Round 3 - Oulton Park - MCE Insurance British Superbikes

MCE Insurance

Teams and riders headed down to Oulton Park for round 3 of the MCE BSB on the bank holiday weekend of the 4th, 5th and 6th of May. Oulton is a track that offers lots of varied corners and rapid rises and falls, making way for lots of passing and exciting racing.

Saturday's free practice sessions were a bit of a washout and in FP1 only a few riders took to the track. In FP2 though the weather had improved and all the riders got in some laps. Alex Lowes got the fastest time as he set things up for what would be a fantastic weekend for him.

Free practice 3 on Sunday afternoon once again saw all the riders out on track making those important final changes to their bikes before qualifying. Lowes once again was fastest. Qualifying eventually got underway and the bikes got out on track. In Q1 there was high drama for Martin Jessop as he high-sided his RidersMotorcycles BMW on his first lap. He got up after the crash and was ok. Jenny Tinmouth and Danny Buchan also crashed out in P1 but again were both alright. Michael Rutter who was qualifying for his 400th MCE BSB appearance had a nightmare as the Bathams Honda ground to a halt. His team had changed its engine in between FP3 and qualifying to try and rectify a problem, obviously it didn't pay off. The rest of qualifying ran smoothly and the expected riders were at the sharp end. Alex Lowes was continuing his form and even managed to beat the lap record at Oulton, not that it will be recorded as he wasn't racing, but still very impressive and half a second faster than anyone else. James Ellison who made it through to Q3 decided not to go out due to bike issues meaning he started on the grid from 10th.

Raceday on the bank holiday Monday saw the sun shining down on the beautiful surrounds of Oulton Park. Visitors from across the country descended on the course for some excellent motorcycle racing. It's been reported that more people made it down on two wheels than ever before, a brilliant show of the British bikers supporting British Motorsport. For Race 1 the grid lined up as follows, Lowes, Byrne, Brookes, Farmer, and on the second row, Kirkham, Walker, Bridewell, Hickman. Before the race even began it was announced Danny Buchan would not be taking part due to his off in qualifying. The race got underway and reigning champion Shane Byrne, who is always great off the line, shot into 1st ahead of Lowes. Keith Farmer within two corners sent his bike down the track. The young rookie Northern Irishman likes to push his machine to its limits but is going to have to be more consistent if he wants to gain any real points in this championship. It wasn't long before Alex Lowes got past Shakey again and began to stretch his bikes legs. Brookes was dogging Shakey at this stage. The front 3 started to gap ahead of the other pack of bikes consisting of Bridewell, Ellison, Kirkham, Hickman, Westmoreland and Walker. Robbin Harms on the Doodson Motorsport Honda crashed out at cascades literally compressing the bike into the crash barrier, rider was ok. Around this time Michael Rutter on his 400th MCE BSB start had to retire due to bike issues as well as team manager Michael Howarth who was standing in for Luke Quigley on the MH Kawasaki. James Ellison on the Milwaukee Yamaha continued to move up the field and once he was past Bridewell begun approaching the lead pack. Brookes had started to drop off from Lowes and Shakey as it looked like he was losing grip on the back end. Meanwhile at the front it was high drama as Shakey who was on Alex's tail took the right hander out of Brittons and lost the front end. Just like that the champ was out of the race and Alex was set up for the win. Brookes and Ellison were now battling for second place. James made the pass on Josh and took the second podium spot. Brookes managed to hold 3rd.

Race 1 Results

  1. 22 Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda
  2. 77 James ELLISON - Milwaukee Yamaha
  3. 2 Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki
  4. 10 Jon KIRKHAM - Buildbase BMW
  5. 46 Tommy BRIDEWELL - Bathams Honda
  6. 60 Peter HICKMAN - GBmoto Honda
  7. 27 James WESTMORELAND - Buildbase BMW
  8. 99 PJ JACOBSEN - Tyco Suzuki
  9. 9 Chris WALKER - Quattro Plant Kawasaki
  10. 33 Tristan PALMER - GBmoto Honda

As Race 2 began you could see Shakey meant business. He charged off from his front row position on the grid and took the lead. Alex, Brookes and Ellison all went with him. Peter Hickman lost control of his GBmoto Honda after the first corner and was sent spinning down the tarmac, most riders managed to dodge him and his bike, all except poor James Westmoreland who ran into the GBmoto Honda and was sent flying. He wasn't happy as it's the second time its happened to him in three race meetings. No riders were injured. Meanwhile at the front, Shakey was still leading and Lowes passed Brookes, Ellison still followed with Bridewell and Kirkham also making ground. Karl Harris pulled into the pits around this time with bike trouble, a shame for the bomber but no offs this weekend so good in some aspects. The battle continued at the front with only a second between the six riders. Lowes and Shakey passed each other a number of times. Jacobsen who managed the top ten in race 1 sadly had to pull in as his Tyco Suzuki gave up on him, as did Lee Costello's Halsall racing Kawasaki. Lowes, Shakey and Brookes began to pull away from Ellison and then Shakey once again took the lead. Lowes then made a move on the champ but overcooked it and ran wide letting Brookes and Ellison through. Michael Rutter then had to retire again, not the most successful weekend for the experienced Bathams Honda rider espeically with his 400th appearance. The fight between Brookes, Ellison and Lowes was fierce with all the riders attempting to better the other one. Then the Milwaukee Yamaha dropped a cylinder and Ellison had to retire, a real shame as he was running so well. The champ was a second or so ahead by this point and normal service resumed and he took the win.

Race 2 - Results:

  1. 67 Shane BYRNE - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki
  2. 2 Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki
  3. 22 Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda
  4. 10 Jon KIRKHAM - Buildbase BMW
  5. 46 Tommy BRIDEWELL - Bathams Honda
  6. 22 Chris WALKER - Quattro Plant Kawasaki
  7. 43 Howie MAINWAIRING - MH Kawasaki
  8. 303 Keith Farmer - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki
  9. 33 Tristan PALMER - GBmoto Honda
  10. 21 Josh WATERS - Milwaukee Yamaha

Club MCE members had a great couple of days at Oulton Park enjoying all sorts of benefits and experiences including, a day with Eurosport, Official Pit Crew with Bathams Honda, grid walks, Pillion Laps and Safety car laps to name a few. 'Hang out with a rider' took place with Aussie domestic champion Josh Waters giving a real insight for club members into what it's like to come over and race here in the MCE BSB. Hospitality guests also spent raceday meeting and greeting all the big names in MCE BSB whilst getting whined and dined. A fantastic weekend for all!

Next round is Knockhill on the 14th, 15th and 16th of June. Keep up to date with Big Ed's Facebook for all the live updates, news and gossip around the paddock.

Top Six in the Championship:

  1. Alex Lowes - Samsung Honda - 117
  2. Shane Byrne - Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki - 116
  3. Josh Brookes - Tyco Suzuki - 96
  4. James Ellison - Milwaukee Yamaha - 71
  5. Jon Kirkham - Buildbase BMW - 68
  6. Chris Walker - Quattro Plant Kawasaki - 43

For Full results visit the MCE BSB website.

07.05.13 - Big Ed

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