When Jason O’Halloran took a hat-trick in the British Superbike Championship at Thruxton mid-August, it put him 50.5pts behind championship leader Tommy Bridewell – and that’s the same position he finds himself after the penultimate round at Donington Park.
O’Halloran’s results have been a bit up and down since that magical weekend in Hampshire with Donington being another rollercoaster of a meeting but victory in the final race brought him back into title contention with 105pts still available at the final round at Brands Hatch later this month.
The McAMS Yamaha rider may not have thought that was going to be the case after pole position in qualifying was followed by a lowly 17th in the opening race at Donington when he, like many others, failed to run full wet tyres.
“There’s not much to say really!” said O’Halloran. “We had a great qualifying and was up for the race but the rain just before it changed it. I changed to inters, then we only had time to change to the wet front. The front wasn’t the issue, it was the rear, and I just had no grip. A few others made it work, but we struggled with the settings we had.”
However, the Australian turned it around on Sunday. Fifth in the first race, after starting from 21st on the grid was overlooked by many after the dramatic crash between Bridewell and BeerMonster Ducati team-mate Glenn Irwin stole the headlines and he followed that up with a superb win in the final race of the weekend.
Held in fully wet conditions, tyre choice was simple on this occasion and O’Halloran made it count, grabbing the lead on the opening lap and having a lead of more than five seconds as early as the fourth lap. He controlled the race from there on in for his fifth victory of the season.
“Sunday was an amazing day. I was really happy with the first race to come from 21st to fifth but at the same time I was also a little frustrated as the race got stopped early and a podium was on the cards.”
“Starting on the front row for the last race obviously made things a lot easier and the bike felt fantastic in the wet conditions. Even when I was pulling away, I didn’t feel like I was riding out of my skin to do it, I felt really comfortable on the bike, trying to hit all my markers and control the lap time.”
“I used my dash and my lap timer to break the track into sectors and make sure I wasn’t too far away at any given point and the boys gave me great signals on the board so we could control it to the end. To get another win and bring the gap to the leader down with 35 points per race on offer at Brands certainly means we can head there with a spring in our step.”