BSB – Oulton Park R9

The ninth round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park has been a difficult weekend for the Bike Devil MV Agusta Team. After a 13th finish in Race one on Saturday, and great first competitive ride by James Ellison, the second race saw James challenge come to an end with an incident in the first part of race. The incident is currently under investigation and further details will follow. The team has now got to hope it can gain support to get to Assen.

Also having a tough time were the Honda Racing team and its riders Xavi Forés and Andrew Irwin as they fought to secure a place in the all-important Showdown. With the pressure on, all eyes were on the riders in the fight at Oulton Park.

Heading into the weekend Irwin was sitting sixth but his weekend was going to be difficult after having to start Race 1 from the back of the grid, but he showed good pace and qualified eighth fastest aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. However in yesterday’s race disaster struck on the second lap when he crashed out of the running after a fellow competitors bike broke down in front of him. With the Showdown in his mind, Irwin returned to the garage and the race was red flagged due to oil on the track from his machine.

Following his decision to return to the garage the 25-year old wasn’t allowed to restart and his move was under investigation. Irwin was excluded from today’s second race, which saw him start the final race of the day from the back of the grid. Lining up in 23rd place he knew the challenge that was ahead of him, but as soon as the lights went out he set about chasing down his rivals. Carving his way through the pack and making up places lap-by-lap, he took the chequered flag in a spectacular 10th place and just missed out on a Showdown spot – he now sits seventh in the overall standings with 157 points.

For teammate Forés the Cheshire circuit once again proved challenging but his lap times and pace had improved since the second round earlier in the year. Wrapping up the weekend with 16th, 11th and 14th place finishes, he sits just behind Irwin in the overall standings with 148 points. Heading into the next rounds Forés knows the TT Circuit Assen well and also Donington Park, where at the third round he scored three podium finishes.
Meanwhile the teams’ Superstock 1000 contender Tom Neave had a positive weekend, beating his personal best times and finishing a lot closer to the leaders than in previous years. Qualifying sixth he got a fantastic start off the line in his first race to storm ahead and join the front group. It was looking like a podium spot was again on the cards, but his race came to an early end on the ninth lap when he crashed out unhurt.
With the bit between his teeth for today’s race, Neave was looking to finish the weekend on a high and started from the second row in fourth place. Another great start off the line saw him again in the front group where he stayed for the 14 laps. Crossing the line to take fifth place, Neave has moved back into seventh in the overall championship standings.
The Superbike team will now turn its attention to the 10th round in two weeks time, when the championship heads to the TT Circuit Assen, in The Netherlands on 20/21/22 September, the Superstock teams do not travel to Assen and will be back in action at Donington Park (4/5/6 October).

Xavi Forés
#6
It’s been a difficult weekend, I expected a little more and to be fighting a bit more towards the Showdown. This morning’s race was better, the Fireblade and my pace was better from yesterday, but at this kind of track we struggle a lot and it was not possible to secure a place in the Showdown and fight with Hickman. I am disappointed as this year the Showdown was the target, but we tried our best and now I’m thinking about the next races; Assen and Donington – they are tracks I know well and hopefully I can enjoy riding again and try to bring the best results for the team, because I think we have done such hard work all season and I am looking forward to ride there and fight to be on the podium again.

Andrew Irwin
#18
This weekend has been a disaster really, but this is racing and is the way it goes, I’m still young and I don’t think anyone really expected me to fight for the Showdown this year but we were so close and we fought until the end. I won a race and now we have three rounds to have fun and get the best results we can for Honda. This weekend we showed how much the Fireblade has progressed here, before we were just about able to make Q2 and this time we made Q3, even though it didn’t count for anything we were still there. Thanks to the team, we have all worked hard so far this season and we still have three rounds, I’m not going to give up just yet and will be looking to get on the podium again and finish the year where I know I’m capable of.

