OMG Yamaha Bradley Ray confirmed his place in this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Showdown with three superb rides at Thruxton.
Since taking two wins at round two at Oulton Park, the Rich Energy rider has never been out of the top two in the championship table and three more podiums at Thruxton – making it 13 for the season – saw him confirm his place in the end of season deciders for the first time since 2018.
Ray, like he has been for the majority of the season, was challenging for the victories in each race and, after placing fifth in qualifying, he improved to third in Saturday’s opener, less than a second off race winner Jason O’Halloran.
It set the trend for the rest of the weekend with Ray and the similar-spec McAMS Yamaha’s of O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie disputing the race wins.
“Saturday wasn’t a bad race, to be honest, as the pace was certainly comfortable,” Ray said afterwards. “With five laps to go Taz passed me and I had to change the game plan a little bit. I was happy to sit behind Jason and I knew I was strong into turn three but ended up having a little scrap with Taz.”
Ray only lost out to Mackenzie on the run in to the line by 0.003s and Sunday’s races were equally as close with the three riders going toe to toe in each of the longer 20-lap races. After finishing third in the first race, 0.165s behind race winner O’Halloran, Ray looked like he was going to win the final race until Mackenzie overhauled him at Church.
However, as had been the case in earlier races, getting the drive out of the final chicane in the short dash to the flag was going to be crucial and having seen O’Halloran beat Mackenzie to the line earlier in the day, Ray tried the same move on Mackenzie.
He fell agonisingly short of victory by 0.019s but after three fourths at the previous round at Brands, the Kent rider was happy to be back on the podium and equally happy to confirm his place in the Showdown.
“It’s been a great weekend and good to be back on the podium again after missing out at Brands Hatch. Thruxton is always difficult as you never really know how good your package is until the final few laps and the RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha R1 has been unbelievable all weekend.
“I tried for the top step in all three races but to come away with two thirds and a second was a great feeling. I’m looking forward to Cadwell Park now which should be a good track for us to go to.”