Brad Ray maintains British Superbike Championship lead as Stratford-based OMG Racing have mixed fortunes at Knockhill
BRAD Ray kept a hold of his British Superbike Championship lead after claiming two podiums at Knockhill.
Overall it proved to be a mixed weekend for Stratford-based OMG Racing, with Ray coming away with first-, fourth- and second-placed finishes in the respective races, while team-mate Kyle Ryde struggled slightly lower down the order but still brought home some valuable points.
Team principal Paul Curran said: “It’s been a contrasting weekend for the riders. Brad continued his excellent form on the Yamaha R1 while Kyle unfortunately struggled over the three races.
“Kyle and his crew worked tirelessly to overcome the issues but couldn’t quite make that jump back to podium contention.
"Two out of three podiums for Brad was another great weekend for him and his crew, it’s no surprise that he’s gelled so well with the Yamaha R1.
“It’s Brad’s home round next and no doubt Kyle will be back in podium contention with him at Brands Hatch.”
Championship leader Ray opened his account with a dominant win from pole position in Saturday’s 22-lap sprint race.
Leading from lights to flag, the Kent man looked at ease with the task in hand, controlling the pace and holding off both Rory Skinner and Jason O’Halloran.
Ryde couldn’t quite match the pace of Ray as he started and finished sixth.
Race two on Sunday saw Ray once again start from pole, his fifth of the season, with Ryde on the outside of the front row in third. Skinner took a hold of the race with Ray in hot pursuit before a safety car incident brought the group back together.
Ray would eventually cross the line in fourth after having no answer to O’Halloran, Skinner and Lee Jackson while Ryde faded to a disappointing ninth.
Race three late on Sunday afternoon lined up with Ray on the front row once again and Ryde on the third row in ninth.
It was local hero Skinner that took charge of the race before the FS-3 Kawasaki man slid off just before one-third distance, leaving Ray to lead with O’Halloran shadowing his every move.
The McAMS Yamaha rider made his move in the closing stages leaving Ray settling in second place for 20 valuable points, three more podium credits in the pot and a fabulous run of ten podiums from 12 races.
Ryde once again came home in a disappointing ninth.
“I was unlucky to miss the podium in race two after the safety car went in, it took me by surprise as we just didn’t have the pace after that,” said Ray, who leads the championship by 16 points from O’Halloran.
“We made a few changes to the Yamaha R1 for the third race and were able to hold the pace a little bit longer but just not enough to match Jason at the end.
"Overall, I’m happy to come away with two out of three podiums and feeling really good on the Yamaha R1.”
Ryde added: “I’m glad to finish all three races and bank as many points as possible. I felt really strong after qualifying and expected some good results.
"I could maybe have done better in race one, the podium potential was there. We tried a few different things with the Yamaha R1 this weekend and have not had the results we wanted.
“Everyone has an off weekend but if we can still finish in the top ten three times on a difficult weekend then it’s not so bad.
“It feels a bit rubbish after the results we’ve been getting so far this season but we’ll be back strong at Brands Hatch.”
The next round at Brands Hatch takes place from 22nd-24th July.