Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie on the pace in practice
McAMS Yamaha got off to a strong start despite the weather’s best intentions to make things difficult on the opening day at Brands Hatch as Round 5 of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike championship got underway.
As pit lane opened after weeks of sunshine, the heavens opened leading the team to a bit of a dilemma. The forecast is dry for the remainder of the weekend and with the high temperatures and humidity, the track would soon dry. Sitting out most of the session, O’Halloran and Mackenzie went out on slicks in the closing stages but neither recorded a lap time.
There was the threat of rain again for FP2, but fortunately it amounted to nothing more than a bit of drizzle meaning the team could enjoy a productive session. Both O’Halloran and Mackenzie were on the pace throughout, rounding out the session third and fourth with lap times of 1’25.298 and 1’25.305 respectively.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, SUPERPICKS Free Practice combined times:
Pos: 3rd Time: 1’25.298
“It was really good to get some dry running this afternoon as we thought the rain might come again, so that was really beneficial. I’d like to make a few changes tomorrow with the engine brake and probably improve the chassis balance to fine tune the bike to Brands as we came here with the bike from Knockhill to start with what we know. With that, I’m confident we can have an even better day tomorrow.”
Pos: 4th Time: 1’25.305
“I’m really happy with today. It’s been by far my best Friday of the year and I had a good feeling on the bike straight away. I had a couple of hairy moments, which we’d joked about before the session, back with no electronics but I feel good on the bike. The setting is good but it can definitely be better so I think we can make big steps with the bike tomorrow and be in a strong position for qualifying and the race. I feel back to normal, no pain no problems – Donington was a great opportunity to get some bike time and I’d say I’ve come here fully fit and I’ve got a smile back on my face.”
“It’s been a tricky day with the weather but overall it’s been good. We were there or there abouts and both riders still feel there’s more to come from the bike which is always encouraging to hear. It’s great to have both riders back at the front, Tarran showed his fitness at Donington last weekend and he’s come here and hit the ground running which is great to see. Hopefully we can get a good result tomorrow.”
Jason O’Halloran wins as Tarran Mackenzie makes his podium return
McAMS Yamaha returned to full force with a commanding 1-2 in the opening race at Brands Hatch with Jason O’Halloran taking his third consecutive victory ahead of team-mate Tarran Mackenzie, who took his first podium of 2022 in dramatic style.
There were good omens for the opening race of the fifth round of the championship when O’Halloran and Mackenzie locked out the sharp end of the grid in qualifying. It had looked as though pole would go the way of the reigning champion, but a last gasp lap from O’Halloran saw him steal the top spot from his team-matee. O’Halloran’s time of 1’24.433 – nearly half a second under the lap record – bettered Mackezie’s 1’24.645.
O’Halloran got a strong launch off the line and established an early lead while things weren’t as simple for Mackenzie. Dropping back to fourth, he fought back up to second place before a moment for both O’Halloran and Mackenzie out of Stirlings gave Brad Ray the drive. O’Halloran re-took the lead at the next turn, and it wasn’t long until Mackenzie was back in second until a frightening moment on the Cooper Straight saw him back down to fourth again.
As Mackenzie, Ray and Tommy Bridewell fought for second, this gave O’Halloran breathing space at the front allowing him to take the win by 0.6 of a second. Mackenzie managed to get past Bridewell on the final lap to make it a McAMS Yamaha 1-2, marking his first trip to the podium with the #1 plate having started the year plagued with injury.
O’Halloran’s victory sees him close the gap to series leader Bradley Ray to four points, but crucially the Australian now leads in podium points, while Mackenzie moved closer to a Showdown position, now sitting 13th with 55 points in total.
Sunday will host two further races, with Mackenzie’s 1’24.954 enough to secure pole in the first of the two with O’Halloran starting on the second row in fourth.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, eBay Sprint Race result:
Qualifying: 1st (1’24.433) Race 1: 1st
“That was a really strong day for us with pole position in qualifying and then the race win. It was a difficult race as I led from the start and didn’t know how fast I should go so I set a pace I was happy with and nobody showed me a wheel except for when I made a small mistake. I felt like I went as fast as I had to, not as fast as I could, which is good for tomorrow. I still think we can improve the bike, it’s going to be hotter and a longer race which should suit us. I’m over the moon with today, we’ve won at a number of tracks now and I’m feeling really strong. To have three wins on the bounce and win my first Sprint of the year is really positive. A massive thanks to the whole team and it was great to have Taz back on the podium too.”
