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Brands BSB finale: O'Halloran takes victory in race one

Jason O’Halloran busted the Bennetts British Superbike Championship wide open when he took a ferocious first race win of the weekend at Brands Hatch on Saturday afternoon.

The McAMS Yamaha rider seized control with just under four laps to go and promptly opened up a gap over the rest of the field to close to within seven points of Championship leader Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) who could only manage fourth.
Team-mate Christian Iddon took second, 1.877s behind O’Halloran, to close his deficit to Brookes to nine points, with Tarran Mackenzie coming through to take the final podium spot on the second Yamaha in what was most definitely the race of the season.
Brookes grabbed the holeshot from pole position and he led the field round at the end of the opening lap with the remaining other Championship contender Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) slotting into second from Iddon, O’Halloran and Bradley Ray (Synetiq BMW).
Lap four saw Irwin hit the front with Iddon moving up to third at the same time through Paddock Hill only for O’Halloran to reclaim the spot just a few corners later at Surtees.
Irwin continued to set the pace for the next six laps as he looked to control proceedings and bring other riders into play, which he duly did as just 2.5s covered the top twelve on the tenth of 16 laps!
Brookes was being duffed up though and found himself back in sixth with just five laps to go as Andrew Irwin also overhauled him leaving the Australian with plenty of work to go in the closing stages.
Back at the front and O’Halloran grabbed the lead from Iddon at Stirlings, where he’d been strong all race, on lap 13 whilst Mackenzie was now firmly latched onto the Ducati rider’s rear wheel.
O’Halloran was able to edge away in the closing laps to take his third win of the season with Iddon holding off Mackenzie for second to set up a thrilling final day’s racing tomorrow.
Fourth for Brookes was very much damage limitation as he retained his championship lead but with Danny Buchan (Rapid Fulfillment Kawasaki) taking fifth on the final lap, sixth for Glenn Irwin means he needs to win both races on Sunday to stand any chance of the title.
Andrew Irwin, Lee Jackson, Tommy Bridewell and Gino Rea completed the top ten.

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