Scots race fans packed into Knockhill today to witness the next thrilling instalment of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season. With Brad Ray again on pole position after his race-winning performance yesterday, it would be up to the rest of the pack to chase down the OMG Yamaha man. Unfortunately for defending champion Tarran Mackenzie, he would start at the rear of the gird for the opener having missed the first race of the weekend
Off the line, it was Ray who held his nerve to lead into the first corner, but there were improvements for Ryde, moving up to P2 and Skinner moving up from his 2nd row starting position. Indeed, by the time the field had reached the Knockhill Hairpin, it was Skinner who would emerge at the head of the pack.
The 20 year old would then go on to set a blistering pace, taking the lap record and fastest ever 2-wheel lap of Knockhill in one foul swoop – posting a time of 47.126s to move the bar even further than that of Ray (43.434s) from yesterday. That is a mighty big achievement from the kid from Perth and it looked all good as he began to stretch his legs at the head of the field.
However, all that early work was wiped out on lap 7 when Haslam and Stacey fell at the Hairpin. That brought the pack back together under safety car conditions and the race was back on once again. There was lots of jostling behind between Ray, Jackson and O’Halloran with the McAMS Yamaha man beginning to make in-roads to the front from the mid-point in the race.
From Lap 22, it was O’Halloran who was outperforming his fellow competitors, posting consistent times to reel in and eventually pass Skinner at the front. From there the Australian was relentless in his pursuit of that elusive victory around Knockhill and duly crossed the finish line 0.7 seconds ahead of Lee Jackson who had battled past Skinner in the final laps to take his first podium of the weekend.
“The safety car came at the wrong time for me, I was just settling into my rhythm and was feeling good. But the safety car just threw me a little and my arm pump set-in and I couldn’t hold on at the end,” said Skinner.
Jackson on the other hand, was complimentary about his teammates pace at the front and delighted to get himself onto the podium.
“Rory set a fantastic pace at the front, I could see 47.7s and 47.6s on my dash and then knew the race was fast. I decided just to sit in and go with both him and Jason. I got past, but just never had enough to get to the front.”
O’Halloran, delighted to be on the podium yesterday, was
pragmatic his in assessment of his achievements this weekend.
“Normally I don’t go so well here and let the side down a bit, so I’m delighted to get a podium and that first win around here this weekend,”concluded
The front row for Race 3 of the weekend for the Bennetts British Superbike Championship will see FS-3 Racing’s Rory Skinner on pole position. Brad Ray will line up in second place, his best lap time of Race 2 was a 47.207s effort, which shows that the Rich Energy OMG Yamaha will still be a force to be reckoned with in the final encounter of the weekend. Jason O’Halloran will start in P3 alongside his rivals safe in the knowledge that his mid-to-end race pace is very strong.
Tarran Mackenzie will start the final outing of the weekend from P10, with a number of fallers and some excellent lap times propelling him up the order from the rear of the grid in Race 2. Could he make it onto the podium after a troublesome weekend… only time will tell.
Race 3 coming up at 4:30pm.