Qualifying: 2nd (1’24.645) Race 1: 2nd
“I’m really happy to be back on the podium at Brands, I’ve felt strong all weekend and in the race it was a close battle between us all. I sat in second quite happily and I felt comfortable, but Jason had a bit of a moment and I got knocked back from that and then I had a massive moment and got knocked back again. It was one of those races but I think I was back to fourth two or three times and I could always get back up there and feeling comfortable doing so. I felt good on the last lap and that’s good as tomorrow’s race is longer so I’m confident I can at least be challenging for the win and it’ll be nice to start from pole.”
“Wow! We obviously had a number of 1-2 finishes last year but the feeling never gets old. Jason is absolutely on it at the minute, he’s probably riding the best he’s ever been riding and that continued today with another stunning win. We are thrilled to see Tarran back up there, we knew his fitness was back from Donington so we had a feeling he could be strong here, so for that to come true is great to see. I’ll sleep easily tonight and hopefully we can achieve similar results tomorrow.”
Return of the Mac and a new championship leader with Jason O’Halloran!
Tarran Mackenzie returned to winning ways as the McAMS Yamaha team dominated Round 5 of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch with their first ever treble 1-2.
After Jason O’Halloran’s stunning Sprint Race win on Saturday with Mackenzie second, the reigning champion would go one better twice on Sunday to earn the Monster Energy King of Brands trophy for the second successive year. O’Halloran took two seconds, rounding out McAMS Yamaha’s highest ever BSB points haul. It was sheer domination for the Fleetwood effort, taking every win, second place and pole position.
Temperatures soared on race day making for a slower two races than Saturday’s affair, with lap times around a second slower overall. In the opening race, Mackenzie got to the front early on and was able to pull a gap to take a commanding victory as he returned to the top step of the rostrum for the first time since he took the title at Brands in 2021.
O’Halloran had a fight on his hands for second, with Tommy Bridewell and Bradley Ray pushing him hard. However, he was able to make a pass towards the closing stages and cement the position, moving him into the lead of the overall championship standings.
The weekend’s final race would be a nail-biting affair with Mackenzie starting pole and O’Halloran third. Glenn Irwin took a surprise early race lead for Honda and was able to hang in until over half distance, when O’Halloran made a move for the lead. Not long after, Mackenzie came through too and the final five laps would be a blockbuster for fans as the McAMS Yamaha duo duelled it out for the win.
It was Mackenzie who held the advantage going onto the final lap, and he’d managed to hold on to the top spot despite a last corner lunge from O’Halloran – the pair split by just 0.037 seconds.
O’Halloran now leads the standings by 10 points over Bradley Ray, with a seven point podium point advantage after his run of nine races finishing no worse than second while Mackenzie’s strong points haul sees him move into a Showdown position in eighth with 105 points, igniting his title defence.
The series now takes a two week break before round six of the championship takes place at Thruxton in two weeks’ time.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Race 2 result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Race 3 result:
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:
Race 1: 2nd
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 1st Championship: 8th (105 points)
“It’s been a perfect return to the front, being on the podium and winning races again! The goal was to try and get one podium this weekend and make headway into the championship so to have a dream weekend is amazing. We had good pace, qualified well and felt awesome in both of today’s races despite the heat. It’s been an incredible effort for everyone, I’m so happy to be back and I can’t wait for Thruxton. It’s been a great weekend for the team, our first ever triple 1-2!”
Race 1: 1st
Race 2: 2nd
Race 3: 2nd Championship: 1st (265 points)
“A really good weekend for us, I was really happy to win yesterday. I’ve finished no worse than second in nine races now and won five of them. We needed to make a step forward at Brands from last year and I think we’ve done that. I’m really happy with the progress here, we made a change for the last race which was a bit of a risk and I fought with Taz all the way to the end, made a pass on the last corner and nearly made it stick but just didn’t quite get there! It’s been an amazing weekend for the whole team, we won every race, had every pole and were second in every race too. Everyone is doing a fantastic job and I can’t wait for Thruxton.”
“Our best ever BSB weekend. Every pole, every win and every second place. It doesn’t get better than that. I’m absolutely thrilled. Tarran rode like the champion he is with a dominant ride in the first race today and he managed to keep his cool with a lot of pressure from Jason in the final race. It was close between the two of them, but that’s what we pay them for. We have two riders capable of fighting for the championship and after this weekend, I’d say we now have both of them in the title fight again! We didn’t quite expect Tarran to be in the top eight this early on given his start to the year!”