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.”

Follow me on twitter for more motorcycle racing interaction.

Round 11 WorldSBK Mandalika, Indonesia, Race 2

The Superpole race saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim his 2nd win of the weekend, followed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha).

WorldSBK Indonesia 15.11.2022 Jonathan Rea Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) would need a podium finish to claim his first championship, and Ducati’s first championship for 11 years. Could Toprak stand in his way?

Lights out and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea, who quickly sensed an opportunity and made a quick pass to take over the lead, followed by Locatelli and Bautista. Redding (BMW Motorrad) was in 5th.

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Locatelli 4. Bautista 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Redding 7. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 8. Vierge (Honda HRC) 9. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 10. Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad).

With 19 laps to go the lead group of 4 were already pulling away from the rest. It was Locatelli with the fastest lap a 1:33.2. Meanwhile further back it was 11. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 12. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 15. Nozane (GRT Yamaha).

With 17 of 21 laps to go, it was Bassani with the fastest lap a 1:32.9. Bautista then came through on Locatelli to take 3rd. Bassani had now caught up with the lead group, now made up of 5 riders. The Italian was looking aggressive and barged through on his fellow countryman Locatelli, to take 4th.

Next lap and Toprak made his move on Rea into the hairpin corner at turn 10 taking the lead. Redding meanwhile dropped down to 10th, allowing both Gerloff and Rinaldi through.

Next lap and Rea ran wide, allowing a grateful Bautista to come through into 2nd. Toprak held a gap of 0.4s at the front.

With 14 laps to go Bassani came through on Rea, the Ducati’s acceleration proving too much for the ZX 10-RR, which couldn’t match it in the high track temperatures, which were nearing 70 degrees Celsius.

Coming up to half race distance, and Rea fought back taking Bassani with a neat pass up the inside into turn 12 to move back into 3rd. Meanwhile a miserable season for Nozane (GRT Yamaha) got worse with him crashing out into turn 11, and his race was over. At the front Bautista was right on Toprak and looking for the win to cap his impressive season off.

With 9 laps to go, Redding came through on Lowes to take 7th. Meanwhile Gerloff lost places and dropped down to 10th. Then as we’ve seen a number of times this season, Bautista used the power and speed of the “red missile” to blast past Toprak, and fire himself into the lead into turn 1. Toprak however, was up for the fight and snapped straight back a few corners later to retake the lead, and again Alvaro would again take the lead. This was a becoming a good scrap.

With 6 laps to go Bautista was still out in front. Meanwhile Toprak held a gap of 0.5s to Rea behind in 3rd. As was also the case for much of the season, these three were away, and clear from the rest of the field. Rea in 3rd held a gap of 2.5s to Bassani 4th, Locatelli 5th held a gap of 4.2s to Vierge in 6th.

Next lap and Toprak wasn’t going to let the win go without a fight, and he passed Bautista once again to take the lead.

With 4 laps to go Toprak continued his late race charge, and set a new fastest lap of 1:32.846 in the process, increasing the gap to Bautista behind to 0.6s. Meanwhile Bassani and Locatelli were battling it out for 4th.

Next lap and Toprak continued to widen the gap, now at 1.1s. Bautista looked content to take 2nd. Meanwhile Gerloff had fought back to 8th behind Vierge in 7th.

WorldSBK Indonesia 15.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to take his 3rd win of the weekend, but it was Alvaro Bautista who claimed the championship coming over in 2nd, Rea in 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bassani 5th, Redding 6th, Vierge 7th, Gerloff 8th, Lowes 9th, Rinaldi 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 553 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 487
  3. Rea – 450

Round 11 WorldSBK Mandalika, Indonesia, Race 1

Temperatures were scorching for the second visit to Indonesia, 36 degrees Celsius air temp, and 60 degrees track temp, amidst blazing sunshine. None of the deluge that was faced by the riders and fans last time round thankfully. Indeed the race was actually brought forward to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.

