McAMS Yamaha's Jason O’Halloran led from almost start to finish at Thruxton on Saturday afternoon to take his sixth Bennetts British Superbike win of the season.
The R1 rider grabbed the lead half way round the first lap and despite being under extreme pressure from teammate Tarran Mackenzie and Rich Energy OMG Yamaha’s Bradley Ray, he duly held on to extend his lead at the top of the standings.
There was drama before the race had even begun though when front row man Andrew Irwin failed to get going on the warm up lap on his Synetiq BMW but when racing got underway, it was brother Glenn who grabbed the early initiative on the Honda Racing machine.
However, the order was O’Halloran, Irwin, FHO BMW’s Peter Hickman, Mackenzie, Ray and Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) as they completed the first lap but both Luke Mossey and Chrissy Rouse crashed out together at the chicane.
By the third lap, O’Halloran continued to lead with Irwin 0.246s in arrears and Hickman a further tenth back in third. Ray had overhauled Mackenzie for fourth with Jackson still sixth but Josh Brookes and Tito Rabat were running penultimate last and last.
A lap later and O’Halloran’s lead had more than doubled as Irwin dropped from second to fifth with a final corner sort out. Hickman now second from Ray and Mackenzie with Jackson still sixth and Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki), Skinner on the second FS-3 Kawasaki, Ray’s teammate Ryde and Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati) completing the top ten.
A lap of 1’15.209s on lap five saw Ray set the fastest lap of the race and although O’Halloran’s lead was still 0.595s as he looked to be managing the pace, the gap had come down to 0.313s a lap later. Hickman was now almost three quarters of a second adrift in third.
Mackenzie squeezed by Hickman at the chicane on lap seven as less than a second covered the leading four riders and Haslam was also on the move as he relegated Jackson to seventh to become the leading Kawasaki runner.
At the head of the field though, it was another all-Yamaha affair with O’Halloran, Ray and Mackenzie running as one as they started their tenth lap and, try as he might, Hickman was unable to make any inroads into their advantage.
Lap 12 and Mackenzie took second from Ray at the Complex only for the latter to retaliate at the chicane and although their squabbling allowed O’Halloran to open up a small gap, the trio were back together with just three laps to go.
O’Halloran was doing his utmost to break the challenge of Mackenzie and Ray and with the last two-named continuing to do battle, he was able to edge away on the final lap and take victory by just under a second.
Ray looked to have grabbed second at the chicane on the final lap but in a photo finish it was Mackenzie who took the runners-up position with Irwin getting the better of Hickman to claim fifth.
Jackson came out on top in the Kawasaki battle in sixth with Skinner, Haslam, Sykes and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) completing the top ten. Brookes eventually placed 20th almost half a minute behind compatriot O’Halloran.
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