This weekend saw the start of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone, the self-titled ‘Home of British Motorsport.’ As reigning champions, LAMI OMG Racing came in with all eyes upon them, and with the fans itching to see Kyle & Ryan on track, as well as the sun firmly donning his favourite hat, the team were feeling good.
Friday saw the first Free Practice sessions of the year, with both riders utilising the time wisely to experiment with suspension setups, and for Ryan to do his first proper dry laps of the circuit on his R1. By the close, Kyle would top the timings in the 1st session, missing out on the top spot in the 2nd by just 0.146 seconds, despite leading
Ryan would perform well, bagging P10 & P13 across the sessions, a performance made all the more impressive when he was confirmed as having a broken scaphoid (wrist) on Saturday, following his crash in Spain just a few weeks ago.
Saturday morning saw the 3rd & final Free Practice session of the weekend, and the last time for the boys to get out on track before Qualifying began. Kyle would once again finish the session top of the tree, with Ryan less than ¾ of a second behind in P6. This would secure the former’s place in Quali 2, which sees the Top 10 riders aggregated across all 3 FP sessions fighting it out to secure their starting position for Race 1.
In the end, Kyle would narrowly miss out on Pole Position for Race 1, starting P2, with Ryan 3 rows back in P12. It would prove to be a massively exciting race, with positions at the front changing almost lap by lap during the session. Kyle would grab the holeshot and lead the majority of Lap 1, conceding to Bridewell later in the lap, before taking back the lead in Lap 3. A spectacular multi-lap battle would then ensue between Kyle, Bridewell & O’Halloran, before the LAMI OMG racer would take back the top-spot for good with 5 laps to go, bagging not only a win but Fastest Lap in the process, securing Pole for Race 2 on Sunday morning.
Ryan would make a great start to the race, battling into the Top 10 during the early stages, before a racing incident with another rider would exacerbate his damaged wrist, leaving him unable to perform at his absolute best. Despite this he managed to hold position until one lap before the end to cross the line P13, and with the 8th fastest time of the session, would start Race 2 P8.
Sunday morning would dawn sunny but misty, and see tens of thousands of the championship’s loyal fans head queuing at the gates, eager to find the best spot to watch their heroes do battle on the track. The first Superbike race of the day wouldn’t kick off until lunchtime, and would see Kyle take the lead from Pole, before Bridewell pipped him again on Lap 2 to take the lead. The two racers would see themselves fighting yet another epic battle across the next few laps, with O’Halloran and Irwin become involved during the latter stages, before Kyle ran wide at Becketts, putting him P4 on Lap 27. With a red flag being waved the same lap, Kyle was unable to capitalise on his tyre management strategy, settling for P4 at the close.
Ryan would struggle with his wrist injury during Races 2, bagging P7 out of the blocks, before slipping back to P9 on Lap 4, with the Norfolk-racer unable to ride at his full potential, battling hard and ultimately taking P13 when the red flag was waved on Lap 27.
For Race 3 Kyle would start P5, with Ryan P11. The former would make a great start, lunging to P3 off the line, although tyre issues would cause him to drop down to P8 by the end of Lap 4, before a batlle with Kennedy during the latter stages would see him P7 on Lap 28, ultimately crossing the line in the same position. Ryan would battle with those around him throughout the 30-lap spectacle, dropping to P13 on Lap 7, before scything through the pack to cross the line within the Top 10.
The weekend would see rookie Aaron Daykin contest his first ever BSB event, with the 20-year-old up against some serious competition in his maiden race. Free Practice 1&2 would see him P31 & P33 respectively, less than 3 seconds off the pole sitters, and he would qualify a respectable P33. He would pick up pace during the race, ultimately passing a number of riders to P29 on his first try.
James Hillier would have less luck in the opening weekend of his first full Pirelli National Superstock with Santander Consumer Finance season. Both Friday’s Free Practice sessions would see him P23 in the standings, just 1.5 seconds off the front runner – an impressive result with 44 riders on the grid.
The former TT winner would ultimately qualify P31, just 1.8 seconds away from Pole, and in Race 1 he would fight hard to gain an incredible 8 places, crossing the line P23. Unfortunately he would be unable to compete in Race 2 following an engine failure, meaning no chance to fight his way up the ranks.
The team leave Silverstone P4 in the Teams’ Standings, with Kyle P4 & Ryan P11 in the Riders’.
Alan Gardner, OMG Racing Team Owner – “Winning the first race of the year was a fantastic start to the season, and makes all the hard work put in by the team over the winter worthwhile. I’m really proud of how well both Ryan & Kyle rode across the weekend, especially as Ryan was in severe pain during all the races. Both Aaron & James rode well too – it’s a shame that James’ weekend was cut short, but that’s racing unfortunately. We’re off to Oulton Park for testing now – it’s a circuit we’ve traditionally done well at, and I’m feeling really positive we can bag some more silverware in a few weeks’ time.”
Paul Curran, OMG Racing Team Principal – “This weekend was a great start to the year for us, with Kyle securing a win and narrowly missing out on a podium in the second race. Ryan did really well considering the pain he was in, and I’m confident that once sorted he’ll be right up the front from the off. There’s a long way to go yet, and with the innovative points system the championship are using this year, there’s everything to play for.”
Kyle Ryde, OMG Racing Superbike #77 – “The weekend started off great for me with a win, but Sunday wasn’t quite as great for me. I felt like I had the pace to win all 3 races, but everyone gets faster as the weekend goes on, and I just couldn’t get up to the front to do my own thing annoyingly. Overall it was a good weekend, though, and it’s a great place to start the championship off for the year. I’m feeling confident about Oulton Park and can’t wait to get testing up there in a few days’ time.”
Ryan Vickers, OMG Racing Superbike #7 – “It was a bit of a weekend of two halves for me – I’d been struggling on Friday, so on Saturday morning I was having a few problems with my wrist and went to the medical centre for an X-Ray. It turns out I’ve got a fractured scaphoid from Navarra, which was missed at the first X-ray. It was great to secure 3 points finishes though, and in the last race we were as fast as the leaders, even with my wrist, so I really want to say thanks to the team for putting together an amazing bike and making such a huge effort during the weekend.”
James Hillier, OMG Racing National Superstock #37 – “For me it was great to get the season started and get back out on the bike. We had engine issues, which cost me the race on Sunday, but ultimately the weekend was productive, and perhaps most importantly, enjoyable. It wasn’t a great start to the season, but it certainly wasn’t a bad one, so I’m eager to get back out at Oulton and have a proper stab at it.”
Aaron Daykin, OMG Racing Junior Superstock #29 – “I feel like my first weekend in the BSB paddock went well. I improved my Race position from my Qualifying position without any damage, and was keeping pace with the group in front of me during the session, which gives me confidence going into Oulton Park that I can bring the fight to the midfield. This time last year I’d just completed my first ever race weekend, so to be mixing it with the big boys in Stock 600 is pretty mind boggling for me. A massive thanks to the team and my Crew Chief Alan – the bike was mint! Roll on Oulton Park.”