Tom Neave
#68
Oulton Park has gone from being one of my worse tracks to one of my favourites, I found a massive chunk of time here and I really started to enjoy riding it. Since Cadwell I feel I have my confidence with the Fireblade and hope we can now be strong for the next two rounds. The race was good today, I made a stupid mistake yesterday but today I was a little too cautious, but my sector times have improved, so every session has been a progression this weekend. We don’t go to Assen sadly, so I have a bit of a break before Donington and I just want to keep improving for the last two rounds and finish the year strong, they are two tracks I really enjoy and I’m feeling positive as we head to the final rounds.

Havier Beltran
Team Manager
I’m disappointed that not one of our riders is in the Showdown, I understand the circumstances which have led to this and I also know that they’re more than capable of running at the front, which we have shown this season. The work from the team with the development of the Fireblade to get us where we are has been incredible and I do believe we can be strong at the final three rounds. Oulton is a notoriously technical and difficult circuit to ride and let alone when the pressure of the Showdown is on! Tom showed again how important it is to qualify at the sharp end and had great race pace and continually improved his times, unfortunately we gave away some of our advantage when the safety car pulled in and the race resumed, but it was another good ride for Tom aboard the Fireblade.

Oulton Park Circuit Statistics

Length: 2.69 miles (4.33km)
Corners: 17
Lefthand : 6
Righthand: 11
Pole Position: Left
BSB Lap Record: Tommy Bridewell – 1:33.941 (2019)

Superbike Race 3 (17 laps)

Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Tommy Bridewell 46 26:53.172 Ducati
2 Bradley Ray 28 +3.798 Suzuki
3 Scott Redding 45 +5.603 Ducati
4 Danny Buchan 83 +10.571 Kawasaki
5 Glenn Irwin 2 +23.522 BMW
6 Jason O’Halloran 22 +23.671 Yamaha
7 Tarran Mackenzie 95 +24.441 Yamaha
8 Peter Hickman 60 +26.961 BMW
9 Ryan Vickers 7 +30.066 Kawasaki
10 Andrew Irwin 18 +30.851 Honda
14 Xavi Forés 6 +37.906 Honda

Superbike Race 2 (18 laps)

Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Scott Redding 45 20:03.673 Ducati
2 Josh Brookes 25 +0.131 Ducati
3 Tommy Bridewell 46 +0.198 Ducati
4 Bradley Ray 28 +2.903 Suzuki
5 Danny Buchan 83 +10.818 Kawasaki
6 Jason O’Halloran 22 +10.912 Yamaha
7 Christian Iddon 21 +12.626 BMW
8 Peter Hickman 60 +14.989 BMW
9 Tarran Mackenzie 95 +18.285 Yamaha
10 Luke Mossey 12 +22.183 Suzuki
11 Xavi Forés 6 +27.334 Honda

British Superbike Championship Standings

Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Josh Brookes 25 548 Ducati
2 Scott Redding 45 545 Ducati
3 Tommy Bridewell 46 524 Ducati
4 Tarran Mackenzie 95 515 Yamaha
5 Danny Buchan 83 514 Kawasaki
6 Peter Hickman 60 501 BMW
7 Andrew Irwin 18 152 Honda
8 Xavi Forés 6 148 Honda

Superstock 1000 – Race 2 (14 laps)

Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Richard Cooper 47 24:00.047 Suzuki
2 Lee Jackson 14 +2.615 Kawasaki
3 Taylor Mackenzie 77 +2.808 BMW
4 Chrissy Rouse 69 +2.991 Kawasaki
5 Tom Neave 68 +5.267 Honda
6 Luke Hedger 12 +7.907 Kawasaki
7 Lewis Rollo 8 +8.187 Aprilia
8 Jordan Weaving 34 +9.623 Suzuki
9 Levi Day 26 +12.345 Aprilia
10 George Stanley 54 +12.442 Suzuki

Superstock 1000 Championship Standings

Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Richard Cooper 47 344.5 Suzuki
2 Taylor Mackenzie 77 285 BMW
3 Lee Jackson 14 202 Kawasaki
4 Alex Olsen 75 150.5 BMW
5 Lewis Rollo 8 124.5 Aprilia
6 Chrissy Rouse 69 122.5 Kawasaki
7 Tom Neave 68 119.5 Honda
8 Luke Hedger 12 103.5 Kawasaki
9 Eemeli Lathi 22 89.5 Kawasaki
10 Levi Day 26 80 Aprilia

The Integro Yamaha squad extended their series 1-2 lead in the Dickies British Supersport Championship despite an unlucky crash for Jack Kennedy. It was elation for Brad Jones however as he took his maiden Supersport class win.

