A challenging weekend in Norfolk saw OMG experience the highs and low of racing as Billy McConnell narrowly missed out on a podium return to the paddock, Luke Mossey secured another double top ten result and Josh Elliott hit a torrid patch of luck. Phew, what a rollercoaster!
Bennetts British Superbikes
Mossey continued his form from Knockhill, grabbing top ten results in all three Free Practice sessions. With Jossi poised on the edge of the top ten, OMG headed into Qualifying brimming with confidence – especially when both Josh and Luke finished Q1 comfortably away from the drop zone. But an unfortunate electrical fault in Q2 saw Mossey miss out on Q3, with Elliott also missing out after a tough session. Still, P12 for Luke and P16 for Josh gave our boys plenty to push for on race day…
Our pace reappeared in the warm-up, where Luke placed back in P7 (a particular favourite of his across the weekend) with Josh just behind in P10.
Luke had the bit between his teeth as the lights went out for race 1, moving up to P8 by the end of the second lap where he joined Irwin, Fores and Hickman for a battle for fifth place. Mossey pulled off some outstanding overtaking moves but had to settle for P8 as he crossed the line. Further back, unfortunately Jossi had to retire the Pink Panther after two-thirds of the race distance with the bike suffering from a handling problem.
Unfortunately, Jossi’s Race 2 ended before it even started, with the Pink Panther seen tumbling through the grass on the sighting lap, where it joined the FS3 Kawasaki of Danny Buchan. A gutting moment for the Ulsterman, who seemed to not have luck on his side this weekend.
For Luke Mossey, whilst he finished where he started, there was a whole heap of action in between! Battles with Fores and Barbera pushed OMG’s ‘Mr Blue’ to his limits on the Suzuki GSX-R1000, and whilst he came off second best on this occasion – he fended off a late charge from Linfoot to grab his second top 10 of the weekend.
Luke Mossey #12 – Bennetts British Superbike – Championship Position: 10th
Race 1 – P8
Race 2 – P10
“Overall a really good weekend, we’ve made really good steps with the bike again. I’m getting more comfortable every time I get on the Suzuki. We had a bit of a mishap in qualifying with my dash, which bumped us down to P12 when we easily had top 7 pace which was frustrating. But in the race, we’ve made up for it with a good pair of races, we’re up to 10th in the Championship and not far off 7th so we just have to keep going. We’re building some momentum now, scoring good points and next we’re heading to Thruxton which is a circuit I love racing so I’m hopeful we’ll be fighting for the top places there. “
Josh Elliott #10 – Bennetts British Superbike – Championship Position: 13th
Race 1 – DNF
Race 2 – DNS
“A really tough day for us at Snetterton. Morning warm up went well and showed that we had some pace, but in race 1 I suffered with some really bad chatter, to the point where I almost fell off the bike a few times and it was just getting dangerous for me. For race 2 we were feeling much more confident, we changed the bike to be closer to what we had in warm-up and then on the out-lap I got about three quarters of the way around and I’d seen Buchan had crashed so I took it easy around the next few corners. As I got to the end of the long straight the bike just washed out from under me during a right-hander, really unfortunate – just one of those things.
Obviously, I’m competing in the Suzuka 8 Hours next weekend and that should hopefully mean I come back to Thruxton with some more confidence. I won there on the Superstock bike last year for OMG, so it’d be the perfect place to put on a show and come back strong.”
Pirelli National Superstock 1000
Skippy is back! Returning to the grid after a long absence through illness, Billy wasted no time in pushing his new L9 GSX-R1000 to the limit, taking P2 in Free Practice 1 and P4 in Free Practice 2. Qualifying was delayed till the end of the day on Saturday, but Skippy sent us all home happy – putting the OMG Racing Suzuki on the front row, a pretty good welcome back we’d say – right?
Unfortunately, a poor start for the Aussie placed him well into the clutches of the rest of the pack and he had to battle back into P4, where it looked like he’d stay after the leading pack broke away. But a mistake from Mackenzie dropped him into the Bilby’s clutches, who passed him with a brave move up the inside. Mac and Mc both pushed it to the wire, but Skippy had to settle for 4th place as his efforts began to take their toll in the final laps.
Billy McConnell #3 – Pirelli National Superstock 1000
Race – P4
“It’s kind of a good thing the race got cut short there, my fitness was just starting to get the better of me. I felt good on the bike, I was just a little bit nervous I guess about wanting to push that extra bit, I had a few moments there and probably just my confidence levels are still recovering after my illness. I saw Taylor as he ran off, had a little bit of red mist and thought ‘Yeah I can have the podium here’ but I could hear someone close behind me, so I didn’t want to mess up either.
Really glad to just be back here with the OMG family and my sponsors who’ve all stuck by me in a really tough time, so to return with a fourth is not what we want overall, but it’s a hell of a lot further forward than I thought I’d be this weekend!”
A mixed bag of results for Team Principal Paul Curran, who was particularly impressed by Skippy’s return to the paddock;
Paul Curran – OMG Racing Team Principal
“A bit of an interesting weekend for us. In the Superbikes, qualifying didn’t really go our way, but Luke made up for that in race 1. Josh unfortunately had a handling problem which meant we had to retire the bike for safety reasons. We sorted that for race 2 but unfortunately, he parted company with his motorcycle before he got to the grid. Luke didn’t get as good of a start in this one, but he clawed some places back and another top ten result is really positive for him, all in all it’s more points but we have one half of the garage who haven’t had the luck this weekend that their hard work has deserved.
With Billy, he’s been off for a long time with his illness so for him to come back and do so well on the brand new L9 GSXR-1000 is a great result considering we’re starting from scratch with the bike to a degree. He qualified on the front row and maybe his nerves got the better of him off the start, but he settled into his rhythm and wasn’t a million miles from getting a podium on his return which is amazing really.
We’ve just got to keep pushing for points from now, the target is to get as close as we possibly can to the showdown, so we’ll look to step things up again next time out at Thruxton”
A topsy-turvy weekend for Alan Gardner, who was thrilled with the effect of Billy’s return to the garage.
Alan Gardner – Team OMG
“A challenging weekend for the team in terms of results, we’ve had highs and lows but that’s racing right? Having Billy back with us was great for the team, he has this positivity around him all the time that just gets everyone to relax and smile – to see him smiling when he got off that bike at the end of his first session really put us all in a great mood. Josh’s luck is due a change, we know he’s got the ability – it just wasn’t his weekend this time out. And Luke has put in another great ride to move into the top 10 of the championship, so it’s great to see him settling into the Suzuki now and you can see it more with every race.”
OMG will return in a couple of weeks’ time, where we head down south to Thruxton (A track that holds some particularly fond memories from last season!) If we could get some more champagne there, what a return that’d be! (these press releases might end up being slightly less easy to read though… ) Till then, Josh heads out to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours – you can follow his progress directly through OMG’s social media pages. See you at Thruxton!