If the weather was hot at Thruxton then the track action was positively scorching as RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s Brad Ray and Kyle Ryde battled across the two Bennetts British Superbike races around the Hampshire track on Sunday afternoon. In two of the closest finishes in British Superbike history, Brad fought tooth and nail aboard his Yamaha R1 against the two McAMS Yamaha riders for BSB race glory in front of a sun-kissed crowd.
Race two of the weekend set the tone for a super Sunday as Ray, O’Halloran, and Mackenzie passed, re-passed, out braked, and sliced their way past one another in an absorbing race that any of the three riders could have won. Ultimately it was O’Halloran who took the spoils as Mackenzie pipped Ray for second by just 0.003s at the line! Starting from Pole Position for the sixth time, it was Brad’s twelfth podium of a fantastic season and his second visit to the podium in as many days.
Race three shaped up for more of the same and the hordes of fans watching trackside and live on Eursport were served up another racing spectacle as the same three riders broke free from the pack to resume battle one final time. In another incredible advert for the two teams and the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, the three Yamaha R1-mounted protagonists tried every move in their arsenal to get the better of one another in the closing stages, and in another photo finish, it was Mackenzie who took the win ahead of pole position man, Brad Ray by 0.018s with O’Halloran another tenth behind. That’s thirteen podiums for the season for Brad and his fifth second-place finish from his seventh pole position.
It was contrasting emotions on the opposite side of the garage and a weekend to forget for Nottinghamshire’s Kyle Ryde as he endured three tough races at Thruxton. After the disappointment of the issues beyond the control of the rider, team, or manufacturer that blighted Saturday’s race, Sunday’s race two was a chance for Kyle to reassert himself in the top five. A strong start from twelfth on the grid saw the Jacksdale rider pick off riders ahead of him and line up the leading four before his pace dramatically dropped before mid-distance. With no answer to the riders passing him it was a disappointing 18th place finish however a great opening few laps meant a sixth-place start to race three.
The start of race three went to plan as Kyle and his crew knew he had the pace to run with the leaders aboard his Yamaha R1 and proved the point settling into fifth place behind Peter Hickman. The pair were locked in a tense battle with Kyle keen to pass and Hicky equally keen to defend. Lining up the FHO Racing rider through the complex, Kyle, unfortunately, caught his engine casing on the inside curb causing him to crash out of the race thankfully uninjured.
Brad Ray, 2nd 307pts: “It’s been a great weekend and good to be back on the podium again after missing out at Brands Hatch. Thruxton is always difficult as you never really know how good your package is until the final few laps and the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 has been unbelievable all weekend. I tried for the top step in all three races but to come away with two thirds and a second was a great feeling. I’m looking forwards to Cadwell Park now which should be a good track for us to go to.”
Kyle Ryde, 5th 173pts: “That wasn’t the weekend I had hoped for. Issues beyond our control set us back in race one, then for my race pace to drop away so dramatically in race two was very disappointing. We worked something out between races that would let me run with the front guys and my Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 felt perfect on the opening laps of the last race. I felt very comfortable behind Hicky and then the crash just capped off a difficult weekend but it’s all behind us now and I’m looking forward to Cadwell Park.”
Alan Gardner, Team Owner: “This weekend was a firm example of the highs and lows of British Superbike racing. Outstanding track action from the front three riders and it was fantastic to see Brad back on the podium in all three races. It was far from an easy weekend for Kyle, but he dug deep to keep pushing on after the disappointment of the first two races and but for his slip-off in race three I believe would have taken the fight to Brad, Taz, and Jason in race three. I’m delighted for the team on securing our first-ever Showdown place and I firmly believe it won’t be too long before Kyle secures our second.”