RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha rider Brad Ray took a big step towards becoming the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Champion with a measured display across the weekend at Donington Park. The Kent rider battled with PBM Ducati rider and Donington Park specialist, Tom Sykes in the opening race of the weekend, denying himself a podium finish in Saturday’s eBay Sprint Race after running wide at Goddards on the final lap, allowing Peter Hickman to dive through and snatch the final podium place. Teammate Kyle Ryde, fresh from signing a new deal with the team for next season, rode to a positive seventh place at his home circuit.
For Sunday afternoon’s first of two longer BSB races, Ray took the brave decision with his crew to opt for the harder Pirelli SC0 rather than the softer SCX tyre to counter the lack of grip in the closing stages of the 20-lap races. The choice paid off as the championship leader fought his way to second place behind Sykes while his closest title rivals could offer no answer in the championship chase. Kyle Ryde suffered from a lack of grip throughout the race, however, the Jacksdale rider dug deep for an eleventh-place finish aboard his Yamaha R1 machine.
In a frantic final superbike race of the weekend, Ray once again settled in behind Sykes in the opening stages before taking the lead with a fabulous move into the Old Hairpin on lap four. Behind Ray, it was all-action as the Brothers Irwin looked to reel in the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha man before Glen Irwin’s footpeg snapped, hampering any further progress while Jason O’Halloran’s championship challenge ended painfully after crashing out at the Melbourne Loop. Ray controlled the pace to take his ninth win of the season and extend his championship lead to 66 points ahead of the season finale at his home circuit of Brands Hatch in a fortnight. The weekend ended on a positive note for Kyle Ryde, taking a battling sixth place in the final race, a haul of valuable championship points and sixth in the championship standings.
Race three on Sunday afternoon was halted by a red flag to allow medical attention to be administered to Crowe Performance rider, Chrissy Rouse after an incident exiting Goddard’s. All of us at RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha send their thoughts and very best wishes to the popular rider and Chasin’ the Racin’ podcast host.
After three months out of the saddle and almost six months since his last short circuit race, RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s TT star James Hillier made a positive return to the team at Donington Park in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship. The Ringwood rider finished a respectable 23rd and 22nd in the hotly contested series aboard his Yamaha R1 Superstock machine.
Brad Ray: “Saturday was disappointing to lose points to Glenn and Jason so we made the decision to swap to the harder tyre for Sunday’s first race. I questioned the decision in my head as we pulled up on the grid and everyone else was still on the softer Pirelli SCX tyre so I just got my head down and gave it my best and to come home in second place really justified the decision. It was mega to get the win in race three for both me and the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team and it gives us a nice points buffer as we head to the final round at my home circuit of Brands Hatch in two weeks.”
Kyle Ryde: “After signing my new deal with RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha on Saturday I really wanted to repay them with a podium, but it wasn’t quite to be. We had a lot of battles and close racing over the weekend which I really enjoyed but there was also a lot of head scratching too, but we never gave up. That last race was the best by far in terms of position, confidence and speed which matters a lot for heading into Brands Hatch and some really good data for next year. Thanks to my awesome RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team and everyone local for showing up and supporting me.”
James Hillier: “That was a really good weekend, to be honest. It was great to be back with the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha team and back on our Yamaha R1 Superstock machine. I had no real expectations coming into the weekend, just get comfortable and measure our pace versus the regulars. I’m very happy with the progress we made and the lap times over the two races and now look forwards to Brands Hatch to round out the season.”