Knockhill BSB: Ray dominates first race

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British superbikes

Image: Impact Images


Rich OMG Yamaha’s Brad Ray was unchallenged and untouchable in the Bennetts British Superbike opener race at Knockhill on Saturday.

After lining up on pole position for the first race of the Scottish competition with Jason O’Halloran of McAMS and Cheshire Moldings FS3 Kawasaki’s Lee Jackson, Ray held a nearly three-second advantage in the closing stages of the 22 race. rounds. The Aussie stretched his own advantage to hold on to second over the second YZF-R1, with Rory Skinner denying his FS-3 team-mate to enjoy podium celebrations at home in third.

The first drama saw Buildbase Suzuki’s Christian Iddon and Rapid CDH Kawasaki’s Josh Owens come together on the sighting lap in windy conditions with defending champion Tarran Mackenzie out of the opening action due to earlier wrecking crashes. his two R1s, the team being unable to rebuild their machine in time for the lights out.

Ray took the holeshot from O’Halloran with Skinner on his teammate for third at the first corner. Danny Buchan took fourth on the BMW Synetiq with Jackson battling Glenn Irwin’s Honda for fifth. Skinner scalped the Aussie as he raced to second at home with Kyle Ryde moving up the field to fourth on lap three.

Storm Stacey started strong on the Kawasaki LKQ Euro Car Parts, finishing eighth before Oxford Products Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell took the position with Tom Sykes completing the top ten on the MCE Panigale with four laps completed.

Although he managed to line up at the back of the grid, Iddon retired from the Suzuki on lap seven. Ray running seven tenths ahead of the chase peloton with Skinner and O’Halloran inseparable with a dispatched third distance.

Dan Jones crashed the iForce BMW on lap nine with O’Halloran finding his way over Skinner at the hairpin next time out. Ryde demoted the Scot a further position as Skinner lost the podium halfway through.

Ray’s command continued with a record fastest lap on lap 12 as Yamaha locked down the podium. Jackson makes a move on Buchan for fifth with his FS-3 teammate next in his sights.

Further on, Leon Haslam beat former WorldSBK rival Sykes on the VisionTrack Kawasaki for tenth, sending the Yorkshireman the path of Ducati teammate Josh Brookes in 12th with Andrew Irwin leading a BMW quartet from from 13th place.

Skinner moved back to third at the end of lap 17, with the leading pair each two seconds ahead of number 11 who sought to bamboozle the McAMS machine. Ryde falling to sixth as Bridewell captured Irwin in the battle for seventh.

The fight against Kawasaki continued as Jackson took a look at Skinner before moving back to fourth. Brookes and Sykes switched positions when the flag went out with Ray crossing the line 1.6 seconds ahead of O’Halloran and Skinner. The winner is eyeing a pole position on Sunday with Skinner celebrating a home podium.

Jackson settled for fourth place ahead of Buchan, Ryde and Irwin, with Bridewell, Stacey and Brookes rounding out the top ten.

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