Eazi Grip

Our supported riders and teams get ready for Oulton Park this weekend

PBM Ducati

The BeerMonster Ducati British Superbike Championship Team head for Oulton Park this weekend determined to continue their winning ways as a legacy to team owner Paul Bird who died on September 1st.

Last time out at Cadwell Park, both series leader Tommy Bridewell and second placed Glenn Irwin won all three races between them to consolidate their positions at the top of the table going into round nine of the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship which now heads into the Showdown stage.

Both the PBM team and the organisers are planning tributes to ‘Birdy’ over what will be a poignant and emotional weekend but as he would have wanted, the focus will be on landing the Lake District-based team an unprecedented ninth BSB title next month.

Bridewell’s lead stands at 14.5 points ahead of Irwin as the pair of them have racked up 13 wins and a further 14 podiums between them so far this season, but now the points-scoring system changes and both riders know they can’t rest on their laurels.

It’s the second visit of the season to the Cheshire track, which is classed as the local one for the team, and it proved to be successful earlier in the season as both Bridewell and Irwin took a win each. Carrickfergus, County Antrim-based Glenn also took a double podium back in the spring with Tommy, from Devizes in Wiltshire, scoring solid points with a fourth and fifth, so the aim will be to maximise the scoring opportunities with only two rounds remaining after this one.

Bridewell cites Oulton Park as his most successful circuit with a total of six wins and a dozen podiums over his BSB career with Irwin also adding an additional podium previously to the successes he had earlier in the year.

Tommy Bridewell: “This weekend, I go into it like any other weekend and that is to do the best job I possibly can for myself, the team and of course for Paul. I feel like what we’ve been doing this year has been good enough, there is a reason why we’ve managed to win seven races, and another seven podiums along the way as well. Cadwell was a tough weekend but getting the bike bang on for the last race gave me the same feeling I had when I won at Snetterton and Brands Hatch. All I’m focused on is winning races and if I carry on doing what I’ve done all year then the championship should take care of itself.”

Glenn Irwin: “I have a great feeling and I have said it all year, and despite the tough times for the team of late with the news of Paul’s passing, I still have a great feeling of how this season’s chapter ends. I have continued to target Tommy and we have beaten him in five of the last six races. I feel that momentum is with me, as it was with him in the middle part of the season, and I would be ignorant to ignore that as he has done a fantastic job. Right now, I want to continue with the momentum that I feel we have the upper hand and to continue to build on that, and most of all, put on a good show for not just Paul, but all the fans of PBM who I am sure are also saddened by the recent news.”

OMG Racing – Kyle Ryde

Kyle Ryde leads the charge for defending champions LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha ahead of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship Showdown getting underway at Oulton Park this weekend, and he trails standings leader Tommy Bridewell by 51 points.

With the new points format for the final three rounds, a big points’ haul is up for the taking at the final three rounds and after a podium finish at the Cheshire circuit earlier in the season, Ryde is ready to come out fighting this weekend.

Ryde said: “It’s been the best year so far for me, sitting in third at the minute. I’ve surprised myself at a few tracks I thought I’d struggle at, but they’ve been my best rounds, so I think it’s concrete evidence that I can be a title contender. Obviously, we have to make the most of this year, and we are still way within the shout of winning it, we have just got to keep digging in.

“The points change now, so I have just got to keep my head down, get as many points as possible; you never know what could happen. Going back to tracks now, I got a podium at Oulton Park at the start of the year in the last race, and at Donington Park I was strong, so these two should be good. I’m looking forward to getting back to those rounds now.

“I just hope that we can put on a good show for everyone. I’m very much looking forward to this weekend, I have been doing my work and research, watching the races back from the start of the year, and then we go into this weekend trying to get as many points as possible.”

Honda Racing UK

Honda Racing UK, for the second time this year, makes the journey to Oulton Park, Cheshire, for round nine of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship and the first weekend of the new Showdown format, whereby more championship points are on offer.

Arguably one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar with its fast technical nature & blind crests, riders have to display absolute commitment at Oulton Park to be competitive. Earlier in the year, in what has been a challenging season for the Honda Racing team, Andrew Irwin secured the team’s best result of the year with a fourth-place finish, as he was pipped to the podium finish by just 0.1 seconds at the line.

Heading into this next round off the back of his best weekend racing a Superbike to date, class rookie Franco Bourne will be looking to continue his recent good form at the Cheshire circuit and bag himself another three strong point-scoring finishes. In his last race at the venue earlier in the season, and in just his third race on the Marvel HCL Motorsport Fireblade, he achieved his third Superstock podium of the year with a close-fought third-place finish.

Tom Neave too will be looking to continue his upturn in form and break into the top ten finishing positions once again after a positive home round at Cadwell Park saw him finish in tenth and eleventh.

Franco Bourne

“I’m heading to Oulton Park without any pressure and I just want to go out and enjoy the weekend. The last round was a really good weekend for us, my best weekend on a Superbike at the most physical track on the calendar, and at a track that I thought was going to be my hardest. It was good to get those results when I know that there is more to come.

