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In his first outing for the SMT Honda team, Jason O’Halloran impressed everyone at the latest round of the British Superbike Championship this weekend and the 20-year-old was rewarded with 15th place in Sunday’s second 20-lap race.

It gave the team another Championship point and despite never having seen the Croft circuit until Friday morning’s free practice session, the Australian soon got to grips with the 2.125-mile venue, improving his pace throughout.
Ending the first day in 18th place, the team were hopeful of getting inside the top 15 on Saturday but their plans went awry somewhat in the final free practice session when an oil seal broke.

The resulting loss of track time wasn’t on the agenda but Jason didn’t let it affect him and he really shone in the qualifying shootout. Running as high as 9th at one stage, a time of 1m22.573s eventually saw him finish in 15th place, good enough for a fourth-row start.
With good conditions on the race day, the reigning Australian Supersport Champion made a strong start in the first 20-lap race and he was soon up to 14th place and well in contention with the group battling for 10th place. Briefly knocked back to 15th, he re-passed Tristan Palmer on the 10th lap but three laps later his race was over and it was definitely a case of unlucky 13 as he slid out of race, fortunately without injury.
In the second race, problems on the sighting lap meant that Jason had to run the entire race without any traction control on the bike and this could be seen in his start as he slipped back to 17th place.


However, as he got more used to the different characteristics of the bike, his pace quickened and he was comfortably running with the factory Kawasakis of Stuart Easton and Billy McConnell. Embroiled in an excellent five-rider dice for 12th place, a determined pass on the last lap saw him claim 15th for a debut, and hard earned, Championship point.
Speaking afterwards, team owner Robin Croft said: “It’s been a typical up and down weekend for the SMT Honda team but we’re delighted with how Jason performed and he thoroughly deserved his first points in the British Superbike Championship. The damp weather and bike problem on Saturday hurt us as Jason needed all the dry track time he could get but he never stopped giving 100% and he’s impressed everyone with his speed and application.

“It was a really slow crash in the first race and there was no damage on the bike but on his sighting lap for the second race, Jason lost all revs and power so he had to turn the traction control off. Running a full race distance without it made his life difficult but it was a strong ride and he was comfortably running with riders who have a lot more experience on the circuit so we’re happy with the result.

"We’ve got a test day at Silverstone on Tuesday, in preparation for the next round and we can’t wait to get there and make further strides forward.”

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