Cadwell BSB: Ray leaps to spectacular Superpole

| | British Superbikes
Picture: Impact Images

Rich OMG Yamaha’s Bradley Ray will start the first race of the Cadwell Park BSB weekend from pole position after prevailing in a nail-biting one lap Superpole session on Sunday.

With the Louth venue’s tight and twisting nature prompting organisers to revert to a single lap Superpole format for this weekend’s Bank Holiday event, the session swelled with momentum until the closing stages when Ray - the penultimate rider to go out - stormed to the top of the timesheets with a superb 1’25.457s effort.

The OMG Yamaha rider - who is already confirmed to be through to the Title Showdown for the first time in five years - gathered all of his speed in the final sector, turning round a 0.1s deficit to provisional pole sitter Rory Skinner to end the lap a remarkable 0.258s clear at the top.

Completing his lap to the Disclosure song ‘You & Me’ - the track he nominated after BSB granted riders one song each to go out to celebrate the one-off Superpole switch - the result marks Ray’s second BSB pole position of the season having also topped the timesheets at Knockhill.

It means Ray stands a good chance of clawing back some podium credits on his Showdown rivals, not least after fellow form men Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie could only manage seventh and ninth respectively on their McAMS Yamahas.

FS-3 Kawasaki duo Skinner and Lee Jackson complete the front row, the former - the 11th rider to go out - having deposed long time leader Peter Hickman from a lead he’d held almost from the start.

Indeed, as one of three riders to make it through to Superpole from Q1 - which was run as a conventional 15-minute free session - FHO BMW’s Hickman made the most of his additional track time to stop the clock at 1’25.997.

Going out second in the running order, Hickman’s benchmark withstood attempts to better it from the next eight riders before Skinner bumped him down the order.

With Jackson and Synetiq BMW’s Danny Buchan - enjoying one of his best qualifying sessions of the year - sneaking ahead in the closing stages for third and fourth, Hickman will start in fifth position.

Similarly, MCE Ducati’s Tom Sykes was another to seemingly benefit from having run in Q1 as he secured his best grid position of the year in sixth. The first of the 15 riders to go out on track, Sykes - nicknamed Mr Superpole in honour his record-breaking 51 WorldSBK pole positions - was just 0.001secs shy of Hickman.

Championship leader O’Halloran has work to do from seventh place, while Tommy Bridewell - who comically completed his lap to ‘I’ve Got A Combine Harvester’ - couldn’t make the most of being the last to go out as he clicked in the eighth best lap.

Having completed a lap in Q1 that would have been good enough for fifth on the grid, Glenn Irwin couldn’t replicate that form when it mattered in Superpole as he laboured to tenth on the grid, where he shares row four with VisionTrack Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam and fellow Honda rider Takumi Takahashi.

Christian Iddon was the last of the riders to set a time in Superpole in 13th, with Ryan Vickers and Andrew Irwin having to make do with 14th and 15th after crashing at Hall Bend and Mansfield respectively.

Prior to Superpole, Kyle Ryde was the highest profile rider to miss out on progressing, the Rich Energy OMG Yamaha rider - currently in contention for a Title Showdown spot in sixth overall - left 16th after getting caught up in traffic slowing down for a tow.

Meanwhile, Josh Brookes - despite showboating with some typically spectacular leaps - couldn’t progress higher than 17th on the second MCE Ducati.

Click here for times

Picture: Impact Images
Picture: Impact Images