OULTON PARK AND THRUXTON WERE THE VENUES FOR OUR AMBASSADORS THIS WEEKEND AND IN TRUE MOTORSPORT STYLE, THE RESULTS WERE A MIXED BAG
Our RICH Energy ambassadors were in action again this weekend as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship and the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship roared into life at Thruxton and Oulton Park. RICH Energy OMG Racing BSB trio of Kyle Ryde, Brad Ray and Billy McConnell and Adrian Flux by Power Maxed Racing’s BTCC pair Jason Plato and Dan Lloyd were all keen to get the weekend under way and return the best points haul possible for their efforts.
At Oulton Park it was unfortunately another tricky weekend for the PMR squad as lady luck deserted the team once again. Amongst a plethora of Red Flags and the wonderful British summertime, it was a tough time for both drivers. Qualifying looked to be a strong session for the dynamic duo but technical issues, other driver antics and using a little more ‘track’ than allowed meant P16 and P18 on the grid for Race 1 for Lloyd and Plato.
A mid-race collision brought the opening BTCC race of the day to a halt before a 6-lap sprint to the flag saw Plato launch himself to P7 and P13 for Lloyd. The drama continued at the tight Cheshire circuit as Plato tangled with Cook, dropping the BTCC legend back to P20 and P17 for Lloyd. Starting P18 and P21 for Lloyd after a grid infringement penalty, another incident on track meant yet another restart, with Plato eventually finishing P13 and Dan Lloyd P11. Despite the difficult weekend, the pair remain upbeat for the rest of the season as the potential of the Vauxhall Astra is there to see and as the technical issues get ironed out the results will speak volumes for the efforts of the drivers and their crews.
Down in Hampshire the same summer weather that blighted Oulton Park BTCC cast its gloom over the Bennetts British Superbike Championship as the terrific trio launched into Round 4 of the season. A wet Friday meant it was catch-up day on Saturday as the team worked hard to prep the bikes for Qualifying. Heading straight to Q2 once again it was 10th for Brad Ray and 13th for Kyle Ryde. In the National Superstock category it was a solid 3rd place and a front row start for Billy McConnell. With all three riders racing on Saturday afternoon, it was a busy time in the garages, with Billy first up.
It’s usually a battle around the fastest race circuit in the UK and this weekend was no exception as McConnell missed another podium finish by inches at the flag but took the fastest lap and valuable championship points, so all was not lost. In the Superbike class it was narrow escape for Kyle Ryde, who was taken out at turn one before being clipped by Joe Francis, who did his best to avoid the stricken Nottinghamshireman. Team-mate, Brad Ray fought his way through to a valiant 7th place. Sunday was a mixed day weather-wise, and it was Billy again who was first up. Starting from pole position was the highlight as a technical issue saw the former Supersport champion limp home in 11th place.
It was a brighter start to Sunday for the Superbike pair as Kyle Ryde and Brad Ray put in their best performances of the weekend in race 2 as they carved their way through an impressive 4th and 6th place at the flag. Race 3 wasn’t to yield the same results as a mid-afternoon downpour meant it was a lottery on tyre choice, wets or intermediates. As the track dried in some places but rained in others, the wet rear tyre proved to be the wrong choice as inters lead the way to the flag. A disappointing 10th for Brad and 16th for Kyle ended a weekend full of positives for all three riders despite the results.
In Junior Supersport, RICH Energy-Backed Lewis Jones continued his learning journey across the weekend in Hampshire. Fresh from a successful time at Donington Park the previous weekend, Jones was looking to improve on his overall results and launch himself into the top ten of the series. Qualifying 18th for Race 1, it was a battle to the flag and an encouraging 11th place finish for the young Nottinghamshire rider. Starting 15th for Race 2, courtesy of Saturday’s lap time, Jones fought through the pack in the final race of the weekend to finish a creditable 9th place.
It’s a weekend off for our ambassadors next weekend before the home action becomes fairly relentless. Alvaro Bautista is out on track, though; he'll be action at Most, Czech Republic, with his Honda WorldSBK squad.