WorldSBK Round 11 Indonesia 12.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

The other big news was that the track was recently resurfaced, and only had a very narrow racing line down so far. This combined with the high temperatures, meant it would be a very nervous race for the riders.

Superpole went to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), with an unbeaten time of 1:31.371, followed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT), and Pata Yamaha team mate Andrea Locatelli. Iker Lecuona and Mahias were both ruled unfit to start the race after bad crashes in practice.

Lights out then for the 900th race in WorldSBK, and it was the pole man Toprak Razgatlioglu with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by his team mate Locatelli, Rea, and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati). Both Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) and Redding (BMW Motorrad), suffered bad starts getting nudged off the line, and found themselves down in 10th and 19th respectively.

Next lap, and Rea was looking to make early ground, moved past Locatelli, and set the new fastest lap in the process with a 1:33.078. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Rea 3. Locatelli 4. Bautista 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Vierge (Honda HRC) 7. Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 8. Rinadli (Aruba.it Ducati) 9. Lowes 10. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha). Toprak held a gap of 0.6s to Rea.

On lap 19 of 21 it was the turn of Bautista to come through on Locatelli. Toprak still held a gap of 0.3s out in front. Meanwhile further back it was Lowes 8th, Rinaldi 9th, and Gerloff in 10th.

Toprak had been quick all weekend, and put in the new fastest lap with a 1:32.886 on lap 17 of 21.

With 15 laps remaining, Toprak increased his lead to 1.2s, with Rea struggling to match the pace in the tricky conditions. Bautista 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bassani 5th. Vd Mark had a moment and dropped back to 10th.

With 13 laps left, Bautista had now caught Rea and was looking for the pass. He made his move with a nice clean pass up the inside of Rea into the penultimate corner, Rea had no response and Bautista moved into 2nd. Meanwhile further back it was: Vierge 6th, Lowes 7th and Rinaldi 8th.

Coming up to half race distance, and Toprak had increased his lead to 3.2s over Bautista, and was looking quite comfortable. Then drama for both Oettl (GoEleven Ducati), and Mercado (MIE Honda). The former had a nasty looking crash, losing the back end in a fast corner, which sent the German flying over the front of his Ducati. Mercado had a mechanical issue, and his race was over.

With 9 laps left both Bassani and Toprak had big moments and lost places, Toprak ran off the track, and lost time to Bautista, with the gap cut down to 1.1s. Meanwhile further back there was now a three way battle for 6th between: Vierge 6th, Vd Mark 7th and Lowes 8th.

With 7 laps to go, the current positions as they stood meant that the championship would go on until tomorrow.

Next lap and Rinaldi was showing good late race pace, and moved through on Locatelli moving up to 4th. Meanwhile Toprak had recovered his pace, and had brought the gap back up to 2.3s over Bautista. Bautista of course didn’t need to take any unnecessary risks at this stage in the championship, and would have his chance to wrap up the title in the next few races. Rinaldi then ran wide into a corner losing his place to Locatelli. Meanwhile further back Gerloff had joined the scrap for 6th, which had now become a four way battle.

With 3 laps left, Toprak was managing his gap which was still 2.3s and looked comfortable to take the win. Then more drama for Vd Mark who crashed out into turn 16 and his race was over.

WorldSBK Round 11 Indonesia 12.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to take his 28th win for Yamaha, which was the all time highest currently, followed by Bautista and Rea. Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi 5th, Vierge 6th, Gerloff 7th, Bassani 8th, Lowes 9th, Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 527 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 450
  3. Rea – 425

 

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.”

Round 9 WorldSBK Portimao, Portugal, Race 1

The earlier Superpole saw Rea (Kawasaki KRT) claim top spot with an unbeaten lap time of 1:39.610, followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), and Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) in 2nd, and 3rd respectively.

An earlier red flagged incident in the SSP300 race, forced race direction to delay the start of race 1, and subsequently cut the laps down to 14. This was going to be a short and sharp shootout, reminiscent of a Superpole race.

