It was fast and breathtakingly spectacular – no, we are not talking about Thruxton but OMG Racing Suzuki’s very own Josh Elliott! The Ulsterman delivered OMG Racing their first win since joining the British Superbike family at the start of the year in a thrilling National Superstock 1000 race which saw the lead change numerous times. In the Superbike class, Gino Rea was steadily improving throughout the weekend and that was obvious in race two, as he set quick lap times, capable of the top ten.
Coming into the Thruxton meeting, Josh Elliott had never won a race at the circuit. However, Fermanagh’s finest was to change that statistic with a sensational win – his and OMG’s first of the season. In a scintillating race that saw no less than four different leaders, Elliott placed himself in the slipstream of Lee Jackson’s FS-3 Kawasaki on the run up to the final chicane and made the crucial move to the roar of an appreciative crowd trackside. The 2015 National Superstock 1000 champion was able to hold off Taylor Mackenzie’s late dash to the line to take victory in what was one of the best races of the day, whilst also leaving the round with the fastest National Superstock 1000 lap time across the weekend. Putting truth into OMG Racing’s claim of ‘Having Fun, Winning Races’.
“It has been an amazing weekend from start to finish. From the first session I was fast and comfortable on the OMG Suzuki and I knew we had a great chance to challenge for the win. The race was really close and I certainly didn’t get it easy, but my bike was very strong on fast sections of the track and I was confident I could go for the win! It’s an incredible feeling and I can’t thank everyone at OMG Racing enough. The belief and support they have given me is what I’ve been missing and it’s so nice to repay them with a win.”
Gino Rea had a lot to learn at the Thruxton circuit, having never been to the venue before. The Hampshire circuit is the fastest in the country and that takes some getting used to. However, the Londoner took on the challenge and completed a highly respectable weekend. Whilst race one may not have gone the way of the team, Gino was able to shave a massive 1.4 seconds off his time from race one during race two – a time that would’ve put him 6th on the grid had there been a third race. In another learning weekend, there were many positives behind the results.
“Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Josh and the whole OMG Racing team for recording their first race win in the National Superstock 1000 class; it was a brilliant race and I’m over the moon for everyone involved!
“On my side the emotions are more mixed; there were some very positive moments this weekend, but a few negatives too. I learnt the circuit quite quickly and by FP3 I was able to be inside the top 14. Qualifying didn’t go to plan with a small technical issue but we rebounded to finish 13th in the Sunday morning warm up; closing the gap to +0.727 from the fastest, which was a great boost for us.
“Unfortunately we had an issue in race one and I was not able to finish or put a competitive lap time in so I started 25th for race two. I had a great start and my pace for the first half of the race was quite respectable, I was just behind the group of riders from 11th – 15th but as the tyre dropped off I just couldn’t keep up the pace. We could have possibly used the other tyre but we didn’t think that would last either.
“Regardless, there’s still a couple of areas I feel we need to work on but it’s not easy when I am adapting to the circuits at the same time. Cadwell is another circuit I don’t know very well, but I have been there recently whilst teaching on a track day, so at least I know which direction it goes!
“I’d like to thank the OMG Racing team for their continued efforts, I’m confident that it will all be worth it when we achieve the results we want!”
Team manager, Paul Curran was ecstatic at the National Superstock 1000 victory and whilst some more pace is needed on the Superbike, he feels the atmosphere in the team is fantastic and that more good times are just a round the corner for both riders.
Paul Curran, Team Manager
“Thruxton was always going to be a tough one for Gino as he’d had zero track time on the fastest track on the calendar that wasn’t an easy start. By the end of FP3 I was very impressed with what he had managed to achieve during the three practice sessions. From experience I know Thruxton is a tough circuit to master, and by the end of FP3 he was .65 away from the front row.
“Unfortunately in qualifying and in race one we had two separate parts fail on the bike which hampered Gino’s progress further. The bike was all sorted for race two but Gino was on the back foot from not completing a full race distance in race one. Gino moved forward from his grid position and improved in areas throughout the race. It was a top effort from Gino and I know the results didn’t do us justice, but I believe for his first ever visit to Thruxton we couldn’t have asked for much more.
“Josh had a very successful weekend and from FP1 he was on the pace very early on. We refined the setup of the bike throughout the weekend working on a race pace setup. Qualifying on the front row, I was also very impressed with Josh’s race craft; he was very strong in some areas of the track and he maximised on that. He has given OMG their first of, hopefully, many wins.
“Well done to Josh & Gino for a top effort and a big thank you to the team. It wasn’t easy working in the heat all weekend but them and the whole team did a top job as ever.”
Crew Chief Ray Stringer was delighted with Josh Elliott and his fantastic win at the Hampshire circuit; whereas areas of improvement for Gino and the Superbike are another extract from the weekend.
Ray Stringer, Crew Chief
“We obviously still have work to do with the Superbike and Gino but I am absolutely over the moon for the OMG team with their first win at the hands of Josh in the Superstock race. It was a hard-fought race and Josh’s race-craft was crucial for being placed in a good position on the last lap.”