Jason O’Halloran got off to a solid start as the second round of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship got underway at Oulton Park, sitting fifth on the combined timesheets at the end of the day.
Having established a clear direction at last week’s test at the Cheshire track, O’Halloran was eager to get out for FP1 as the sun beamed down. It was a strong session for the Aussie, who set a time of 1’34.402 to sit third at the end of the session, narrowly pipped to second by Peter Hickman.
A slight change to the bike for FP2 improved his feeling on the R1, but with rain coming down mid-way through the session, he was unable to push on to see what he could achieve. His time from the opening session left him fifth on the timesheets.
Despite having hoped to ride this weekend, Tarran Mackenzie remains on the sidelines after assessment by the BSB medical team ruled him unfit for participation in the event – a decision both Tarran and the team accepted.
It was a day of progress for Tim Neave on the Edwards 1902 Yamaha in the Pirelli National Superstock class, he improved his lap time step by step but was ultimately hampered by a busy track, leaving him 12th at the end of day one but feeling strong on the R1.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, SUPERPICKS 12 Free Practice result:
Combined Practice: 5th – 1’34.402
“It’s been a good day, the direction in which we’ve gone with the bike is definitely better and we’ve been able to work through a couple of things which look promising. I actually felt better on the bike in FP2, but then the rain came which meant we couldn’t really see where we were but it’s the same for everyone! Hopefully the weather stays OK for tomorrow and we’ll give it a good go.”
Edwards 1902 Superstock
Combined Practice: 12th – 1’37.383
“I’m quite happy with today, 12th isn’t where I want to be on the times but we’ve made a good step and the bike feels really good. The track was busy today, but now I’m starting to feel more confident on the bike I think we can start to push on so I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings.”
“It’s obviously a shame not to be riding today but we knew it was going to be a long shot. I went to see the medical team this morning and their advice was that it’s probably just a bit too soon. There are two weekends off before Donington so that’s three weeks of extra rehabilitation, so I’ll now turn my focus to coming back there as strong as I can.”
“Today has been OK, we’ve learned quite a bit about the bike but the rain in FP2 was a bit frustrating as we didn’t get to see where we were with Jason. Tim is progressing nicely on the stocker, so we’ll see how he gets on tomorrow. We knew it was going to be a big ask for Tarran to be fit to ride today, but it’s important not to rush it and get him back on the bike as strong as he can be so we’ll see where we are at for Donington.”
Jason O’Halloran fought through from the fifth row of the grid to bag more important points in Sunday’s opening Bennetts British Superbike encounter at Oulton Park.
The Australian entered the first race of the weekend with a challenge at hand having qualified 14th earlier in the day, when an unexpected rain shower led to a difficult qualifying session. O’Halloran had shown speed initially, but fell down the order towards the closing stages of the session.
A strong start saw the Aussie up into the top eight by the end of the opening lap, and settling into his rhythm, he looked to build his pace in the shortest of the weekend’s three races. Passing Andrew Irwin for seventh, he looked to close the gap to the front but wasn’t quite able to do so, a small issue in the closing stages saw him lose a position to Tommy Bridewell, leaving him eighth overall when a red flag brought the race to a premature end. He will start tomorrow’s race from tenth on the grid.
It was a tough day for Lincolnshire’s Tim Neave in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 class. Despite improving his overall lap time, he wasn’t quite satisfied with 12th on the grid for tomorrow’s race but is confident about his pace over distance, so will be looking for a good start.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Race 1 result:
Qualifying: 14th Race 1: 8th
“It was difficult starting from the fifth row but I felt good on the bike and we were able to have a strong first few laps, I made some good passes and felt pretty comfortable getting through the guys. Obviously it takes some time to get through people but then in the middle part of the race I felt my pace was ok. We’ve got a few things to work on, so we can try and build on the feeling we had for tomorrow. Towards the end of the race I had a slight problem which didn’t help, but we can rectify that tomorrow and look to improve on that.”
Edwards 1902 Superstock
“We’ve definitely got a bit of work to do, 12th on the grid isn’t where we want to be. The bike feels good and I feel like we have strong pace over distance, but it just didn’t come together for us in qualifying today. Getting a good start will be key tomorrow, if I can get away well and get on the back of the leading group I am confident we can have a good result.”
“I felt Jason rode really well today. Qualifying didn’t quite work out for us and starting on the fifth row made things difficult, but he got a really strong start to get up into the top eight and rode a solid race. We had a small issue towards the end which didn’t help matters, but we are confident that we can make progress tomorrow. Tim had a bit of a tough qualifying, his ideal lap time is really good but he just wasn’t quite able to string a lap together today. He’s feeling good for race distance, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Jason O’Halloran set his quickest ever lap of Oulton Park as he rode to a pair of sixth places at Oulton Park on Monday, banking more valuable points for his 2022 challenge as he continues to make progress on the 2022 R1.
Starting tenth on the grid for the second race of the weekend after an eighth placed finish on Sunday, O’Halloran made a strong start and was battling towards the top six when a safety car came out. Sat in fifth position at one point, he would lose one spot before the end of the race and cross the line sixth.
Another row forward on the grid for race three, the team tried quite a radical change for the final encounter, one that would prove to be quite positive as O’Halloran was noticeably quicker from the off. Setting his fastest ever lap of Oulton Park while battling for fourth, he crossed the line sixth but with a much better feeling with the bike. He now sits sixth in the championship with 60 points.
Tim Neave enjoyed a strong outing on the Edwards 1902 Superstock R1, starting 12th on the grid he faced an uphill challenge but launched off the line to be within the top seven at the end of the opening lap. He made it through to sixth and was in the battle for the podium, but was unable to progress towards the end of the race bringing it home in a strong sixth place. He remains in the lead of the championship by 12 points.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Race 2 result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Race 3 result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship after Oulton Park:
Race 1: 8th
Race 2: 6th
Race 3: 6th
Championship: 6th (60 points)
“I felt like we ended the weekend in a good way. It’s difficult when you go into a race with a setting you haven’t used before, so to do my fastest lap of Oulton Park in that situation shows that the bike was better and that I felt better straight away. I made some strong passes and felt like we were in the race. Although we still aren’t where we want to be, I feel like with the setting we have now we can turn up to the next race and tune for the weekend and build the speed and get back in the race. When you’re searching for a feeling all weekend like we have been here, every time you go out you try something big which is hard in a race weekend. The last race was very positive, although it’s a sixth place and nothing to shout about we are definitely heading in the right direction.”
Edwards 1902 Superstock
Race: 6th Championship: 1st (60 points)
“I am really happy with today’s result, starting 12th we had a big job on and I knew I needed to make a good start, which we did. The first lap I felt really good on the bike and was able to pass people quite easily, I got up to sixth and was feeling really strong. I tried to push towards the next group but I felt like I was pushing quite hard and with a big gap behind me I knew sixth was decent points so brought it home. We’re still leading the championship and head to Donington, a circuit I really enjoy and where the bike works very well.”
“It’s been another tricky weekend as we’ve tried to find Jason the feeling he needs on the bike, but overall we made a lot of strong steps and we are definitely heading in the right direction. We are playing the long game, we want the bike to be as strong as it can be at the end of the year as ultimately Jason learned in 2021 that you can win as much as you want at the start of the season, but it’s the Showdown when things count. Hopefully we can have two bikes out at Donington and that will speed up our development!”