Brad Ray led almost from start to finish in today’s opening Bennetts British Superbike race at Oulton Park this afternoon to take RICH Energy OMG Racing’s first victory in the championship since the opening round of 2019 and his first win since 2018. Team-mate Kyle Ryde came home an impressive third place after a sensational final lap in qualifying saw the Nottinghamshire rider start from pole position for the second time this season.
After dominating Free Practice and setting a new fastest-ever two-wheeled lap of the Cheshire circuit, Kent’s Brad Ray was confident of securing his second pole position of the season but unfortunately a slower rider baulked him in the final sector to post the seventh fastest time. There were no such problems for Ryde as he swept to his first superbike pole position at Oulton Park with a fabulous final flying lap.
Ryde got the hole shot followed by Rory Skinner but it was Ray who was most aggressive, making up three places off the start and then picking off both Ryde and Skinner into turn one at the start of lap two. Ray immediately got into his rhythm and opened a gap on the chasing pair with a new Oulton Park lap record. Ryde and Skinner held off a charging pair of Brookes and Hickman as Ray continued to assert his dominance on a race that was curtailed early due to a red flag for Ryde and Ray’s team-mate, Davo Johnson who crashed heavily at Knickerbrook.
Taking their second double podium of the season, Ray and Ryde will start pole position and second on the grid for Monday’s second race of the weekend as Aussie, Davo Johnson remains in medical care but thankfully sat up and conscious and aware with just a handful of tests remaining to understand his current condition.
Brad Ray: “It’s nice to get my first win for RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha, the boys have been grafting so hard through the winter with the Yamaha R1 so this win is for them. I knew I had pretty good pace and knew if I could get a good start and try and get in front, I’d have the opportunity to pull a gap and see where that left me. I’m happy to get the monkey off my back after a long four years and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Kyle Ryde: “It was a tough race. Rory went off circuit at one point and threw up some dirt and I couldn’t remove my tear-off so lost a bit of time behind him in the later stages. Brad must have got a mega start, but it was great to lead a BSB race again before Brad came past and put the hammer down. I haven’t done a 1:34 all weekend and I went straight to a 34-flat so I’m happy with that. The RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha has been mega round here all weekend at not my favourite track; we were looking for top seven so to take third is a real bonus. Congratulations and thanks to the team on another double podium and let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
Alan Gardner, Team Owner: “That’s something we’ve been waiting for since Silverstone in 2019. That was our first win, but we didn’t finish first on that occasion so to finally win a race outright feels even better. Brad and Kyle have worked hard with their crews and their Yamaha R1’s this season and this is the fruits of their toils. There have been some long nights in the workshop building those bikes from scratch so Paul Curran and our team of mechanics can be rightfully proud that all the hours they’ve put in have been worth it. I’m proud of the whole team. Thanks also to Yamaha Racing UK and to McAMS Yamaha for all their invaluable support in helping us achieve our goals.”