Jason O’Halloran continued his winning streak at Thruxton, following a late break as his main rivals clashed in Saturday’s Sprint race, round six of the Championship.
The McAMS Yamaha rider led an all-Yamaha team 1-2 and top three at home as the manufacturer continued to dominate.
Although the Aussie started on pole, the race started with Glenn Irwin vying for the lead, with O’Halloran aware that his best chance of winning was to be in front.
After changing positions during the opening laps, the championship leader made a move and looked to take a small lead. Irwin faded and Peter Hickman, who was now second, struggled to match him for pace.
An immediate response came from Bradley Ray and his McAMS teammate Tarran Mackenzie, who saw the chance to win disappear on the track.
The duo brought it back, but with podium points up for grabs, their battle for second place allowed ‘The O Show’ to pull away again and continue their winning streak at Thruxton after a triple win over the track in 2021.
This is O’Halloran’s 60th podium, while his sixth win of the season is also his 21st in British Superbike.
Behind, a photo-finish was needed to separate Mackenzie and Ray as their battle continued to the finish. Just 0.003s separated the pair, with defending champion Mackenzie just ahead for another McAMS 1-2, continuing where the team left off at Brands Hatch.
Ray of Rich Energy OMG Yamaha finished third clear for the final podium spot.
Honda’s Irwin came back past Hickman late and pulled his own narrow gap for a strong fourth.
Hickman said before the race that he didn’t feel he had the pace to run ahead of the Yamaha, which turned out to be correct as he finished just over half a second later in fifth for FHO Racing BMW, the manufacturer’s top finisher.
Lee Jackson was next to see the checkered flag in sixth position as the best Kawasaki for Cheshire Moldings FS-3, a position he held throughout the race.
Rory Skinner got back into his BSB pace after a wildcard stint in Moto2 at Silverstone last weekend and moved up from eleventh to seventh on the grid, although the Scottish rider couldn’t quite catch Jackson.
Leon Haslam took eighth for VisionTrack Kawasaki, narrowly edging out Tom Sykes who pushed him to the line as the best Ducati in the race for MCE.
Tommy Bridewell took five spots in the race to complete the top ten on the Oxford Products Ducati.
Ryan Vickers also took steps to finish eleventh after falling back from his twelfth place on the grid initially for FHO Racing BMW with Attis Sports.
Christian Iddon (Buildbase Suzuki) spent much of his time on the track battling Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha) after he fell back into his clutches, to take twelfth place.
Danny Buchan’s season continued its slide with a 14th place finish for SYNETIQ BMW Mottorad, with the last free point collected by Ryo Mizuno in 15th for Honda.
BSB Thruxton lap record – Josh Brookes – Ducati – 1m 14.655s (2019)
Thruxton qualifying front row:
Pole: Jason O’Halloran
Second: Peter Hickman
Third: Andrew Irwin
2021 at Thruxton
First race (sprint): Jason O’Halloran
Race 2: Jason O’Halloran
Race 3: Jason O’Halloran
Round Six Results (Brands Hatch)
First race (sprint): Jason O’Halloran
Race 2: Tarran Mackenzie
Race 3: Tarran Mackenzie
Disaster for front row starter Andrew Irwin.
Earlier in the day, Andrew Irwin had dug deep to pass Q1 and finish third in Q2 for a front-row start despite feeling unwell.
The SNYETIQ BMW Motorrad driver had been sitting at the top of the Q1 standings when his lap was called off, leading to frustration and a return to the track, where he again led the timesheets after a rough and aggressive lap for go to Q2 with the best. time.
He continued that momentum to finish this session third for a top-ranked start. All his hard work was wiped out by a technical error on his bike at the start of the warm-up lap. Frantically turning the bike on and off to attempt a reset did nothing and it was disappointingly far from the grid.
Moto2 world champion Rabat finished 26th.
British Superbikes has world champions in race results, such is the competitive nature of the championship, and previous pedigree means little on race day, as Tito Rabat discovered as he was the last finisher in the race sprint at Thruxton.
Learning all the way, the former Moto2 champion started just over 46 seconds behind O’Halloran and battled with Josh Brookes before taking late positions to move up to 20th.
Brookes himself was not looking forward to Thruxton after a tough time on the track last season, returning with the same bike under him.
An early crash for Luke Mossey and Chrissy Rouse saw them both hobble looking second best and caused a gap at the start of the field.
Danny Kent and James East also failed to finish.