Bank Holiday Weekend saw LAMI OMG Racing head to the picturesque Oulton Park in Cheshire for Round Two of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Fresh from their victory at Silverstone just a few weeks ago, the team were feeling positive as they made the journey north to a track that has traditionally been successful for the Cannock-based squad.
It was to be a slightly different roster for the team this weekend, however, following the news that Ryan Vickers would be sitting out the round following his operation to fix a broken wrist just a couple of weeks before. As a one-off, team stalwart Kyle Ryde would be joined by former British Supersport Champion & World Supersport Top-5 rider Luke Stapleford, with James Hillier again taking care of National Superstock duties, and rookie Aaron Daykin making only his second ever trip to Oulton Park aboard the team’s R6.
Saturday would stand in for Friday, with the 3-day event running Saturday to Monday rather than the traditional Friday to Sunday. This saw bumper crowds across all 3-days, with hundreds of fans getting their hands on the brand-new 2023 LAMI OMG Racing merchandise from our equally new merchandise stand.
Saturday would dawn damp, with the track mercifully drying up somewhat during the first Free Practice of the day. Kyle would put in a strong performance, battling up to P2 with 9 minutes to run, before a few small adjustments necessitated a garage visit. Despite heading out P4 with 2 minutes to go, he was unfortunately out of time when it came to setting a blinder, and would finish P6, with Stapleford’s first outing seeing him cross the line an impressive P19.
Weather for the second Free Practice session was considerably damper than the first, meaning a slower track, and no one was able to set a faster time than those already posted. With the Championship’s structure meaning Free Practice times denote which Qualifying session you end up in, this meant Kyle would head out in the coveted Quali 2, in which he very nearly ended up on top. With his fastest lap yielding a purple (fastest sector time of the session) in Sector 1, followed by double-green in Sectors 2 & 3, it was all shaping up to be a very good start for the Mansfield-based lad, before a tiny mistake over Deer Leap in Sector 4 caused him to go yellow and lose the lap just 1 min 30s before the close, meaning an uncharacteristic starting position of P16 for Race 1.
Despite kicking off the Bennetts Sprint Race further back than he would normally be used to, it was no surprise that Kyle made a good start to immediately snatch P13 into Turn 1, fighting his way up into the Top-9 by the close of Lap 5. He would eventually cross the line P7, having made up a massive ten places during the 12-lap session, securing a decent points haul, whilst Luke would cross the line P19, despite fighting through to bag P17 during the mid-point of the race.
Sunday would see track action kick off after lunch, with the riders taking the time to spend time with fans and our all-important VIP guests during the morning. Kyle would make the perfect start, seating himself in P4 at the start of the opening lap, with some fantastic moves around Hislop’s & Lodge seeing him cross the line P2 at the end of the lap, before conceding to Haslam at Old Hall on Lap 5. From then on, he would still hang on to the main pack at the front, rounding out the sessions with a Top-5 finish. Towards the mid-field, Luke would be fighting his own battles, eventually crossing the line P16, narrowly missing out on his first Superbike points finish.
Race 3 would see Kyle starting P2, having posted the second fastest lap of the previous session, and with some of the biggest names around him from the off, it was one hell of a battle going into Turn 1, which would ultimately see him come out P5 alongside Brookes. The next few laps would see him battling hard with the likes of Bridewell, Hickman and the aforementioned Brookes, dropping to P7 on Lap 4, before getting back up to P5 on Lap 12. From then on it was obvious he was reeling in the Top 4, taking Bridewell on Lap 16 at Hislop’s, pushing Haslam on the penultimate lap to challenge for P2, eventually “settling” for P3 at the end of the day.
Luke would have an equally interesting session, having won his Supersport race immediately before, literally sprinting from the podium, still covered in champagne, to his bike, to make the grid. He would battle hard, despite being exhausted from his previous win, eventually crossing the line P20.
The weekend would be equally challenging for our tamed road racer, James Hiller, who would start Race 1 P30, battling super-hard to cross the line P19, making up a seriously impressive 12 places in the process. For someone who makes no secret of the fact he isn’t pushing as hard as he could until he’s completed the TT in a few weeks’ time, that’s one hell of a result.
The same could be said for Aaron Daykin, who’s competing in just his second ever season of motorcycle racing with LAMI OMG Racing this year. Despite this being not only his first ever competitive visit to Oulton Park, he would start Race 1, which was his first time ever using an intermediate tyre, P33, again battling to cross the line in the Top-25. Race 2 would be another first for the 20-year-old, as his first wet race ever, and would see the youngster start P29, making up ground to finish the session P24 at the close.
The next event for LAMI OMG Racing is the fearsome Northwest 200, Ireland’s famous road race, which takes place between Thursday 11th & Saturday 13th May, and will see James Hillier take to the roads on both his Yamaha R1 “Stocker” and Superbikes. The team will return to the BSB for Round 3 at Donington Park, between Friday 19th & Sunday 21st May. Don’t forget that you can watch all the BSB action live on Eurosport.
Alan Gardner, LAMI OMG Racing Team Principal – “Firstly I have to say a massive thank you to the team for all their hard work over the weekend. Kyle’s results definitely make it all worthwhile, and I’m leaving the track absolutely over the moon with how well he rode this weekend. The same goes for Luke, obviously, especially with him not having chance to celebrate his Superstock win before having to quite literally run to the grid to get out for the final Superbike race of the day. I’m really proud of all our boys (and girls!) this weekend, and I can’t wait for Donington!”
Paul Curran, LAMI OMG Racing Team Principal – “Oulton Park is a track the R1 traditionally works really well for us at, and this weekend was no exception. We were working on various chassis setups to give Kyle the be able to consistently post the best lap times, as well as mixing race pace with tyre longevity. By Race 2 3 both Kyle & the bike were in a very good place, as the performance shows. Big thanks have to go to Luke for stepping in for Ryan – he did a stand up job considering how little prep time he had, and his other commitments. Then team will be working hard now to get ready for the Northwest in just over a week, so it’s all hands to the pumps.”
Kyle Ryde, LAMI OMG Racing Superbike #77 – “It’s been a great weekend for me, and it’s a fantastic feeling to be able to improve what I’m doing in every race. I felt Silverstone wasn’t the best weekend for me – we started with a win, then ended P7, but wwe’ve turned it around this weekend. It’s amazing to finish on the podium and bag some decent points so I’m going away happy. We’re off to my favourite track next [Donington Park] and I’m super pumped for that. It should be good!”
Ryan Vickers, LAMI OMG Racing Superbike #7 – “Obviously not being out on the bike this weekend has felt a bit strange, but it’s been a great opportunity to get trackside with Roger [Marshall] and watch what’s going on and who’s doing what. Kyle did an amazing job and I’m really happy for him, and so did Luke [Stapleford], especially considering how little time he’s had on the bike. All being well I should be back out at Donington in a few weeks, and be able to push hard for the rest of the season.”
James Hiller, LAMI OMG Racing National Superstock #37 – “I’m happy with this weekend – I made up ground in the race and had a goodtime off the bike too. With the Northwest 200 coming up in less than 2 weeks I was conscious about not pushing too hard, but once we’ve got that and the TT out of the way I’m looking forward to getting properly stuck in to my first full season and seeing what we can really do.”
Aaron Daykin, LAMI OMG Racing National Junior Superstock #29 – “This weekend has been really positive for me. I came here with no expectations, as it’s a track I’ve never raced at before, and this is my first professional season racing, so to make up ground in both races and constantly improve my lap times in every session is all I could ask for really. We’re working hard, keeping our heads down, and just learning as we go. The team have been super supportive and I can’t thank them enough.”