Jason O’Halloran brought himself right back into British Superbike Championship [BSB] contention at Thruxton at the weekend, hailing his stunning hat-trick as the best weekend of his career.
The McAMS Yamaha rider was at his imperious best all weekend at the Hampshire venue, a circuit where he’d won five of the previous six races, with a masterclass in riding seeing him not only cut the gap to championship leader Tommy Bridewell to 50.5pts but also move on to 26 career BSB victories, the most achieved ever by a Yamaha rider.
“We knew from Friday we had good pace and spent a lot of time doing long runs so I was pretty confident ahead of the races what pace I wanted to do,” the Australian said.
“I ended up at the front early on in Saturday’s race and controlled the pace. In the middle part of the race there wasn’t much of a gap behind me so I let Lee (Jackson) go to the front so I could see what he could do.”
“I figured out pretty much straight away that I wanted to be back in front, so I overtook him and controlled it over the last few laps and managed to build a bit of a gap.”
If Saturday’s Sprint race was straightforward, Sunday’s longer races were less so as he ran as low as tenth for the first half of each race. However, the tactics he employed were nothing short of perfect as he managed his tyre in the early laps, ensuring he still had the grip needed when he started to make his move in the second half of the race.
On each occasion, his timing was exemplary even if he did cut it close in the final race, where he only hit the front for the first time on the penultimate lap. The hat-trick saw him overhaul Niall Mackenzie’s 24 career wins for Yamaha with the deficit to Bridewell halved in one round.
“That’s the best weekend of my career, and coming off the back of a couple of average rounds to bounce back like this is exactly what we needed,” he said.
“We’ve clawed a lot of points back this weekend with the three race wins. I’m now Yamaha’s most successful rider in terms of race wins and have 26 BSB wins which is just incredible. And I’ve won eight of the last nine races at Thruxton which is another amazing stat!”
“It’s been the first time we’ve had a really smooth weekend. When you start your weekend on the front foot you can build your momentum and focus on strategy for the races. We’ve done a lot of work between the two rounds and came here with a better package, so I feel like we all deserved it.”