WSBK 08.10.2022 Portimao, Alex Lowes picture courtesy of KRT Kawasaki

Lights out then for the delayed start to Race 1, and it was Rea with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Lowes, Toprak, and Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati).

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Bassani 5. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) 6. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 7. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha). Further back it was Lecuona (Honda HRC) 11th, Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 12th, and Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) in 15th.

With 12 laps to go Rea was making the most of his good start, and was extending his lead over the reigning champion in 2nd, putting in the fastest lap of the race with a 1:40.604, and held a gap of 0.6s. After initially making a good start, Lowes now found himself down in 4th, after first Toprak, then Bassani and Bautista overtook him.

Next lap and Toprak had cut the gap to Rea down to 0.4s, and set the new fastest lap of the race in the process with a 1:40.328. Bautista was now in 4th, after coming through on Lowes, but he would have work to do if he intended on catching his title rivals out in the lead.

With 10 laps to go Rea only held a gap of 0.1s to Toprak, who in turn held a gap of 0.5s to Bassani behind in 3rd.

Next lap and Toprak makes an aggressive move on Rea into turn 1, the R1 getting out of shape and Toprak slammed under Rea, while the rear of the R1 was sideways. No love lost between the pair!

With 7 laps to go, Bautista, as was a familiar scenario this season, was finding good late race pace and passed Bassani to take over 3rd. This group of 5 riders had pulled out a significant gap to the rest of the field. Further back it was Locatelli in 6th, and Redding in 7th. Rea held a gap of 0.7s to Bautista behind.

With 5 laps to go Bautista had cut the gap to Rea down to 0.2s, and was soon going to be all over the back of the ZX10-RR.

Next lap and Bautista, after getting good traction out of turn 15, blasted past Rea down the straight and briefly into 2nd, although he over cooked it into the corner, and subsequently ran out wide, allowing Rea to retake the position. The intention from the Spaniard was clear however. Meanwhile further back it was Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) in 8th, Vierge (Honda HRC) 9th, and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 10th.

With 3 laps to go Bautista lined up Rea, and this time made the pass stick, moving into 2nd. Toprak was clear out in the lead, and held a gap of 1.5s, which you felt was enough to see him take the win. Meanwhile Lowes had found a bit extra, and was all over the back of Bassani looking for a pass.

Next lap and Lowes lined up Bassani, and made a pass, but the Italian snapped straight back into turn 5 to retake the lead.

WSBK 08.10.2022 Portimao – Podium: Razgatlioglu, Bautista, Rea, picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap and Toprak crossed the line to claim the win, followed by Bautista in 2nd, and Rea in 3rd. Bassani 4th, Lowes 5th, Locatelli 6th, Rinaldi 7th, Vierge 8th, Baz 9th, Gerloff 10th. Drama for Scott Redding, who went down into turn 5, was able to pick up the bike and eventually crossed the line down in 18th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  5. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 414 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 360
  3. Rea – 343

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?

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

Round 7 WorldSBK, Magny-Cours, France, Race 2

The Superpole race saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim the win, followed by Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) and Rea (KRT Kawasaki) respectively.

With the track temperature nearing 40 degrees Celsius for race 2, the action on track would surely be heating up too.

Lights out for race 2, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn 1, followed closely by Bautista and Rea. As was the case in race 1, Bautista used the power of the Ducati to blast into the lead down the back straight, Toprak didn’t have an answer. Then Rea dived into 2nd place, looking aggressive early on. Lowes (KRT Kawasaki) got pushed out wide, and dropped down into 6th. Then massive drama as Rea took out the championship leader, sending Bautista flailing into the gravel. Rea caught him on the inside into turn 13, and the two bikes bumped into each other. There was nothing Bautista could do about that, and his race was over.

