This weekend saw Norfolk’s super-fast Snetterton circuit play host to Round 5 of the 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship. With a storm due to roll in on Saturday, all thoughts during Friday were on securing the best position possible before the predicted rain hit.
The team would head into the event second in the Championship Standings, with Kyle Ryde second in the Riders’ Standings, and Ryan Vickers eighth. It was to be an important weekend for Ryan, being based just a few miles down the road in Thetford, with thousands turning out, hopeful to see the local lad take his first BSB podium at the track he grew up at.
Free Practice 1 would see both Superbike riders take to the 3-mile long Snetterton 300 circuit on a dry, sunny Friday, with Ryan feeling strong after his second podium of the year at Knockhill just a few weeks previously. By Lap 7 of the session he was P2 in the times, coming in early to discuss tactics and settings with Crew Chief David Harris, before heading back out with 2 minutes to go to finish the session P4. Kyle would struggle a little with front end grip, an issue that would plague him on & off throughout the weekend, finding the sweet spot with 1 minute to go, but unfortunately having his lap time cancelled. Despite this, he would end the session P11.
Free Practice 2 would see more of the same, with both riders hot out of the blocks, Ryan P2 to the current Championship leader after a handful of laps, just 0.149 seconds off the Ducati of Bridewell, going purple in Sector 1. With 10 minutes left to run, having covered just 4 laps, Ryan would head back out P6, putting in a fast lap to go P4 with less than 2 minutes to go, just 0.773 off the top spot, and 0.025 ahead of his teammate. Kyle would be sat in P10 with 10 minutes of the session to run, before heading back out with less than 2 minutes to go to secure P5, giving both riders a spot in the coveted Qualifying 2 session on Saturday.
Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning would be the last chance for the guys to try any last-minute changes, and would prove consistent again for Vickers, with him taking P4 at the close, with Ryde again struggling for confidence in the front end and bringing the bike home P12.
As time ticked by on Saturday, the air & track temperatures would rise higher & higher, with the humidity levels to match. Qualifying 2 would kick off at 13:30, giving the 18 fastest riders from Free Practice & Qualifying 1 10 minutes to post their fastest lap times & secure their starting spots for Race 1. Unfortunately the session was not to be kind to the Yamaha R1s of LAMI OMG Racing, with Ryan taking a tumble on Lap 2, meaning he would start the Sprint Race P18. Kyle would fair little better, with his struggles for grip coming to the fore, meaning despite being just 1.5 seconds off Pole, he would start just ahead of Ryan in P16.
Mid-afternoon, with the temperature still rising, the full grid headed out for the BikeSocial Sprint Race, which would see them tackle 12 laps of Snetterton’s fast & flowing 300 layout. It was to be another frustrating session for the team, with Ryan fighting his way straight up to P16 by the close of the first lap, progressively climbing to P12 by Lap 5, before a throttle position sensor issue on Lap 8 would force him to retire from the race, despite a Top 10 finish looking more than likely. Kyle would similarly cut through the pack to make up 4 places by the close of Lap 1, and up to P12 by Lap 4, before eventually taking the flag P13, securing points. Could Sunday bring more luck for the team?
Sunday would dawn thankfully less humid, thanks to rain overnight, though the track would remain mercifully dry for the Superbike sessions during the day. Ryan would start P7, though a strong start would see him P6 coming out of Turn 1. In another stroke of bad luck, he would be forced to box on Lap 2, though he would head back out after a minute or so, rejoining the race a lap down. Kyle would start an uncharacteristic P17, but in a return to form, would find himself P9 by Turn 5, cracking the Top 8 by Lap 6. An incident on the same lap would mean the marshals waving the red flags, necessitating a restart for the remaining 8 laps of the session. Despite starting P21 of just 22 runners, Ryan would put on a fantastic display, fighting his way to P14 within 3 laps, passing his teammate to bag P10 on the last lap, eventually crossing the line P9, with Kyle just behind in P11, meaning a solid points haul for the team.
