Knockhill BSB: O’Halloran opens Sunday with a win

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Jason O’Halloran claimed his third Bennetts British Superbike Championship victory of the season on Sunday with the McAMS Yamaha rider getting the better of the Cheshire Mouldings by FS-3 Kawasaki pairing of Lee Jackson and Rory Skinner in the second race at Knockhill.

It was polesitter and championship leader Bradley Ray who grabbed the holeshot from Rich Energy OMG Yamaha teammate Kyle Ryde and Skinner but it was the latter who led the field across the line at the end of the opening lap from Ryde, Ray, O’Halloran, Jackson and Storm Stacey (LKQ Euro Car Parts Kawasaki).

Ray moved up to second next time around but the BMW pairing of Peter Hickman (FHO Racing) and Andrew Irwin (Synetiq) crashed out at the hairpin although that was of little concern to Skinner who was pressing on at the head of the field.

His lead was up to half a second at the end of lap five with O’Halloran now third having overhauled Ryde. Jackson was looking to do the same with Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) now sixth, one spot ahead of similarly-mounted Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati).

The front two had already broken away from third placed O’Halloran, the Yamaha man more than a second adrift but he, in turn, had done the same to fourth placed Ryde who was coming under extreme pressure from Jackson. Indeed, the latter took over fourth on lap eight.

The safety car was out shortly afterwards due to a crash involving Stacey and VisionTrack Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam at the hairpin but racing resumed on lap 13 with Ryan Vickers soon in the dirt on the second FHO BMW. Back at the front and O’Halloran dived up the inside of Ray at the hairpin only for the latter to quickly respond and at half distance the running order was Skinner, Ray, O’Halloran, Jackson, Bridewell and Ryde.

By lap 20, less than half a second covered the top four with Bridewell trying to latch on to the back of Jackson whilst reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie had worked his way through from 29th on the grid to 11th on the second McAMS Yamaha.

Skinner was continuing to withstand the pressure exerted on him but O’Halloran took second at the hairpin on lap 22 and with five laps to go, the leading two riders had edged away slightly with Jackson now up to third and Ray back down to fourth.

At the beginning of lap 27, O’Halloran took the lead for the first time and although Jackson briefly got up to second a lap later, Skinner immediately fought back with a close move.

There was to be no denying O’Halloran the victory though and he came home 0.7s clear of Jackson who clinched second on the final lap from local hero Skinner. Ray was fourth with Bridewell, Brookes, Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW), Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing), Ryde and Mackenzie completing the top ten.

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Picture: Impact Images