WorldSBK Magny Cours 11.09.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Next lap and positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 3. Rea 4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 5. Lowes. Then Bassani takes the lead making a great move on Toprak, and sets the new fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.000. Positions were changing, by numerous riders, every corner in a chaotic start to the race.

With 17 laps remaining, Rea got a long lap penalty for the incident with Bautista. Positions were as follows: 1. Bassani 2. Toprak 3. Rinaldi 4. Lowes 5. Rea 6. Redding (BMW Motorrad) 7. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 8. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 9. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 10. Lecuona (Honda HRC).

With 15 laps left, Bassani was having one of his best races of the season so far, and doing his best at keeping the world champion at bay behind in 2nd. The leading trio of Bassani, Toprak and Rinaldi had now pulled away from the rest. Rea took his penalty, and rejoined in 7th, in front of Baz 8th and Gerloff in 9th. The gap from Rinaldi in 3rd to Lowes in 4th was 1.2s, and Lowes held a gap of 1.4s to Redding behind in 5th. Rinaldi then makes an audacious move and moved from 3rd into the lead, taking both Bassani and Toprak. Toprak snapped back and took 2nd, while Bassani got forced into 3rd.

With 13 laps to go, Lowes had clawed his way back onto the leading group. Rea had moved up to 6th, and was in front of Locatelli in 7th.

Next lap and Vierge (Honda HRC), went down into turn 13, his race was over. Rinaldi was holding his own out in the lead, and so far was managing to keep Toprak at bay. Toprak however, was getting quicker lap by lap, and set a new fastest lap of 1:36.8. Bassani held a gap of 0.4s to Lowes behind in 4th. Meanwhile further back it was Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki) 12th, and Nozane (GRT Yamaha) 14th.

Just over half race distance, and Redding in 5th held a gap of 1.7s to Rea in 6th.  Bassani was struggling to keep contact with Rinaldi and Toprak, both had pulled away.

With 8 laps to go, Toprak eventually made his move, and came through on Rinaldi to retake the lead.

With 6 laps remaining, Toprak had pulled out the gap to 0.4s to Rinaldi, who then ran too hot into turn 11, the Chicane, running straight through, and losing time in the process. The gap to Toprak in the lead was now up to 0.8s.

Next lap and Rea moved up into 5th after Redding ran wide. Further back there was a three way battle for 7th between Locatelli, Gerloff 8th and Baz 9th.

With 3 laps to go, Toprak now held a gap of 0.7s to Rinaldi in 2nd, Bassani was in 3rd, Lowes 4th, and Rea in 5th.

WorldSBK Magny Cours 11.09.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Last lap, and Toprak crossed the line to take his 2nd win of the weekend. Rinaldi took 2nd, and Bassani took 3rd, to claim his 2nd podium of the weekend. Lowes 4th, Rea 5th, Redding 6th, Locatelli 7th, Gerloff 8th, Baz 9th, and Lecuona 10th.

Result top 5:

  1. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  2. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati)
  3. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  4. Lowes (KRT Kawasaki)
  5. Rea (KRT Kawasaki)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 332
  2. Razgatlioglu – 302
  3. Rea – 285

Round 7 WorldSBK, Magny-Cours, France, Race 1

Superpole saw Rea (KRT Kawasaki) take top spot with an unbeaten time of 1:36.124, followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), and Redding (BMW Motorrad) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Conditions were perfect for Race 1, with Toprak opting to go with a harder front tyre, while most of the grid chose a softer option.

WorldSBK Magny Cours 10.09.2022 Bautista – Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Lights out for race 1, and it was Toprak with the hole shot into turn one, followed by Redding, Rea and Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati). Lowes (KRT Kawasaki) in particular, was looking quite aggressive early doors. With his hard front tyre yet to get up to race temperature, Toprak ran wide and allowed Redding to come through and snatch the lead.

