back on. The bike needed to stop and reset the whole system, by which point Tommy was at the rear of the field.

Race 1. A dominant victory from Rich Energy OMG Racing’s Bradley Ray has seen him extend his lead in the championship, but more importantly his podium credits too. A very strong 2nd place from Tarran Mackenzie sees him gain a few more points in the chase for retaining his championship, especially with their championship rival Jason O’Halloran continuing a sudden avoidance of the podium positions after a poor Cadwell Park by finishing Race 1 at Snetterton down in 12th place. His position within the Showdown is secure, but with full podium credits going to rival Brad Ray, never has it been more important for the O’Show to turn in a championship winning performance. Congratulations to Kyle Ryde. Ryde ended his recent run of poor form with a 3rd place podium finish secured his place within the Showdown and no doubt gives the young rider a huge sigh of relief, and much needed boost of confidence.

Race 1 Results: – Brad Ray, Taz Mackenzie, Kyle Ryde, Christian Iddon, Leon Haslam, Lee Jackson, Tom Sykes, Peter Hickman, Glenn Irwin, Danny Kent, Takumi Takahashi, Jason O’Halloran, Josh Brookes, Tom Neave, Storm Stacey.

Race 2 started well for Ray, Mackenzie, Ryde and O’Halloran until a wheel-to-wheel collision between Andy Irwin and Jason O’Halloran caused Irwin to crash and dropped O’Halloran down the field to 6th place. Bradley Ray and Tarran Mackenzie continued to gap the field, with Bridewell chasing hard in 3rd. The laps counted down with a steady away race after an overtake from Mackenzie into the lead, with the battles continuing further down the field. Danny Buchan putting a harsh move on Lee Jackson when trying to pass up the inside at the right-hand hairpin, with contact from Buchan’s bike into Lee Jackson. Luckily Jackson was able to take the brunt of it and continue the race while Buchan moved on to attack Sykes on the MCE Ducati, which allowed Jackson to come through with him. Buchan moved on to attack McAMS Jason O’Halloran to further compound the Australian rider’s frustrations, also allowing Lee Jackson past. One lap to go and Bradley Ray has done his research behind Mackenzie. Closing right up on the rear wheel they entered the last lap Bradley Ray timed his slipstream to perfection, putting his move on Mackenzie in the chicane at the midpoint leaving no way back for Taz.

Race 2 victory cemented for Ray followed by Mackenzie, Bridewell, Glenn Irwin, Hickman, Ryde, Buchan, Jackson, O’Halloran, Sykes, Skinner, Brookes, Stacey, Neave, Mizuno.

Race 3. Started in much of the same way as Race 2. Not a slugfest, no wild moves. Plenty of tyre saving going on after Taz took the lead from Ray. Storm Stacey’s stricken Kawasaki brought out the safety car at the midpoint of the race. Upon resuming the race, when rounding the last corner, it seems Mackenzie had misjudged his distance to the safety car and closing speed, as by the time Tarran made his jump for rolling race restart, Mackenzie, Ray and Glenn Irwin overtook the safety car while it was still on the track, albeit just slowing down while entering the pit lane. Each rider was handed a 2 second time penalty which affected the finish positions of Race 3. Bradley Ray had enough of a gap to maintain 1st place. Glenn Irwin finished in 2nd on the track but was demoted to 4th after the penalty which put Peter Hickman in 2nd place and Tarran Mackenzie just managed to pickup 3rd on time after his penalty. A bit of a mess really and it took some time to explain to the riders what happened, but Stuart Higgs of British Superbike explained that the result stands and the rules must be applied. Tarran was later hit with 2 penalty points on his racing license as he lead the field into the early race restart.

BSB Snetterton 11.09.2022 Brad Ray Picture courtesy of Official BSB

Race 3: – Ray, Hickman, Mackenzie, Glenn Irwin, O’Halloran, Haslam, Bridewell, Ryde, Andy Irwin, Jackson, Brookes, Kent, Neave, Mizuno, Harrison.

The Showdown positions have been finalised, and the podium credits have been applied and this is how the championship now looks moving forward to Oulton Park in 2 weeks’ time.

1 – Brad Ray – 1061

2 – Jason O’Halloran – 1048

3 – Tarran Mackenzie – 1031

4 – Glenn Irwin – 1016

5 – Lee Jackson – 1014

6 – Kyle Ryde – 1013

7 – Rory Skinner – 1009

8 – Tommy Bridewell – 1008

Who do you think will win the 2022 British Superbike Championship?

Feature image courtesy of Oxford Products Moto Rapido BSB

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