After a super Saturday at Silverstone to open RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s podium account for the season, a super Sunday saw double delight as riders Kyle Ryde and Brad Ray took a brace of second-place finishes at the Northamptonshire circuit aboard their Yamaha R1 machines. The Cannock-based team’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship podium tally for the weekend doubled to four as Nottinghamshire’s Kyle Ryde took a battling second place in race two of the weekend before Kent man, Brad Ray, recovered quickly from crashing out of the Easter Sunday opener, charging back through the leading pack to take a deserved second place in race three.
Starting from Pole Position courtesy of his lap record in race one, Kyle Ryde made a great start but was beaten to turn one by his team-mate who settled into his rhythm quickly and looked comfortable leading the field. Unfortunately, disaster struck for the race leader as he slid out of the race at Luffield leaving Glenn Irwin and Ryde to battle for the win but despite his best efforts in the last corner, the former British GP2 champion had to settle for second place at the flag.
Race three rounded off the opening weekend’s action and this time it was Brad Ray who took Pole Position and his own Omologato Watch courtesy of his new lap record set during race two, only 100th of a second faster than Ryde. A strong start from both riders saw them both tip into turn one almost together before something caused both riders to be swallowed back into the pack. It became apparent early on that there was something amiss with Kyle before Brad made his move through the riders ahead to make a charge on Glenn Irwin. At least two big moments in the closing stages didn’t deter Ray but he couldn’t quite close the Northern Irishman down, taking his second second-place finish of the weekend.
The Road Racing team had a good Easter Day at the home of the British MotoGP as both Davo Johnson and James Hillier worked their way through the team’s plans and continued adjustment to their Yamaha R1 machines. It was the first competitive meeting in the black and gold of RICH Energy OMG Racing for the Aussie, Davo Johnson, as the red tape was finally cut and he could join the team. Both riders lapped Silverstone with personal best times with James completing all three races. Davo retired from race three having finished in the top twenty in race two, a great effort after so long away.
Chloe Jones and Lissy Whitmore made their competitive debut for the team over the weekend, making exceptional progress across the three days. Jones knew the step up to the National Junior Superstock aboard her Yamaha R6 was going to be difficult but after a challenging qualifying session left the 18-year-old down in 33rd position, Chloe had a tremendous race finishing 19th at the flag. Starting her first full British Junior Supersport weekend, Lissy Whitmore improved hand over fist across the weekend on her Yamaha R3, finishing both races and improving lap times across each session. Both racers are learning well and will make great progress as the season unfolds.
Kyle Ryde: “That was a good day, disappointed with race three but I did the best I could. It was mega to stand on the podium again and to get my first pole position with the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team. My crew was great, the Yamaha R1 was so good to ride and there’s still more to come from me yet. Thanks to the team for a great weekend!”
Brad Ray: “It was massively disappointing to crash out of the race in such a strong position so I was keen to make up for that in race three. The team did an awesome job in getting my Yamaha R1 back in shape to start from pole for the first time in a while so a big thanks to them. Glenn Irwin did a great job, it was his day again today but ours will come, that’s for sure.”
James Hillier: “I’ve never really been a short-circuit rider, especially not one as short as this one, but by race three I was enjoying myself so much I could’ve stayed out for longer! It’s been a very useful weekend on the Yamaha R1, superbike saddle time is always productive and this weekend has given us a great feel for what’s in store next month. Thanks so much to the team, I feel really at home here and I’m looking forward to tackling Oulton Park next time out.”
Davo Johnson: “It’s so good to finally be here and racing. It’s been a very long two years back in Australia and the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team has been incredibly welcoming. The Yamaha R1 is a great bike and it’s gone really well around Silverstone, we’ve taken PB and finished in the top twenty so I’m very happy with the first weekend here.”
Chloe Jones: “It was always going to be a hard weekend in places as the championship is one of the most competitive across any weekend. We had a plan, we adjusted the plan and even though my qualifying session could have been better, the race was great fun. I’m so happy to have finished in the top twenty on my first time out! Thank you to all the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team for their help and guidance across the weekend.”
Lissy Whitmore: “That was tough! I’d never turned a wheel here before Thursday’s test so it was always going to be a bigger learning curve than some other tracks we go to. I struggled in a few areas but overall I’m happy with my progress over the two races and I’m looking forward to getting back out at Donington Park at the end of May.”
Paul Curran: “That was a busy weekend! It’s been long hours in the workshop but this weekend is just reward for all that hard work. Having four superbikes, a Junior Supersport, and a Junior Superstock bike has been a challenge but the team rose to it and I’d like to thank them all. Four podiums over a weekend is exceptional and even though we knew we’d be strong here, Brad and Kyle did a great job. Racing has its ups and downs but overall I’m delighted with all six riders’ results and now we look forward to the test at Oulton Park on Thursday.”