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.

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A look forward to Thruxton Racing Circuit – Round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbike Series

Originally built and used as RAF Thruxton back in WW2, Thruxton Racing Circuit is a typical British “Airfield” circuit. Flat, fast and frightening. It has been a motor racing venue since the 1950’s in both 2 and 4 wheeled variants. Wide, sweeping corners create fast paced, high action races with plenty of battles up and down the grid. 2.35 miles of multiple racing lines, adrenaline fuelled, tyre smoking petrol headed madness. With fast bikes turning right at for what feels like an eternity, the circuit is as intimidating as short circuit’s come.

BSB Jason O’Halloran Picture courtesy of McAMS Yamaha

Based in Andover in the south of England, 30 or so miles from Southampton and the English Channel, Thruxton is known for extremes of high temperature sunny days or howling cross winds and hard rain due to the lack of undulation and level change. A “thinkers” circuit which requires an action plan that gets you to the chequered flag before your bike, tyres or even skill cry “enough”.

2021 was the year of O’Show. “Jason O’Halloran from Wollongong, New South Wales” (a little nod to dearly loved Jack Burnicle) dominated the 2021 visit to Thruxton with a hat-trick of 1st places with the remaining podium positions shared out between Christian Iddon, Tarran Mackenzie, Glenn Irwin, Peter Hickman, Danny Buchan and Danny Kent. 2021 is a perfect example of what can happen at Thurxton with Saturday’s Race 1 and Sunday morning’s Race 2 running in dry race conditions and slick tyres. Rain set in afterwards and ensured that Race 3 (Sunday’s second race) ran as a wet race after a downpour in the afternoon.

Both Christian Iddon and Chrissy Rouse have said recently the circuit is an unknown when riders turn up there. It can throw up crazy results out of nowhere and have a huge effect on you, both positively or negatively.

Notably, a lot of the riders look forward to the coming to Thruxton due to its fast nature. With the current crop of superbikes running in the region of 200BHP, it’s becoming a rare thing to see the riders opening the throttle and keeping the bike running up to full speed on our small, thin, undulating and twisty British circuits whereas Thruxton (like Silverstone and Snetterton) offers exactly that. With an average speed in the region of 120mph, only this low thanks to its chicanes, it is certainly a thrilling track to ride.

Chrissy Rouse Picture courtesy of Bonnie Lane

Due to planning restrictions, the circuit can only run a limited number of motorsport events per year, of which British Superbikes takes a front row position on the calendar. The weather this weekend is set to be a scorcher, forecasting Friday 33°, Saturday 33° and Sunday 31°c which means the Thruxton round of British Superbikes is on course for being a cracker.

Thruxton is set to be an important round as we start the run up to the showdown. Just 3 rounds remain until the final 8 finalists are declared and the showdown kicks on and we move our concentration to who will lift the 2022 championship trophy.

Will Tarran Mackenzie continue his run of form and climb higher into the showdown? Will Jason O’Halloran return to the circuit for a clean sweep of wins? Will we see a resurgence of the form Glenn Irwin showed at the opening round of the year at Silverstone? Could Rory Skinner, fresh from his Moto2 wildcard at Silverstone MotoGP, be fired up and have a point to prove to cement himself in the window for 2023? Or will we see results that would have you winning £1000 from a £5 bet? Who knows? All I do know is the race is going to be a belter and I for one cannot wait for those red lights to go out and see them round turn 1.

Good luck to all the teams and riders attending at the weekend.

2022 British Superbikes Season Preview

The wait is almost over! In just two weeks’ time, the British Superbike teams will take to the track for the first official test of 2022.

BSB never fails to disappoint in its action-packed and thrilling races. And with some big stars returning to the grid this year, we’re in for a treat.

2022 will see the return of two favourites in the British motorcycle world, with Tom Sykes heading to Paul Bird’s squad and Leon Haslam racing on Lee Hardy’s Vision Track Kawasaki.

Amongst these two names, we will see the likes of Rory Skinner contest his second season in the championship after bursting onto the scene last year at his home race at Knockhill.

Tarran Mackenzie at BSB Knockhill 2019. Image courtesy of Impact Images/ McAMS Yamaha

His compatriot, Tarran Mackenzie, will remain at McAMS Yamaha after winning his maiden BSB title in 2021 despite interest from the World Superbikes paddock.

The Scotsman suffered a scare at the beginning of the year after breaking his ankle during a training accident in Spain which led to surgery. For now, it seems he will make a full recovery and ride at the first test at Snetterton.

Although turning down offers for a full contract in WSBK, Mackenzie will contest three rounds as a wildcard at Donington Park, Assen and a third circuit which is yet to be known on a full-spec R1 this year.

Elsewhere on the grid, Christian Iddon has moved to Buildbase Suzuki to line-up alongside Danny Kent. Rich Energy OMG Racing also retain the services of Bradley Ray and Kyle Ride who look to build on a promising 2021.

Bradley Ray on pole. Image courtesy of Suzuki racing.

Looking at the calendar, the season will get underway with Round 1 taking place at the Silverstone National Circuit on the weekend of 15-17 April and will end with the usual finale at Brands Hatch in mid-October.

As a very early prediction, here’s who I think will make the top three:

  1. Tarran Mackenzie
  2. Jason O’Halloran
  3. Josh Brookes
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