The second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship was a tale of two halves this Bank Holiday weekend, with Oulton Park providing a win and points for the FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team and its riders Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman.
Following Josh Brookes’ win in yesterday’s Sprint Race, hopes were high for today’s two longer races at the 2.69-mile Cheshire circuit, especially with Peter Hickman lining up on the front row aboard his BMW M 1000 RR machine. However, disaster struck early for the Lincolnshire rider who after getting a fantastic start off the line and taking the lead, crashed out at turn one. Brookes crossed the line fifth.
The final race of the day saw Brookes fifth on the grid. Launching off the line he was up into third at the end of the first lap but had a hungry chasing pack behind. Holding on to the front group across the 18 laps, he eventually took the chequered flag in fifth, bringing home important points for his championship challenge. After the weekend the Aussie is second overall in the championship standings, just four points from the lead.
Unhurt from his crash earlier in the day, Hickman started from eighth on the grid. Slightly on the back foot from Race 2, with no race laps completed, ‘Hicky’ had a strong race and finished just behind his FHO teammate in sixth place.
Meanwhile in the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F 900 R Cup, Richard Cooper made it two in a row as he beat Thomas Strudwick to the line by 9.895 seconds. Starting from pole ‘Coopes’ got a clean start off the line and was able to break clear of his rivals on the third lap to build a comfortable lead taking him to the flag.
The FHO Racing squad now turns its attention to the roads, with the North West 200 taking place next week 9-13 May, before the third round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park on 19-20-21 May.
I was happy in morning warm up, it was wet conditions, but we were fastest. We made a change to the bike for the first race today after what we learnt yesterday, although it looked perfect in theory, as it turns out during the race it didn’t work for me. The change wasn’t so bad on its own but in conjunction with the rest of the bike settings, I just didn’t feel at ease and wasn’t able to do the lap times of earlier, which meant we suffered and didn’t get the results we’d hoped for. For the final race the only real option we had was to go back to where we were, which meant the bike was as good as it was in race one, but I feel that maybe our rivals had moved forward a little, not much, but a little. So even though I did better lap times for myself, I wasn’t able to fight for the podium. It was such a small margin, and I was close to the lead group, but just wasn’t able to bridge that gap or make a pass.
It has been a bit of a frustrating weekend, but on the other hand we must take the positives. We’re fast, we’ve been at the front all weekend, the race yesterday was really strong where we finished fourth coming from eighth on the grid. Today in the first race I got a mega start off the line, and somehow managed to tuck the front at turn one. I don’t really know how or why, I went in tight, but I wasn’t too fast for the corner. I was off the brake, and it was just a bit of an odd crash. Perhaps I had a slightly cold front tyre, but I couldn’t believe I went down at turn one to be honest, it’s not what we expected or what was needed, as it put us on the back foot for the final race of the day. Without the crash we’d have learnt something from that first race, which we could have taken into the final race and because of that the pace just wasn’t there. But as I said, we do have to take the positives, which are that we’re fast, Josh is fast and the BMW is working really well, we’ll now just have to wait and see what we can do at Donington Park. But first we have the North West 200 next week!
Faye Ho – Team Principal:
It’s been a frustrating weekend, but we do have a lot of positives to take from it. Josh won again yesterday and both riders have shown good pace throughout. Pete has been quite unlucky recently and I think if he’d not had the crash in the first race today it would be a very different story. But that’s racing and we have good days, bad days and frustrating days! I’m pleased with how the team are working together, along with Josh, Pete and the BMW. We now have a little break in BSB, but there’s no rest for us as we look towards the start of our road racing challenge with the North West 200 taking place next week.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Race 3 result:
- Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)
- Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) +0.062s
- Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) +0.357s
- Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati) +1.053s
- Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +2.665s
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +6.628s
- Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +8.191s
- Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +8.332s
- Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing UK) +11.580s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +22.438s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, Race 2 result:
- Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)
- Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati) +1.571s
- Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) +2.686s
- Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing UK) +2.809s
- Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) +7.511s
- Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +9.739s
- Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +10.777s
- Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +15.465s
- Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha) +23.418s
- Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) +25.871s