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Stratford-based OMG Racing's Brad Ray closes in on British Superbike Championship crown

BRAD Ray moved a step closer towards clinching the British Superbike Championship title after he extended his lead at the top to 66 points with a measured display at Donington Park.

Brad Ray in action at Donington Park. Photo: Ian Ward (59713471)
Brad Ray in action at Donington Park. Photo: Ian Ward (59713471)

The Kent rider had to settle for fourth in the opening race of the weekend for Stratford-based OMG Racing after a mistake at Goddards on the final lap allowed Peter Hickman to dive through and snatch the final podium place.

Team-mate Kyle Ryde, fresh from signing a new deal with the team for next season, rode to a positive seventh place at his home circuit.

For Sunday afternoon’s first of two longer races, Ray took the brave decision with his crew to opt for the harder tyre to counter the lack of grip in the closing stages of the 20-lap races.

The choice paid off as the championship leader fought his way to second place behind Tom Sykes, while his closest title rivals could offer no answer in the championship chase.

Ryde suffered from a lack of grip throughout the race, however, the Jacksdale rider dug deep for an 11th-placed finish aboard his Yamaha R1 machine.

In a frantic final superbike race of the weekend, which was halted by a red flag to allow medical attention to be administered to Crowe Performance rider Chrissy Rouse after an incident exiting Goddards, Ray controlled the pace to take his ninth win of the season and extend his championship lead to 66 points ahead of the season finale at his home circuit of Brands Hatch on the weekend of 14th-16th October.

The weekend ended on a positive note for Ryde, who took a battling sixth place in the final race to claim a haul of valuable points and now sits sixth in the championship standings.

Reflecting on his performances, Ray said: “Saturday was disappointing to lose points to Glenn and Jason Irwin, so we made the decision to swap to the harder tyre for Sunday’s first race.

“I questioned the decision in my head as we pulled up on the grid and everyone else was still on the softer tyre, so I just got my head down and gave it my best and to come home in second place really justified the decision.

“It was mega to get the win in race three for both me and the OMG Racing team, and it gives us a nice points buffer as we head to the final round.”

Kyle Ryde has signed a new deal with OMG Racing for 2023. Photo: Ian Ward (59713475)
Kyle Ryde has signed a new deal with OMG Racing for 2023. Photo: Ian Ward (59713475)

Ryde added: “After signing my new deal with OMG Racing on Saturday I really wanted to repay them with a podium, but it wasn’t quite to be.

“We had a lot of battles and close racing over the weekend which I really enjoyed but there was also a lot of head scratching too, but we never gave up.

“That last race was the best by far in terms of position, confidence and speed which matters a lot for heading into Brands Hatch and some really good data for next year.”

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