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Oulton BSB: Double crash destroys O’Halloran dominance

Jason O’Halloran had what can only be described as a disappointing weekend at Oulton Park, the McAMS Yamaha rider crashing not once but twice to relinquish his lead in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the first time since re-taking it at Thruxton in early August.

Sandwiched in between was his 20th podium of the season, five more than anyone else, but his 30-point advantage was wiped out as the pressure cauldron of the Showdown showed its biting nature. His crashes coming after two uncharacteristic mistakes in an otherwise near faultless season. He now sits two points behind team-mate Tarran Mackenzie with Oulton’s double victor Tommy Bridewell only a further seven points adrift.
The first crash came in the opening race of the weekend, losing the front on the exit of Hizzy’s when leading with two and a half laps to go, just as he looked to be edging away from Josh Brookes and the chasing pack. He was philosophical about that crash but after Sunday’s spill, he was considerably more disappointed.
“Saturday was obviously a difficult day for us, but it is what it is,” O’Halloran said. “The championship is made for entertainment and by crashing I made it entertaining for everyone! It was frustrating and disappointing but if we look at the positives, I was the fastest guy out there. I was leading the race and I made a mistake and I crashed and that's part of motorbike racing.”
With Mackenzie winning the race though, that brought his championship lead down to five points but second in Sunday’s opener saw him get his lead back up to nine before the last race disaster when, unlike the previous two races, he found himself down the field.
Starting from ninth on the grid was a major issue and he never looked like fighting his way through the pack, in a weekend where the racing was extremely close save for Bridewell’s runaway third race win. Instead, he’d only gained one place when he again lost the front, this time at Cascades on the 12th of 18 laps.
Mackenzie took the chequered flag in third which would have seen him go to the penultimate round at Donington Park with a seven-point lead, but a subsequent three-second penalty pushed him back to fifth to bring it down to two points and alleviate the damage of O’Halloran’s crashes slightly.
“It’s been a difficult weekend. We were leading Saturday’s race when I crashed, I led every lap of the race this morning and then had another crash in race three. It’s not been ideal. I’ve struggled a little bit with the feeling of the front of the bike all weekend and it caught me out twice. I just need to reset, go through things away from the track and make a plan for next weekend to come out stronger.”

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