We had a really good race at Oulton earlier in the year on the Marvel HCL Superstock Fireblade, I led some of the race and came away with a podium, so I just want to get stuck in again. Oulton is another fast physical circuit, and after Cadwell when we had a test the day before too, I know that my body can do it, and my training is going well. I want to go out there and give the team another three strong results.”

Tom Neave

“I think we will have a pretty good weekend at Oulton Park all being well, I’d like to think we will continue where we left off after finding a bit of form in the previous round at Cadwell, and if we can carry that on into Oulton and the last three rounds we will have a good end to the season.

The goal is to extract the most out of myself in these last three rounds and finish the season on a high, everyone remembers the last three rounds not the first three. So my objective is just to get stuck in and make it happen. The last time that we were at Oulton I was on a development chassis, and since then we have developed the bike, gained a load of data and moved everything forward. I think going back now, near the end of the season, it will be a better bike for me and we will be able to do a good job. I am feeling fit and healthy and ready to go.”

McAMS Yamaha

McAMS Yamaha head to Oulton Park for what is set to be an emotional final ‘home round’ ahead of the team’s retirement from the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at the end of the 2023 season.

Oulton Park is just an hour away from both the team’s Fleetwood base at Raceways Motorcycles and the HQ of title sponsor McAMS in Ormskirk and with key team figures living just a couple of miles down the road, it’s always been a special round for the team.

And while the traditional BSB ‘Showdown’ format has been replaced, there’s no less pressure over the final three rounds with more points on the table than the first eight rounds – it’s all to play for with Jason O’Halloran sitting fourth in the championship standings just 54.5 points off the series leader.

With 25 points back on the table per win at each of the next two rounds and this ramping further up to 35 points for the finale at Brands Hatch, the team are well and truly in the title hunt in their swansong season.

Oulton Park hasn’t been particularly kind for O’Halloran over the last two years, but the Australian has been fast during each visit despite the lack of results and the Cheshire venue remains his second-most successful track with five Oulton Park wins to his name on the Yamaha R1.

The team also returns to two riders for the Oulton Park weekend as 2015 British Supersport Champion Luke Stapleford joins the squad for a one-off appearance. Stapleford got his first taste of the McAMS R1 in a shakedown test at Oulton Park two weeks ago but has superbike experience at the Cheshire circuit after standing in for Ryan Vickers at OMG Yamaha earlier this year.

Jason O’Halloran
Championship: 4th

“The last three rounds are where things start to get serious as the points start to ramp up and there’s a lot still on the table. We’re definitely in the fight, but a strong start this weekend will be important. Oulton Park hasn’t been the kindest to us results wise in the last couple of years, but despite the finishing positions, we have been fast each time we’ve been there. I’ve won five races at Oulton on the Yamaha, so we know things work around there. Fingers crossed the weather plays ball and we can have a strong start to the new-look ‘Showdown’.”

Luke Stapleford

“I’m really excited to be riding the McAMS Yamaha at Oulton Park and feel privileged to have been asked to stand in. We managed to get some laps in at Oulton on a practice day which will save us some time in FP1 and allow us to crack straight on with the job. I’ll be honest, after riding the bike I can’t stop smiling!

“I know just how difficult it will be with the depth of the field in BSB but having ridden the bike already I am confident we can do a respectable job. I’d like to say a massive thanks to Steve and Chris for thinking of me and I can’t wait to get to the race meeting!”

Steve Rodgers
Team Principal

“We are looking forward to getting going at Oulton this weekend, it’ll be a sad one as it’s our last home round! It’s been a good circuit for us in the past; it was where Jason took his first win for the team and he’s won five races here so there’s no reason we can’t get ourselves right in that title fight this weekend.

Oulton Park is one of the most technical and challenging circuits on the BSB calendar and riding a Superbike isn’t easy at the best of times, so we wanted to find someone who had experience of riding a Superbike at Oulton Park. Considering everything, Luke did a solid job for OMG earlier this year, finishing all three races and improving throughout the weekend, so he was the perfect option for us. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do. It’s a one-round only deal as we already had plans in place for the final two meetings.”

Hawk Racing – Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop will return to the Hawk Racing team this weekend to line up in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.

The Northern Irishman will ride on board the Crendon Honda by Hawk Racing, sharing the garage with Charlie Nesbitt in the absence of the injured Josh Owens. Owens’ absence is a result of a broken wrist and fingers sustained in a crash at Thruxton in August.

The move continues the long-standing relationship between Hawk and Dunlop, a pairing that has enjoyed great success in road racing for a number of years, including a memorable win in the Superbike category at this year’s Isle of Man TT.

Team Manager Steve Hicken said: “We have a great relationship with Michael and, with Josh still unavailable, it was only natural for us to invite him back for a ride. He’s recognised as one of the biggest names in road racing, but Michael has also played a valuable part in our Bennetts BSB season, riding in the early rounds in preparation for the roads campaign and helping to improve the bike every time he’s been with us.

“We’re looking forward to his return and I’m sure he’ll be a draw for the fans too. It’s unfortunate for Josh to be missing out, particularly given this is his home race, but he’s on the road to recovery and we hope to see him back on the bike soon.”

Posted on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023 in News

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