Next lap and both Toprak, and Rea came through on Redding, the Brit getting barged down into 3rd. And then in the space of a one lap, massive drama as first Rea goes down into the last chicane turn 17, looking like he clipped the curb on the exit. A few corners later, and Toprak appeared as if he could not get his Yamaha R1 stopped into turn 13, with the rear violently snapping around. It could have been a nasty crash, but with the skill of a world champ he was able to rejoin the race in 23rd. Rea was not as lucky,  his ZX-10RR needed to have work done on it, and went back to the garage.

Bautista was now in 2nd behind Redding, and could no doubt scarcely believe his luck, with his two main title rivals both going out.

With 17 laps remaining positions were as follows: 1. Redding 2. Bautista 3. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 4. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 6. Lowes 7. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha).

Next lap and Bautista had closed the gap to Redding, and was looking for a way past. The gap behind to Baz in 3rd was now 1.4s. With the power, and in particular the aggressive acceleration of the Ducati, Redding was battling to keep Bautista at bay. The Spaniard does eventually come through on Redding, snapping under him to take over the lead. Further back it was the Honda HRC team mates of Lecuona and Vierge in 8th, and 9th respectively, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 12th, and Toprak was in 23rd.

On lap 9 of 21, Bautista ran wide, and allowed Redding to close the gap. Meanwhile behind in 3rd, Baz was struggling to keep contact with the leading two, and had now been caught by Bassani and Rinaldi.

Rea managed to get back out on track after his bike was repaired, and was obviously trying to get a few more laps of racing in, although any chance of scoring points was now out of the question. Meanwhile at the front, there was now a three way scrap for 3rd, with both Bassani and Rinaldi  keen to claim a podium. Further back it was Gerloff and Lowes in 6th, and 7th respectively.

With 10 laps to go, Rinaldi made his move, and dived under Bassani to take 4th. And with the pressure mounting behind, Baz crashed out and into the gravel, his race was over. Meanwhile at the front, Bautista was now finding his groove, and set the new fastest lap of the race of a 1:36.715, increasing his lead over Redding to 1.2s.

With 8 laps remaining, Rinaldi over shot turn 1 and flew across the gravel, although he was able to stay upright and rejoin the race in 8th. Meanwhile at the front Bautista continued to increase his lead, with the gap now 1.5s to Redding. Incredibly, Toprak was now up to 14th, after scything through the back end of the field, and was in point scoring contention.

Next lap, and Bautista as usually happens on the Ducati, was finding extra pace in the second half of the race, and the gap had increased to 1.6s to Redding. Gerloff was having a decent race in 4th, as too was Lecuona further back in 6th.

With 4 laps to go, Locatelli had moved up from 12th, and was now in 9th. Gerloff was all over the back of Lowes in 4th, and looking for a way past, although the Brit was having a decent race himself, and rode aggressively as he had all race. Postions were as follows: 1. Bautista 2. Redding 3. Bassani 4. Lowes 5. Gerloff.

Next lap and Bautista was looking comfortable out in the lead, with a gap of now almost 3s to Redding. Vierge looked to be having some trouble as he was steadily losing places, and was now down in 13th.

Final lap, and Bautista crossed the line to take the win, followed by Redding who had one of his best races of the season so far. Bassani 3rd, Lowes 4th, Gerloff 5th, Rinaldi 6th, Locatelli 7th, Oettl (GoEleven Ducati), 8th, Lecuona 9th, Mahias (Puccetti Kawaski) 10th. Toprak 11th.

Result top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Redding (BMW Motorrad)
  3. Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati)
  4. Lowes (KRT Kawaski)
  5. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 323
  2. Rea – 267
  3. Razgatioglu – 265

Feature image courtesy of WorldSBK

British Superbikes Snetterton – Round 7

The second most important round of the year? The final round before the Showdown positions are confirmed.

With 3 races to go until the top 8 contenders for the British Superbike Championship are promoted into the Showdown, their points reset to 1000 and their podium credits applied, Snetterton is one of the most important rounds of the year. People are saying that the pressure is now off for Bradley Ray, Jason O’Halloran and Rory Skinner, who have already mathematically secured a place in the Showdown, but those people are wrong. The pressure is relentless now. Podium credits are King.

