Well, this wasn’t what we at the OMG Press Team hoped we’d be writing after Free Practice 1, let’s be honest. OMG endured a tough weekend at Donington Park for Round three of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship but stuck together as a team to produce an outstanding feat of engineering in getting Josh Elliott out, after his GSX-R1000 returned from FP2 in… well… two.
Both Josh and his teammate Luke Mossey battled hard against the weather, but ultimately it wasn’t to be and the team thankfully depart the first triple header of the season with a few more points that might make all the difference later on.
Bennetts British Superbikes
Calm before the storm though, the boys showed the kind of pace that had everyone in the pitbox out of their seats. Luke Mossey in an outstanding P3 and Jossi in P8.
That was before a close encounter of the ground kind… down the Craner curves too! Josh joined the infamous ‘Craner club’ in FP2, and boy did he join it. You never enjoy seeing the bike come back in bits, but seeing an entire bike broken in half with only three salvageable components? Crew Chief Ray Stringer said he’d never seen a bike like it, and if Ray hasn’t seen it, what hope was there? The team never gave up though, with the whole team working tirelessly through the night to resurrect the Pink Panther.
Coming back into the garage on Saturday, you’d have thought that huge accident was all a bad dream! With both fluoro bikes sitting ready for action, doughnuts in the garage (courtesy of an amazing OMG Fan) and enough cups of coffee to have the team bouncing off the walls, the bikes headed out to a cloudy Donington Park. Another strong qualifying performance put Luke Mossey through to Q3, where he finished P6 ahead of Josh, who’s newly constructed Suzuki encountered some teething problems, putting him in P17.
In race one, OMG’s dynamic duo faced a challenging race, with Jossi engaged in a race-long battle for 16th with the likes of Ray, Francis and Ellison. Mossey on the other hand was happily placed in the race until he had to retire the bike at Redgate from P8 on the final lap. A frustrating end to Saturday’s action, and a bit of head-scratching for the team post-dinner. After dessert (of course).
Sunday brought a new day and the team were optimistic that more points were on the way. However bad luck struck again, this time for Josh in race two as he retired the bike on lap 19 after a great battle with Corti and Linfoot. Luke meanwhile was getting his elbows out after slipping back on the start from P12, eventually coming out on top of a tussle with Stapleford to take P14 and score some valuable Championship points.
The final race in the first triple-header of the series gave glimpses of the pace of the OMG Suzuki when everything comes together, with Luke moving up from P18 on the grid to continue his scrap with Stapleford – however this time it was the Hawk rider who came out on top and OMG’s ‘Mr Blue’ had to settle for 13th at the flag, which became P12 after Glenn Irwin received a time penalty. Jossi was close to making it into the points, but in the end just missed out after a sprint to the line with Francis, bringing down the curtain on a weekend that won’t stay in the memory too long. We certainly won’t be watching the re-runs of that one.
Luke Mossey #12 – Bennetts British Superbike – Championship Position: 13th
Race 1 – DNF
Race 2 – P14
Race 3 – P12
“A really up and down weekend, we qualified 6th on Saturday and looked really good for the race, but during the race we had a chatter problem – the same we had at Oulton Park. We’re scratching our heads a little bit because Josh has the same issue and we can’t figure out precisely what’s caused it at the moment. Similar issues for us in race two, we changed the bike quite a lot, but the problem persisted and then the chain snapped which was a bit frustrating. The boys will take the bike back to the workshop and look over all the details. Full credit to the whole OMG team, everyone’s working hard and we’re not far away, we’re talking a tenth – a couple of tenths a lap in the races. We just need to find that last little bit now and we’ll be fighting for rostrums every weekend I’m sure. The bike and the team are amazing and we will get there, no doubt.”
Josh Elliott #10 – Bennetts British Superbike – Championship Position: 7th
Race 1 – P18
Race 2 – DNF
Race 3 – P16
“Really tough weekend, I probably had the biggest crash of my career in FP2 down Craner Curves and completely destroyed the bike which gave the team a lot of work to do. A massive thank you to the whole team, they’ve done an amazing job to basically build a brand-new bike for Saturday. I just couldn’t believe it, to come back into the garage on Saturday morning and see the bike running was amazing. We had a few small issues in the race, obviously with the bike being built brand new you run into a few technical problems here and there. Just a big learning curve really! That’s all I can say! We’ll take what we’ve learned this weekend and be back stronger at Brands Hatch.”
Paul Curran – OMG Racing Team Principal
“A Challenging weekend obviously on Friday afternoon Josh had a big crash which is part and parcel of racing really, but it took a lot of work. We got it rebuilt and just seemed to struggle a little bit since then despite showing good pace. We tried some new things with the bike and they just didn’t work out unfortunately.
All the guys in the pit box gave it everything but things kept trying to trip us up, it’s one of those weekends. Luke didn’t quite get the breaks he could have got on a better day and the package for him isn’t far away either.
Onwards and upwards, we’ll look forward to the next round!”
Alan Gardner lamented a good learning experience, at the cost of the original Pink Panther.
Alan Gardner – Team OMG
“When we saw the bits of bike coming back after FP2, the team knew they were in for a big job, but credit to each and every one of them – I’m so proud of the team spirit and effort levels of everyone involved with OMG on what’s been a challenging weekend.
It’s tough to look for positives sometimes, but we’ve come closer together as a group, had our usual fun and laughs whilst working and everyone has a smile on their face. That’s what matters.
On the plus side – the frame that was snapped clean in two is going to look interesting in my living room for a few weeks!
OMG will look to bounce back at Brands and celebrate some more success with the amazing British Superbike crowds!