Jason O’Halloran’s quest to become the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Champion continued at pace at the weekend with the McAMS Yamaha rider taking two wins and a third at Thruxton to extend his championship lead and confirm his place in the Showdown.
Already on a run of nine consecutive podiums when he arrived at the Hampshire venue, the Australian extended that to 12 upon the completion of round six, which saw sweltering temperatures throughout the three days. Pole position in qualifying and then victory in Saturday’s Sprint race got the ball rolling.
“Saturday started well in qualifying with a really fast lap in the conditions and then the race was the first real long run we've done and I led pretty much every lap,” O’Halloran said on Sunday evening.
“I didn't know how fast to go so I picked a pace I was happy with, that I thought would get me to the end first and it did. We got some good data and although not a million miles away, I felt there were a few tweaks we could make to improve things.”
If Saturday’s race was close, Sunday’s two 20-lap encounters were even closer as O’Halloran went head-to-head with teammate Tarran Mackenzie and fellow Yamaha rider Bradley Ray to provide the two best races of the season.
Having led for two thirds of the first race, it looked like he’d have to settle for second after Mackenzie snuck by him at the final chicane but O’Halloran had other ideas and drove underneath the reigning champion on the run to the line to get the verdict by 0.079s. And although he couldn’t complete the hat-trick, a close third meant he’s now taken seven wins, four seconds and a third in the last 12 races.
“We won two races this weekend and took a third, the fastest lap of the weekend and felt really comfortable in all of the races,” he explained. “I managed the first two races quite well and in the last race I got a worse start so it changed the strategy.
“I sat behind Taz and Brad for as long as I could and then I probably went to the front one lap too early thinking I had more tyre than I did. Maybe I pushed too much too soon and cooked the tyre a bit, but they were very enjoyable races.
“I love racing at Thruxton and it’s more like a cycling race as you’re conserving the tyres and thinking about strategy. It would have been easier if there was two of us, as when there’s three it makes the strategy a bit more tricky but I’ve now had 12 podiums on the bounce and I’m really enjoying it at the minute.”