Jack hit the ground running with fast times, often a full second in front of his rivals, throughout the free practice sessions. Brad by his own admission felt less ‘at home’ than at other rounds and had to work at bike set-up in each outing.

Saturday was again a busy day for the riders of the Dickies British Supersport Championship with Qualifying followed by a twelve lap Sprint race.

Jack was last to take to the sinuous Cheshire circuit in a relaxed manner, confident in his ability to put in strong laps in Qualifying. Indeed the determined Dubliner headed the session and logged a superb 1:36.992 pole position time with other riders trying to catch a tow to improve their own times. His time was 0.3 seconds quicker than his own lap record at the circuit. Brad slotted into third within the main Supersport class which translated into a second row start.

Saturday’s race was held in dry but cool conditions and it was the Appleyard’s squad’s main rival Alastair Seeley who took the holeshot and made the early running. On lap four Jack managed to get past and his teammate followed through. Then as Jack eked out a lead there was an epic battle for second place between Brad, Alastair and GP2 riders Kyle Ryde and Mason Law. At the flag Jack took his tenth consecutive win of the season over three seconds ahead of Alastair who just pipped a frustrated Brad by only 0.2 seconds.

Race two witnessed a real change of fortunes for the three main protagonists in a truly dramatic outing. As in race one, Jack held back at the start as a battle commenced between the two Appleyard riders, Seeley and Ryde. Seeley crashed out of third on lap two and just one lap later Jack followed suit. On closer inspection Kyle Ryde had a slide which unsettled Jack at a crucial point in the corner, causing him to crash. Jack was unhurt whilst Alastair seemed to have injured his wrist.

After a pace car intervention, the battle continued on track and Brad took his first ever Supersport class victory to much applause.

In the title fight Jack now leads Brad by 37 points with Alastair Seeley another 36 further adrift, giving Brad a small cushion.

The team also hosted a welcome visitor over the weekend who had the ride of his life. Lee Weston bid a sizeable amount at an auction during Colin Appleyard Motorcycles ‘An Evening With’ for a pillion lap with three times British Superbike Champion Niall Mackenzie. Lee described the whole experience as “mind blowing”, especially as Niall had wheelied the whole length of the start-finish straight.

Jack Kennedy said: “It was looking like another perfect weekend until the accident. Basically I knew I had the pace to win so like on Saturday I was happy to sit behind the leaders and attack later on. Unfortunately Kyle had a slide and I was right on his tail so that unsettled me and I crashed. The team actually improved the bike over Saturday so it was going even better in warm up which is doubly annoying! Anyway we go to Assen and I know we’ll be strong there also.”

Brad Jones added: “I’m almost speechless to be honest and over the moon to grab the win. It was a hectic race with Jack slipping off in front of me and then I had a huge slide in the same place so I backed off slightly in that sector each time. I knew I had P1 in the bag so it would have been silly to push and crash trying to pass Kyle as he is in another category. It’s mega to get my first win in this class, and I want to give full credit to the Integro Appleyard team have brought me on so much and given me the opportunity to race in World Supersport as a wildcard. I feel that and racing Jack all year has raised the level for me.”

Team owner Robin Appleyard summed up: “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster weekend and despite it all we managed to extend our lead and build a bit of a points cushion to third! Jack had a plan in both races but unfortunately he was caught up in someone else’s wobble.

Brad has been knocking on the door of that first win all year and this will give him the confidence to push for more, I’m so happy for him.”