OMG Enjoyed some of the best Bennetts British Superbike (BSB) racing of the year at Thruxton in a set of nip-and-tuck races which saw Billy McConnell bring home a podium after his long road back from illness and the Superbike pairing of Luke Mossey and Josh Elliott make a couple of outstanding comebacks to score points.
Bennetts British Superbikes
A promising start to events in Free Practice, particularly on the blue side of the garage with Luke Mossey spending both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 3 comfortably inside the top 10 (P5 and P6 respectively), whilst in Free Practice 2 he placed P11. Jossi set to work on finding a setup, seemingly having to balance good top-end speed with slower acceleration out of the slow corners. A pair of P19’s and a P25 showed that progress was being made between sessions, it’s a steep learning curve in the BSB
Qualifying seems to the be the point where our luck just seems to evaporate at the moment, with Josh Elliott mustering P22 before Luke Mossey was agonisingly bumped out of Q2 in P10 after a sprinkling of rain caused other riders to slow ahead of his fast lap.
A poor start to race one saw both Josh and Luke slip back off the line, with Jossi ending up right at the back of the field after being forced wide into turn one. But this weekend the boys have been really up for it, and it showed; Luke scything through the field passing Showdown rivals Fores, Buchan, Bridewell, Brookes, Iddon… before you knew it he was running P5! But Thruxton isn’t the kindest mistress on tyre wear and heat, and Mossey did well to hold onto P9 at the flag.
After being bumped to the back of the pack in the first few corners, Josh showed real fight to begin his own push through the grid, fighting up to P18 where he finished behind the rapidly declining Iddon (who had at one point been challenging for the podium, if you didn’t believe what we’d mentioned earlier about tyre wear).
Race two was… eventful to say the least, with the red flag being brought out on two occasions; firstly, for a particularly short bit of rain and then for the newly liveried Tyco BMW of Glenn Irwin. In between pauses, we did get a bit of particularly good bit of racing, but Luke Mossey’s headway was quickly lost when he dropped to the back of the field after running wide into the chicane to avoid the sliding RAF Regulars & Reserves Kawasaki of Ryan Vickers. The comeback was on by the time the first red flag was waved, with Luke already in P22, which became P15 at the second flag. His comeback was complete with a brave move past Linfoot on the final lap, putting him P9 after all that drama – talk about back to front!
Jossi made a storming start in race two, moving up two places as the lights went out and getting right on the rear wheel of Stapleford. There he had more of a steady ride than race two, but after a long battle with the Buildbase pairing, managed to scoop up the points that his efforts this weekend deserved. A tough weekend for the Ulsterman on his return from Suzuka, but again progress was made by the team when it counted.
Luke Mossey #12 – Bennetts British Superbike – Championship Position: 11th
Race 1 – P9
Race 2 – P9
“We had a really good weekend at Thruxton, we showed good pace on the Friday and Saturday with two top ten finishes which is important for us. We’re going in the right direction definitely and we made a big change on Friday night which paid off, so I think that’s going to really help us for the rest of the season.
I’m looking forward to Cadwell Park, it’s a proper circuit for riders and one I really enjoy heading to. With the test on the Thursday too it gives us a slightly bigger window to get the bike back into that window, so it should be a good one “
Josh Elliott #10 – Bennetts British Superbike – Championship Position: 13th
Race 1 – P18
Race 2 – P15
“A very challenging weekend for us where we really struggled to make any headway, any change we made didn’t seem to affect the bike positively. Race day the bike definitely felt better, but we still lacked a bit of punch in the corners despite being really good at the top end. It’s something for us to look at before Cadwell, which is a track I really enjoy riding. We just need to rethink and really brainstorm some ideas on how to move forward quicker on a Friday where we just seemed to be hitting a wall at times recently.”
Pirelli National Superstock 1000
After just missing out on a podium at Snetterton on his return to the National Superstock grid following a lengthy illness, you would have put money on the thought that the Bilby wouldn’t settle for anything less second time around. It looked like a tough task on Friday though, with Cooper and Jackson showing the pace which has kept them up there all season
After losing out to Cooper off the line, Skippy enjoyed plenty of great battles and overtaking moves as he, Cooper, Jackson and Mackenzie broke away from the chasing pack to decide the podium positions. Unfortunately, Billy wasn’t close enough to challenge for the win going into the last corner, but he was more than happy to claim a place on the rostrum for the first time this season, taking a well-deserved third place.
Billy McConnell #3 – Pirelli National Superstock 1000
Race – P3
“What can we say, we got pole position on Saturday and finished third today – really great to get pole yesterday after a long time away and just missing out on the podium last time around. To come back and challenge for pole positions and a race win has really boosted my confidence moving forward. Just over the moon to repay the OMG Family after they’ve stuck by me throughout my illness and I feel like now I have that bit more confidence and we can keep moving forwards.
Towards the end there I just got myself in the wrong position, but overall it’s been a really brilliant weekend and we got that champagne which we’ve struggled to get all year. Next up its Cadwell which is a track I have really strong form at so I’ll definitely look to build on this result there.”
Team Principal Paul Curran hailed an impressive ride from Billy and the workrate of OMG’s two Superbike riders, who pushed for everything this weekend;
Paul Curran – OMG Racing Team Principal
“A good weekend for Billy who chipped away during each session and then in qualifying produced an absolutely incredible lap – the fastest ever superstock lap around Thruxton, to grab pole position. He rode a really sensible race, looked after the tyre and the winner really could have been any of the top three. P3 though is a fantastic result, back on the podium and back to the Billy we all know!
On the Superbike side of things, Luke was pretty consistent across every session throughout the weekend and had a bit of bad luck in Q2 where on his last lap, a few riders were touring round which spoiled a lap that would have put him in Q3. Apart from that, he rode a good couple of races, the second race I think for everyone ended up being a bit eventful. Three starts in the end worked in our favour with events that happened throughout the race.
On Josh’s side, we’re slowly getting there – it’s all about finding a setting on the engine and the chassis which gets him feeling comfortable again. He improved in each session, it just feels like at the moment we seem to be running out of time and races when we get the bike where it needs to be. Hopefully we can get a headstart on that at Cadwell with the pre-race weekend test on the Thursday and have a good solid weekend there.”
Alan Gardner was delighted with the spirit shown by all three riders this weekend, and OMG leave Thruxton still comfortably as the leading Suzuki team.
Alan Gardner – Team OMG
“We’ve seen some really great racing today every time we had a bike out on track, Luke and Josh showed real tenacity to battle back after losing positions off the line in race one and in race two we brought home a double points finish with Luke somehow making the top ten in a race that saw him almost at the back of the field!
As for Billy, what can you say? The boy is an absolute star! What a way to come back.”
Next up for us it’s Round 8 at the ever popular Cadwell Park, where we’re certainly hoping for a party! Hope to see you all there!