A trio of Yamaha’s put on a spectacular show at Thruxton on Sunday morning as McAMS’ Jason O’Halloran claimed victory in Bennetts British Superbike race two.
O’Halloran took his second Superbike win of the weekend when he came out on top after a thrilling 20-lap battle with teammate Tarran Mackenzie and Rich Energy OMG Yamaha’s Bradley Ray at the flag.
It was the two McAMS Yamaha’s that immediately slotted into first and second with O’Halloran leading but Ray had split them by the end of the opening lap with Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW), Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati) and Leon Haslam (VisionTrack Kawasaki) completing the top six.
Next time around and the top four remained the same but Ray’s teammate Kyle Ryde gained three places at the chicane having overhauled Sykes, Haslam and Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing). A lap later, Ryan Vickers’ race came to an early end as he fell from the FHO Racing BMW at Campbell whilst Josh Brookes had worked his way up to 17th from 26th on the grid on the second MCE Ducati.
O’Halloran, Ray and Mackenzie were running nose to tail with Hickman half a second behind and the rest of the field another 1.2s in arrears and on lap six, Ray nosed ahead at the Complex. Haslam also moved up to sixth, at the expense of Sykes, on the same lap.
A lap later and O’Halloran was back in front and it was now a four-rider battle for the lead with Hickman having latched onto the back of Mackenzie. The quartet were now some 2.2s clear of the battle for fifth which was now headed by the charging Haslam who, in turn, had opened up a second advantage over the battling Glenn Irwin, Sykes and Ryde, the latter dropping back through the field.
There was little to choose between O’Halloran, Ray, Mackenzie and Hickman but the Australian continued to hold sway at the front and a change came on lap 11 when Mackenzie got in front of Ray. Further back, Haslam was looking solid in fifth with Irwin having edged clear of a six-rider battle for seventh which continued to be led by Sykes from the two FS-3 Kawasaki’s of Rory Skinner, Lee Jackson, Christian Iddon (Buildbase Suzuki), Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW) and the fading Ryde.
A change in the lead finally came on lap 14 when Mackenzie slipped up the inside of O’Halloran at the chicane and although Ray got ahead of O’Halloran at the Complex, his fellow Yamaha rider immediately fought back. Ray then got back ahead at the chicane with the duo rubbing fairings on the way in.
Hickman was beginning to lose touch and there’d been a change for fifth with Haslam dropping back to eleventh and it was now Irwin in fifth from the two Kawasakis of Skinner and Jackson.
Back at the front and Ray took the lead on lap 16 of 20 and although he was late on the brakes into the chicane on lap 18, he still managed to hold on with O’Halloran and Mackenzie slightly held up.
It was still anyone’s race on the final lap and although Mackenzie took the lead at the chicane, O’Halloran got the power down to edge ahead on the run to the line and he took the win by 0.079s with Ray only 0.086s further back.
Hickman took a comfortable fourth, albeit seven seconds in arrears, and it was Jackson who got fifth ahead of Irwin and Skinner. Buchan, the recovering Haslam and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) completed the top 10 with Iddon and Sykes dropping back to 11th and 12th respectively. Brookes gained a point for 15th.