2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship
Round 9 – Oulton Park
Tommy Bridewell delivered an imperious performance to claim a double on Sunday at Bennetts British Superbike Championship Showdown round at Oulton Park, firing himself back into title contention for the Oxford Products Racing Ducati team.
A second crash of the weekend for former championship leader Jason O’Halloran in race three means he has relinquished the standings lead to team-mate Tarran Mackenzie, with just two-points between the McAMS Yamaha team-mates heading to Donington Park for the penultimate round next weekend (1-3 October).
Superbike Race Two
In the second race of the weekend Bridewell secured an astonishing victory after fighting back from an off track moment earlier in the race to take the lead on the final lap to beat the McAMS Yamaha pairing.
O’Halloran had led from the opening lap despite increasing pressure from his Title Fighter rivals, but he was unable to hold off the commanding pace from Bridewell, who delivered a determined ride to overhaul his Yamaha rivals at the final stage of the race.
Bridewell had run on at Hizzys on the fourth lap, dropping him right down the order into 13th place when he re-joined. However, he was carving his way through the field and he was soon back on the leading group of riders led by O’Halloran.
O’Halloran was putting in a consistent run at the front to hold the advantage as he pushed to bounce back from yesterday’s crash that saw his advantage in the standings decimated, as his teammate Mackenzie took the first victory of the Showdown.
Title Fighters Christian Iddon, Josh Brookes and Mackenzie had been scrapping for second at mid-race distance and on lap 13, the VisionTrack Ducati pairing were inseparable. As they fought for second, Mackenzie seized the opportunity and was able to split the pair by passing Brookes.
Two laps later and Mackenzie made his move on Iddon for second place, but he fought back and instantly regained the position. The pair soon had Bridewell for company and by the penultimate lap, he had moved into second with O’Halloran in his sights.
Bridewell made his move on O’Halloran on the final lap with a move into Old Hall, and then defended hard to hold off the Australian. As Bridewell claimed his second race win of the season, O’Halloran fought off his teammate by just 0.030s at the chequered flag to take second.
Iddon claimed fourth place, but it was a disappointing end to race two for his VisionTrack Ducati teammate as Brookes crashed out of fifth place on the final lap at Druids.
Glenn Irwin was the only Title Fighter who failed to finish in race two; the Honda Racing rider started at the back of the grid after failing to exit pitlane in time following a technical issue. He was working his way through the pack, but as he moved into tenth, he crashed out at Hizzys.
Superbike Race Two Results
Superbike Race Three
In the final race of the weekend, Bridewell launched off the pole position and instantly hit the front of the pack, setting an incredible pace to break his rivals and at the chequered flag he had a 5.972s advantage, with his victory putting him to within nine points of Mackenzie at the top of the standings.
The battle for second raged throughout the 18-lap encounter as Brookes charged into second ahead of Danny Buchan and Mackenzie at the start. By the tenth lap, Mackenzie was into third and hassling Brookes.
Lee Jackson had soon moved into the podium battle, holding fourth and was then dicing with Mackenzie. On lap 14 Jackson made a move on the brakes into Old Hall, but on the exit there was contact between him and Mackenzie as the McAMS Yamaha rider went for the inside line, sending the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider crashing out of the race.
Mackenzie was issued a long lap equivalent time penalty of three-seconds for contact causing a crash, which dropped him from third on track to fifth at the chequered flag.
It was a disastrous race for the second of the McAMS Yamahas as O’Halloran crashed out of contention for the second time this weekend, this time at Cascades on the twelfth lap. That means he now sits second in the standings ahead of Donington Park in a few days’ time.
Brookes was able to hold onto second at the chequered flag with Ray elevated into third, as he became the sixth different rider to celebrate podium success at Oulton Park this weekend for the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW team.
Peter Hickman claimed fourth place for FHO Racing BMW, just ahead of Mackenzie with Buchan completing the top six for the SYNETIQ BMW team.
Glenn Irwin bounced back from his earlier crash to finish in seventh, whilst Iddon was the eighth of the Title Fighters in eleventh place after contact with Mackenzie on lap 14, with the VisionTrack Ducati rider taking to the gravel at Lodge. He was able to rejoin in 15th before regaining ground to 11th.
“I told my team earlier I’ve got nothing to lose, I’m here to win the championship. The dice rolled in our favour this weekend, we did our first double win in BSB and Jason’s had two DNFs then Tarran had a penalty in that last race. Pressure is a cruel thing, but I have no pressure on my shoulders. If I win, it I win it and if I don’t I don’t. I’m here to fight and here to win and that’s what I’ll do. Genuinely I wasn’t surprised by this weekend, without sounding cocky. This place for me is very strong, the bike is strong here and I feel mentally and physically very good. I need to keep this ball rolling at Donington Park and I need to be lifting the trophy at the end of the year.”
“It’s been a mixed day and I’m distraught with dropping the bike on the last lap of the first race today, not just for losing points but for actually doing it as that’s not me. I lost a place on the last lap yesterday so was determined it wasn’t going to happen again and wanted to maintain my pace right up until the end, but I just lost the front. However, the team did a great job in getting the bike ready for race two and whilst I could only admire Tommy riding into the distance, I think we can be proud of the result. Of course, I want to win but to come from as far back as what we were a few weeks ago, to where we are now is testament to everyone’s hard work and we can be content with a brace of seconds this weekend. The championship’s been turned on its head and I’ll keep fighting as always.”
“Like Josh, I’ve had a mixed day but whilst it would have been nice to have got the gap to the Christian Iddonleaders below 25 points, it’s still only 33 and it’s still all to play for. But with the two McAMS Yamahas faltering, I can’t help but think it’s a missed opportunity. Fourth in the first race today was ok and I just didn’t have the power to fight at the end so had to settle for the position whilst I was having a problem with the brakes in the second race. Taz didn’t leave me any room and off I went into the gravel trap. I was able to hold onto the bike though and who knows how valuable those five points could be.”
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