WITH THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF MISSING OUT AT THE LAST HURDLE BEHIND THEM, THE CANNOCK-BASED TEAM HAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THE SERIES AS THE BENNETTS BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP ENTERS ITS SHOWDOWN PHASE AT OULTON PARK
This weekend sees the Bennetts British Superbike Championship converge on Oulton Park for Round 9 of arguably the best domestic motorcycle racing championship in the world. The undulating, rollercoaster of a circuit nestled in the heart of leafy Cheshire plays host to three races that will help shape the destination of the 2021 title. Despite RICH Energy OMG Racing falling agonisingly short of a valuable Showdown placing by just four points last time out at Silverstone, the team have regrouped and arrive at the circuit refreshed and ready to take the fight to the title contenders.
Bradley Ray was the rider to narrowly miss out on the all-important top eight positions in what was his best weekend of the season so far in the black and gold colours of the RICH Energy-backed team. Powering his BMW M1000RR to an impressive return of fifth, fourth and seventh places at Silverstone, the Kent man will now focus on securing the Rider's Cup and most importantly continuing the momentum gained at the home of the British MotoGP to challenge for podiums and the maximum points possible over the last three rounds of the season.
On the other side of the RICH Energy OMG Racing garage, Kyle Ryde left Silverstone disappointed after struggling with a lack of rear grip across the weekend's races. Strong top ten pace in Free Practice showed that the potential was there for the Nottinghamshire rider, however a small crash in Qualifying ended his chances of a higher grid position. The double British Champion will be keen to prove that pace again when the action gets underway in Cheshire on Friday morning, just as he did at the opening round just three short months ago.
Pirelli National Superstock title contender, Billy McConnell, is ready and eager to get started for the double-header of races this weekend. Taking a battling second place in race one and a fourth-place finish in race two at Silverstone saw a status quo in the championship but the gap marginally close as the Aussie now trails the championship leader by 22 points, crucially only 1 point ahead of third place with just five races left. A front row start and podium finish at the opening race of the season at Oulton Park in late June bodes well for the former British Supersport Champion.
Team Principal, Paul Curran said, "While it was really disappointing to get so close to the Showdown, we were really happy with Brad's performance across the weekend. He reminded a lot of people just what he's capable of and we're looking forward to seeing more of the same over the final three rounds of the season, all at tracks Brad has a good history with. It wasn't the best of starts to the season here earlier in the year in terms of results, but it certainly showed that Brad has the pace to be challenging at the sharp end all weekend.
Kyle was understandably really disappointed with his results at Silverstone after a strong race weekend last year and some excellent times across Free Practice this year. There are areas we need to work on with both the bike and rider and they will be the main focus of the weekend in order to get Kyle back into the top ten where he's more than capable of running comfortably.
Billy was unlucky in race two at Silverstone, something out of his control caused a vibration on the bike but credit to him and his experience, once he realised it wasn't going to be terminal, he dug in and clawed back vital points in the championship chase. With five races left, the goal is clear for him, and the team will be doing all we can to help him achieve that.
We're looking forward to a strong weekend and some more positive results."
Catch all the action across the weekend on British Eurosport, free-to-air on QUEST TV, the BSB SUPERPICKS app and TSL Timing as always https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/213804