Jason O’Halloran’s Showdown experience in this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship continued on its rollercoaster ride at Donington Park at the weekend with a return to the podium being offset by another crash, which took Tom Sykes out of the last race and left the Australian further beaten up.
After two heavy spills at Oulton Park just over a week ago, when knocked off by Peter Hickman and Tommy Bridewell, the McAMS Yamaha rider wasn’t sure if he’d be able to compete at Donington at the weekend but with typical grit and determination, he did just that and was rewarded with pole position and then second place in Saturday’s Sprint encounter.
“We came to Donington not sure how I would be on the bike and practice was a nightmare with the weather, so to get pole position after the week we’ve had was a real boost,” he explained.
“The pole lap was quicker than I’ve ever been around Donington so it left me feeling confident for the race. I got a good start but unfortunately got a bit beat up in the early laps, but managed to recover and pick our way through to second.”
However, Sunday didn’t follow the same positive note and after taking seventh in the first race, he was running in fourth place in the final race of the weekend when he got it wrong on the run into the Melbourne Hairpin on the sixth lap.
Unable to stop the R1 Yamaha, he clattered into the back of Sykes’s Ducati and although he stayed on, O’Halloran didn’t and was stretchered away before limping his way back to the pits.
“Gutted doesn't cover it,” he said. “I'm really sorry to Tom and the PBM Team, they had a mega weekend and it certainly wasn't my intention to hit him. This morning we went the wrong way with the bike and I had no rear grip but we made some changes for the final race and I was feeling really good.
“Unfortunately, I went wide when I first took the lead and that led to me getting beat up a bit and I lost a lot of ground fighting with Andrew (Irwin). The leaders were getting away, so I wanted to get to them, I went for a pass on Tom and unfortunately the rear came up. I was in a little deep and when it landed it just meant I couldn't avoid him. I'm glad he stayed on but am very sorry to have ruined his race. Fortunately I'm okay, a bit more battered but we should be good for Brands."