Round two of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship gets underway this Bank Holiday weekend around the historic Oulton Park circuit. The 2.692-mile undulating, rollercoaster of a circuit nestled in the heart of leafy Cheshire is a place that demands respect and patience to extract the very best from rider and machine.
After a hugely successful opening round at the home of the British MotoGP, in which several team ‘firsts’ were achieved, the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha make a quick return to the picturesque parkland circuit in a buoyant mood after Brad Ray set the fastest time at the recent official test, posting a lap just 0.030s outside the existing lap record aboard his Yamaha R1.
Team-mate Kyle Ryde admits that the Cheshire track isn’t his favourite but his performance in the recent test showed that the switch to Yamaha machinery for 2022 has given the Nottinghamshire rider renewed confidence to take on this most technical of circuits. Two podiums at Silverstone were a great start for the 24-year-old after securing a career-best opening to a BSB season with second place in race one and race two plus three front-row starts, including Pole Position for race two, and Ryde will undoubtedly be keen to add to the silverware this weekend.
Brad Ray experienced the highs and lows of motorcycle racing at Silverstone as the 24-year-old followed his team-mate home in race one to take third place before crashing out of race two while leading. Ray regrouped and, courtesy of a new lap record in his quest for victory started from Pole Position and battled his way to a deserved second place. The Kent rider took his maiden BSB podium at Oulton Park in 2017 and further podium last season and is in a confident mood ahead of the weekend with a return to the top step his only goal.
The road racing team of James Hiller and Davo Johnson return for their final track outing before the NW200, and Isle of Man TT races commence later in May. The pair tested the Yamaha R6 Supersport machine and the Yamaha R1 superstock bike last week and this week return to Superbike action as the team put the finishing touches to their road racing preparations.
After a successful first test at Oulton Park, Pirelli Junior Superstock rider Chloe Jones makes her racing debut in the hotly contested class this weekend. Having only experienced the demanding circuit on a Junior Supersport machine, the test was an eye-opener for the 18-year-old who made excellent progress across the day aboard her Yamaha R6. Knocking four seconds off her opening time, Jones ended the day full of confidence with the track and will be looking to build on that confidence across the weekend.
Brad Ray: “The test went really well last week I’m excited to get back to Oulton Park again. It’s a circuit I enjoy, and I’ve had some strong results there so I’m looking forward to the weekend. I know that there’s more to come from me and my RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 and that’s something we’ll be exploring from FP1. The test taught us several positive things and we know the direction we want to follow.”
Kyle Ryde: “I was really happy with the test last week even though I didn’t quite get the lap in that I wanted due to riders in the way but overall, we have a great setup ahead of the weekend that just needs fine-tuning to get the very best out of it. The RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team has worked so hard to get us where we are and I’ll be working hard to bring home another strong weekend of results.