In front of a record Bennetts British Superbike crowd at a sun-drenched Brands Hatch, the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha duo of Kyle Ryde and Bradley Ray brought home strong points across the three races to help towards securing their places in the top eight Showdown positions. A big effort from the team and riders saw them finish consistently in the top ten including a hat trick of fourth place finishes for the home hero, Brad Ray while Kyle Ryde and his crew worked hard to close the gap on the lead riders.
Finishing third and fifth in glorious conditions after Saturday’s qualifying sessions, all eyes turned to the opening BSB race of the weekend, the eBay Sprint race. A strong start from the middle of the second row saw Kyle join the fray with a brave move around the outside at Druids as battle commenced for those all-important podium credits. As the race unfolded it became a battle for third as Brad Ray held firm in third with Kyle fifth before a hard-charging Tommy Bridewell edged the Kent rider for the final podium place to leave the RICH energy OMG Racing pair fourth and fifth at the flag.
Sunday’s temperatures rose further and the atmosphere in the garage was one of determination to close the gap on the lead riders across the day’s two longer races. Race two looked to repay that determination as Brad led early before the two McAMS Yamahas made their decisive moves. An epic final few laps unfolded with the hometown hero trying everything he knew to haul his Yamaha R1 onto the podium but once again it was agonisingly close at the flag as Bridewell made a repeat of the sprint race. Kyle fought as hard as he could but the feeling with his Yamaha R1 wasn’t quite enough to keep pace with the front group, picking up valuable points in seventh.
The final BSB race of the weekend was almost a replay of race two as once again Brad Ray found himself in the podium mix but this time keeping Bridewell at bay in the fight for third place finish but this time it was Glenn Irwin who held on to third place to thwart the efforts of the Lydd rider. There was a big boost for Kyle Ryde as changes between the races saw the Jacksdale rider cut the gap to the race winner by five seconds and make solid forward progress in the last outing of the weekend.
Chloe Jones made her Junior Superstock Brands Hatch debut this weekend as the 18-year-old Daventry rider got to grips with her Yamaha R6 around the historic GP layout. Mixed conditions on Friday lost valuable track time for the former Junior Supersport rider but changes to her machine through qualifying and warm-up saw a strong performance in Sunday morning’s race. Making up ground and posting her fastest times of the weekend, the race was going well until the closing stages as the bike tucked the front at Stirlings, thankfully without injury.
Brad Ray, 2nd overall 255pts: “I feel like this weekend I’ve ridden as hard as I have all year so to come away with three fourths is a little bit frustrating but it’s points on the board and points for the showdown. Obviously, podium credits are the main thing for me, but we need to just find out what we’re missing against the other two Yamahas at the minute and take the fight to them as best we can.”
Kyle Ryde, 5th overall 170pts: “Friday was a bit of a disaster, so I’d say my weekend started on Saturday morning with the changes we made to the Yamaha R1. I think we’ve both made the best of what we had over the weekend and I’m proud of myself for not getting worse as the weekend went on. Ryan made the bike the best it’s been all weekend for race three so that’s a real positive step as we get towards the showdown. The objective is to be in the Showdown for the first time and when you can’t finish on the podium you finish top eight and that’s what we’re doing.”
Paul Curran, Team Principal, “That was a little bit frustrating not to come away with at least one podium finish after the results we’ve been having over the previous four rounds. Brad did all he could to fight for third place three times but just didn’t quite have that last bit of pace and Kyle worked hard to come back from a tough Friday to have a smile back on his face by the end of race three today. Brands Hatch is in the history books now and we look to Thruxton in three weeks. The track will suit both the Yamaha R1s and the riders and I’m looking forward to some good, strong results down there. Thanks to the whole team for their efforts across the weekend and to Chloe and her crew for their hard work and progress in Junior Superstock despite the end result.”