Following the return of some luck to the team in Race 2, Race 3 would give something more akin to what we’re used to seeing from both Ryan & Kyle. Thanks to a blisteringly fast lap during Race 2, Ryan would start the final race of the day P2, with Kyle’s starting position matching his finish from the previous session. Straight out of the blocks Ryan was absolutely on fire, putting his motocross experience into practice to grab the holeshot into Turn 1, which led to a fantastic battle with the BMW of Brookes for the lead. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to match the outright power of the BMW & the Ducati of Bridewell, dropping to P3 on Lap 3. By Lap 10 he was P4, mounting a spectacular attack on Bridewell on Lap 11 to grab P3, before taking on the other BMW of Haslam on Lap 15, taking the Ducati of Bridewell in the process for P2, before the outright power of both managed to just take him by the close. He would narrowly miss out on taking his first home BSB podium, but put on a fantastic display for the tens of thousands of fans, to rapturous applause when returning to the pitlane at the end of the day. Kyle would lose ground early on, dropping from P11 to P15 by Lap 3, but find his rhythm mid-session to battle his way back up to P9 on Lap 9, before taking Kent on Lap 14 to secure P8 at the close.
Snetterton would also see the return of road-racing star James Hillier to the LAMI OMG Racing BSB garage, with the 38-year-old continuing in the Pirelli National Superstock with Santander Consumer Finance Championship. Saturday’s qualifying session would see the rider of the Fastest Yamaha Ever around the TT course P18 out of 34 runners, bagging P15 in the single race of the weekend, netting him his first points of the season.
Aaron Daykin would continue his first season in the Pirelli National Junior Superstock with Santander Consumer Finance Championship, securing P30 in Free Practice & P33 in Qualifying, with times improving markedly between each session. At the end of the weekend’s single race he would improve yet again, taking the flag P28.
LAMI OMG Racing leave Snetterton retaining second in the Superbike Teams’ Standings, with Kyle Ryde now third & Ryan Vickers ninth in the Riders’ Standings, despite the latter having missed an entire round . The team return for Round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch on July 21st-23rd.
Alan Gardner, LAMI OMG Racing Team Owner – “This weekend has been a bit of a double-edged sword for me, because whilst we haven’t scored the results we’ve become accustomed to, both Ryan & Kyle have given it their absolute all. I’m especially proud of Ryan this weekend – performing so well at his home track was important to him, and whilst he may not have quite managed another podium, he put in 100% effort & commitment, and that’s all we can ever ask. I was really impressed with the way he handled his crash in Qualifying – he didn’t beat himself up about it, he simply went out there in the next session and proved exactly why we chose him as part of the team this year. Onwards to Brands – hopefully we can secure some more silverware!”
Paul Curran, LAMI OMG Racing Team Principal – “For us, technical failures or issues are exceptionally rare, as we follow the strictest lifing procedures, so the sensor issue on Saturday came as something of a shock for us. Ryan did exactly the right thing though, and I have to say that his team did a great job putting the bike back together between his Qualifying crash & Race 1 on Saturday. We may not have been on the podium this weekend, but considering the power deficit with the Ducati & BMWs, and the bad luck that seemed to keep coming our way, I think the whole team well throughout.”
Kyle Ryde, LAMI OMG Racing #77 – “My weekend has just been about Sunday really, and about damage limitation. In Race 3 the bike felt really good, I just wasn’t quite in the position to make the most of it, after some silly mistakes on Friday & Saturday chasing our tail, trying to fix problems that weren’t there. With the pace we had in the last race we definitely could’ve been on for a podium if I’d been able to start on the front row like Ryan did. Still, onwards & upwards, and we’ve got a good setup to take to Brands.”
Ryan Vickers, LAMI OMG Racing #7 – “It’s been a great weekend for me actually. I made one mistake on Saturday, but I’ve just got to forget about that and learn from it. Every other session we’ve been in the Top 4 and been right on it. Results have been consistently good and I’m really happy to have had such a strong race at the end – the lap times were mega, and it was great to be battling with some of the most experienced names on the grid. It was a joy to race there – it was unlucky not to get on the podium, but we know we’re in the right place and we’ll keep on pushing.”
James Hillier, LAMI OMG Racing #37 – “I’ve really enjoyed being back in the paddock after missing a few rounds because of the TT & Northwest 200. We came into the weekend with the soul goal of getting into the points and being in the Top 15, both of which we achieved. We went faster every session, and my fastest lap of the weekend was actually the second to last lap of the race, so we’re going in the right direction. I’m really looking forward to Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks.”
Aaron Daykin, LAMI OMG Racing #29 – “All in all it’s been a good weekend from my perspective. I improved my race finish position, which was important for me, as well as knocking 4.5 seconds off my lap time from the beginning of the weekend, and 2.5 seconds off my Qualifying lap time during the race, so I’m really happy with that. Unfortunately the race was red flagged 3 laps from the end whilst I was having a good battle with some of the guys, which was a little disappointing, but I feel like I’m finding my rhythm now, and we’re moving in the right direction.”