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PODIUMS AND HOT PACE AT DONINGTON PARK

PODIUMS AND POSITIVE PERFORMANCES ALL ROUND FOR THE RICH ENERGY OMG RACING TEAM AT DONINGTON PARK


Round 10 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship took place last weekend at the legendary Donington Park in Leicestershire. The RICH Energy OMG Racing trio of Brad Ray, Kyle Ryde, and Billy McConnell, all had their personal goals set for the weekend, however, as is the case of racing in Britain sometimes, the weather unfortunately scuppered a couple of those plans.


After his podium in the final race at Oulton Park the previous weekend, Brad Ray entered Donington Park with high hopes of a repeat performance. A sterling performance in Free Practice 2 on Friday afternoon saw Brad lead the way for the majority of the session before ending the day 5th fastest, just 0.3s off the pacesetter. Then the rain came. A wet qualifying wasn't ideal for anyone and with a time fast enough for 12th on the grid, it was going to be a difficult afternoon for the Kent man. Teammate, Kyle Ryde qualified 13th for the opening race of the weekend after spending Friday making major changes to the setup of his BMW M1000RR.


The forecast rain remained throughout the race and as the lights went out it soon became apparent that the race would be a war of attrition right from the opening lap. Ryde made a lightening start to get away with the lead group and looked comfortable around his home circuit. Ray couldn't find the same confidence in the wet as in the dry, splashing his way round to a solid 9th place while ahead of him the podium battle raged as Ryde found his form. Taking second place on lap 12, Ryde had two successive heart-in-the-mouth moments through the Old Hairpin and into Schwantz before settling back into his rhythm to take his first podium for the RICH Energy OMG Racing team and a boost to his confidence.


Sunday's two BSB races were a tale of two halves as bright, dry but cool weather for race two made way for monsoon conditions as the grid formed for the start of race three. Kyle Ryde battled his way through to the front group once again, his new-found confidence and home support spurring him on to another strong result in 6th as Brad Ray struggled to replicate Friday's pace on the cooler asphalt. Drops of rain that began during the Supersport race started to fall heavier as the riders completed their Warm-Up lap for the third and final Bennetts British Superbike race of the weekend. Race Direction delayed the race to allow the rain cell to pass through, but it was another 30 minutes before pit lane reopened as the heavy shower left standing water in parts of the circuit. A difficult race ensued for Ray and Ryde, coming home 14th and 15th respectively.


Aussie Pirelli National Superstock contender remains within touching distance of the championship leader after a typically strong Race 2 on Sunday. McConnell secured Pole Position on Saturday morning as the title fight entered its final stages. Race 1 later on Saturday afternoon looked to be playing out perfectly for Billby as he led the initial stages of the wet race before being overhauled by Rollo and then uncharacteristically crashing from the race at Coppice after a visor coating caused visibility issues. In typical McConnell style the former British Supersport Champion scythed through the field in the opening laps to once again lead the way before Taylor Mackenzie squeezed through late on. McConnell battled back, the pair coming together at Goddard's at one point, before a late-braking competition at the Melbourne Loop saw McConnell pass the former Champion, only to run a few feet deep allowing Mackenzie to cut back and hold on for the win as McConnell took his eighth podium of the season.


After the weekend, Team Principal Paul Curran said, "Overall we're happy with all three riders after what was a difficult weekend with the weather. Brad was really quick on Friday, showing just what potential he has with the BMW and continuing his form from Oulton Park. Unfortunately, it didn't translate to the results he expected but we know what he can do and we're sure that we'll see the best of Brad at Brands Hatch.


We're really happy for Kyle, as you'd expect. Just as Brad last week, it was important for Kyle to get that podium finish and a bit of silverware for the mantlepiece to give him the confidence boost he really needed. We've made changes in the team and the bike to get the real Kyle back and I believe we're well on the road to doing that. There's still work to do but this weekend proved that we're moving in the right direction.


Saturday was bitter-sweet for Billy as after taking a deserved Pole Position, a visor issue that was out of our control put paid to his obvious podium opportunity with the crash. But, typical Billy, he dusted himself off and did exactly what was expected of him to take another podium and keep the championship chase alive. Taylor rode well for the win, but Billy certainly gave it his all on that last lap!


Thanks to the whole team for all their huge efforts over the weekend, the results don't tell the full story sometimes and this weekend was another example of that.


We're looking forward to ending the season on a high at Brands Hatch."



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