Jason O’Halloran got back to winning ways in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on Sunday with the McAMS Yamaha rider taking the first race at Brands Hatch ahead of Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) and team-mate and Saturday’s race winner Tarran Mackenzie. The win also saw him move back to the top of the championship standings.
Pole man Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW) grabbed the lead off the line in the 20-lap race with Mackenzie slotting into second but he was soon back down in fifth as Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati), O’Halloran and Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) all moved ahead in quick succession. The latter was soon in trouble though and after a moment at Graham Hill Bend and again at Surtees, he had to pull off the circuit.
By lap three, the leading trio of Buchan, Iddon and O’Halloran had broken clear with more than a second advantage to the fourth placed rider, who was now Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) with Mackenzie and Bridewell running in fifth and sixth.
Both Mackenzie and Bridewell overhauled Skinner next time around when Buchan’s lead was down to 0.076s with O’Halloran now up into second. Iddon was still in third and only two tenths of a second further adrift.
Lap 5 saw O’Halloran hit the front for the first time, the Yamaha man moving ahead at Stirling’s, and Iddon then pushed Buchan back another spot, this time at Paddock Hill Bend at the start of the sixth lap. Reigning champion Josh Brookes, meanwhile, was back in 15th on the second VisionTrack Ducati and one of only two riders running the harder SC0 rear tyre.
By lap seven, the front five of O’Halloran, Iddon, Buchan, Bridewell and Mackenzie were bunching back up with only three quarters of a second covering them and Skinner was now on his own in sixth. Andrew Irwin (Synetiq BMW) was in a spot of trouble though and lost a top ten position after taking a high speed trip into the gravel trap at Sheene Curve on lap eight.
At half race distance O’Halloran still led from Iddon but Bridewell was now up to third having slipped up the inside of Buchan at Paddock Hill Bend. The latter was beginning to lose ground and was now coming under pressure from Mackenzie.
Back at the front and O’Halloran was beginning to edge away ever so slightly with his lead up to almost half a second as he started the twelfth lap. Bridewell had clearly noted this and was trying every which way to get by Iddon.
The gap was more than half a second a lap later and Bridewell finally found a way by Iddon at Graham Hill Bend with Buchan getting a second wind to also move ahead. However, lap 13 proved unlucky for Brookes and he ran into the gravel at Westfield, dropping from 14th to 18th.
As the race entered its final quarter, Bridewell continued to close the gap to O’Halloran and it was down to 0.259s with five laps to go, and they were now two seconds clear of the battle for third which continued to be led by Buchan with Mackenzie now having pushed Iddon back another spot.
Lap 16 saw O’Halloran add another two tenths to his lead with team-mate Mackenzie moving into the final podium position, at the expense of Buchan, at Paddock Hill. Iddon was still clinging on in fifth with FS-3 Racing Kawasaki team-mates Skinner and Lee Jackson not too far behind in sixth and seventh.
O’Halloran successfully withstood the challenge of Bridewell over the closing laps and eventually ran out victor by 2.18s whilst Mackenzie held onto third from Buchan and Iddon.
Skinner and Jackson took sixth and seventh respectively with Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing), Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) and Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) rounded out the top ten. Brookes crossed the line in 18th.