At the point of writing this piece, there are only 2 podium credits between O’Halloran and Ray should the showdown start now. O’Halloran is on 48 while Brad Ray is on 46, with Tarran Mackenzie back on 24 podium credits. After a poor round at Cadwell Park, O’Halloran has lost his advantage to Ray significantly while also losing the lead in the current overall standings. However, under the British Superbike format and rules, maintaining the lead is not the priority as the points total will be reset after the Snetterton round. All the riders in the top 8 of the standings will enter The Showdown. Their points total will be reset to 1000 points and their podium credit will them be applied (e.g. O’Halloran would be on 1048 and Ray on 1046).

Podium credits are accrued over the whole season and applied at the start of the Showdown phase. Five for the win, 3 for a 2nd place and 1 credit for a 3rd. This is exactly what the format is designed for. It creates a winner takes all situation and if O’Halloran and Ray continue to share the wins into the final round, it would create a next goal wins scenario where whomever wins the final race would take the championship gold and glory.

Rory Skinner isn’t under as much pressure as the likes of O’Halloran and Ray due to the fact he has 9 podium credits and without being defeatist, I don’t think anyone expects him to challenge for the 2022 championship. Skinner is effectively the grey man that will want to perform at his best for himself and his team in the hopes of finishing as high up as possible but Skinner becomes a victim of the scoring system where he could potentially move from 3rd overall to 7th or 8th due to his lack of time spraying the champagne this year.

The riders who haven’t quite done enough to secure their spot in The Showdown, but are currently inhabiting the remaining places available are: –

Lee Jackson – Cheshire Mouldings FS3 Kawasaki

Glenn Irwin – Honda Racing UK

Tommy Bridewell – Oxford Products Racing Ducati

Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha

Kyle Ryde – Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha.

There are also 3 riders capable of securing a spot in The Showdown at the expense of one of the riders named above: –

Danny Buchan – Synetiq BMW only 14 points from the Showdown.

Peter Hickman – FHO BMW only 34 points from the Showdown.

Leon Haslam – VisionTrack Kawasaki only 35 points from the Showdown.

There are 75 points up for grabs at Snetterton. It is a very important round for these riders too. Riders like Jackson, Irwin, Bridewell, Mackenzie and Ryde are vying to keep their place within the showdown while Buchan, Hickman and Haslam are trying to swipe their spots away from them. Couple this with a recent dip in form for Kyle Ryde, and a poor Cadwell Park round for reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie, those final spots are looking like they’re up for grabs.

As it stands, Tarran Mackenzie has good form at Snetterton landing himself on the podium in all 3 races during 2021, taking 2 wins and a 2nd place. O’Halloran took two 3rd place finishes and a race win. It goes without saying the McAMS boys are expected to be running at the front during the Snetterton round and with Bradley Ray’s recent form, he should be right in the mix too.

The Norfork circuit, not far from the Southwest coast nr Norwich is another one of Motorsport Vision’s venues, owned by Jonathan Palmer’s company who also own Cadwell Park, Brands Hatch and Oulton Park. Snetterton is another airfield circuit, originally RAF Snetterton Heath opened in 1943 and closed in 1948 after World War 2 when it was handed back to the local landowners. Soon after in the 1950’s it became a venue for two and four wheeled racing and has changed layout somewhat over the years to its current one, with the addition of the infield section in 2011 to make up the Snetterton 100 track, 200 and the 300 track formats. The Snetterton 300 layout used by British Superbikes is 2.969miles long and is the second longest racing circuit in the country. To this day it continues to host all manner of racing events, including British Superbikes and British Touring Cars.

Who will take the bull by the horns this weekend?

We will soon see!

Picture courtesy of Official BSB

©2017 The Pitcrewonline