The Bennetts British Superbike Championship made its annual trip north of the border to the home of Scottish motorsport, Knockhill and the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha were in a buoyant mood ahead of the weekend’s three races. After a break in the calendar to contest the Isle of Man TT races, the team was back in domestic action with riders, Brad Ray and Kyle Ryde.
Championship leader Ray opened his account with a dominant win from Pole Position in Saturday’s 22-lap eBay Sprint Race. Leading from lights to flag the Kent man looked at ease with the task in hand, controlling the pace and holding off both Skinner and O’Halloran. Teammate Kyle Ryde couldn’t quite match the pace of the championship leader as he started and finished sixth, more valuable Showdown points banked for the Nottinghamshire ace. Ray’s win took his season tally to three and continued his record of standing on the podium in every race he’s completed.
Sunday brought two longer races for the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha duo over the slightly longer distance of 30 laps each. Race 2 saw Ray once again start from pole position, his fifth of the season, with Ryde on the outside of the front row in third. Ryde got the holeshot into turn one before Skinner took hold of the race with Ray in hot pursuit. The deployment of the Safety Car after an incident at Taylor’s Hairpin brought the group back together before racing resumed in a dash to the flag. Ray crossed the line to take fourth with no answer this time for O’Halloran, Jackson, and Skinner while Ryde faded to a disappointing ninth.
Race three late on Sunday afternoon lined up with Ray on the front row once again, his tenth front row start in twelve races, with Ryde in ninth on the third row. It was local hero, Rory Skinner that took charge of the race before the FS-3 Kawasaki man slid off just before one-third distance leaving Ray to lead with O’Halloran shadowing his every move. The McAMS Yamaha rider made his move in the closing stages leaving Brad Ray with no answer but secure in second place for twenty valuable points, 3 more podium credits in the pot, and a fabulous run of ten podiums from twelve races. Kyle Ryde came home ninth, not where he wants to be but with three solid race finishes and a useful points haul.
Brad Ray, Championship leader: “It’s been a rollercoaster weekend starting in Free Practice, but we turned it around. I was unlucky to miss the podium in race two after the Safety Car went in, it took me by surprise as we just didn’t have the pace after that. We made a few changes to the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 for the third race and were able to hold the pace a little bit longer but just not enough to match Jason at the end. Overall, I’m happy to come away with two out of three podiums and feeling really good on the Yamaha R1.”
Kyle Ryde, 5th overall: “I’m glad to finish all three races and bank as many points as possible. I felt really strong after qualifying and expected some good results. I could maybe have done better yesterday in race one, the podium potential was there. We’ve tried a few different things with the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 this weekend and have not had the results we wanted. Everyone has an off weekend but if we can still finish in the top ten three times on a difficult weekend then it’s not so bad. It feels a bit rubbish after the results we’ve been getting so far this season but we’ll be back strong at Brands Hatch.”
Paul Curran, Team Principal: “It’s been a contrasting weekend for the riders, Brad continuing his excellent form on the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 while Kyle unfortunately struggled over the three races. Kyle and his crew worked tirelessly to overcome the issues but couldn’t quite make that jump back to podium contention. Two out of three podiums for Brad is another great weekend for him and his crew, it’s no surprise that he’s gelled so well with the Yamaha R1. It’s Brad’s home round next and no doubt Kyle will be back in podium contention with him at Brands Hatch.”