Round 9 - MCE British Superbike Championship - Oulton Park - Qualification
This weekend Oulton Park plays host for the second time this year for the final three races before the showdown hits. Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne have their places secured already and have set their focus on those vital podium points, however the remaining four places are to be decided this weekend.
Yesterday's free practice went the way of Josh Brookes who topped FP1 and John Hopkins who finished fastest in FP2. Shane Byrne showed a return to form with two performances demonstrative that the PBM Kawasaki is back to its previous form.
This mornings free practice saw a much smaller group of ten riders venture out onto the track, with no further rain scheduled for the days action many opted not to go out onto the drying track. The session went the way of Dan Linfoot who is hoping to bag three results this weekend that will put his name into the showdown contention. Josh Brookes finished second with Howie Mainwaring making up the top three.
While Club MCE members waited for the qualifying session to commence, they were visited by MCE BSB rider Taylor Mackenzie who answered questions from MCE Insurance policy holders about his recent surgery as well as his championship hopes. Members were also treated to pillion rides and safety car laps and Oulton Park watched in awe as they roared around the circuit at fantastic speeds.
When qualifying arrived it was defending champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne who bagged pole position in style by setting the fastest ever lap of the circuit. The rider will be joined on the front row tomorrow by Tommy Bridewell and James Ellison who are both showdown contenders. Josh Brookes will be forced to attempt #last2first in todays race one as the Milwaukee Yamaha rider encountered an engine problem on his out lap and was unable to get back out on track forcing him into last position. Stuart Easton crashed at Cascades in FP2, however was able to walk away from the incident.
When race one arrived it was Byrne who finished on top and bagged his 67th career win in the process. The PBM Kawasaki rider made the most of his pole start and fired off the line, followed by a pack of riders hungry to snatch the lead away. Bridewell attempted to draw first blood, however suffered a technical problem forcing him to retire from the action. That left Ellison and Buchan hot on Shakey's heels, however they were unable to catch the rider, yet settled for a podium finish, in the process confirming Ellison's place in the showdown and Buchan bagging his first ever MCE BSB podium.
During the race, however, eyes were focused predominantly on Josh Brookes who valiantly charged through the pack in a series of commanding overtakes with his eyes on a podium finish. The rider had to settle for fourth place as the front three had created a gap on the chasing pack that was too big for Brookes to catch.
Dan Linfoot finished in 5th position and with two races remaining tomorrow he will be hoping to do the same again, if not better to secure a place in the showdown. Things are heating up here at Oulton Park, and we have no doubt that tomorrow is going to be crammed full of more action and surprises, bring it on!
05.09.2015 - Big Ed