British Superbikes: O’Halloran ends season in fifth

No Caption ABCDE EMN-161017-151636002
No Caption ABCDE EMN-161017-151636002

Market Rasen rider Jason O’Halloran had to settle for fifth place in the British Superbikes Championship after a disappointing finale at Brands Hatch last weekend.

The Honda Racing rider crashed out of the first race, but scored with a ninth-place finish in race two and completed the final race in 11th at the end of a very competitive season.

Three-time former British Superbikes champion Kiyonari ended a disappointing campaign in 20th EMN-161017-152115002

Three-time former British Superbikes champion Kiyonari ended a disappointing campaign in 20th EMN-161017-152115002

After making it through to the final leg of qualifying, O’Halloran started the first race from the second row in fourth position and was running in third when the race was red-flagged at the end of lap three.

At the restart he was leading the race on the opening lap when rain started to fall and once again the race was red-flagged, this time to allow riders to switch to wet weather tyres.

After the race restarted for the third time O’Halloran slid off the track in the treacherous conditions at Surtees on the first lap, and his race was over.

“I felt great in the first two starts, but unfortunately I crashed when the race restarted in the rain,” he said.

Starting the penultimate race from the fourth row, the Australian was quick to move up the order and was running in seventh place for the majority of the 20 laps.

He was beaten back to ninth on the final lap by Tommy Bridewell and crossed the finish line in that position to pick up seven championship points.

In the final race of the current campaign, O’Halloran was running in 18th when the race was yet again red-flagged on lap five to allow the clearance of a large oil trail.

After a lengthy delay the race was cut to 10 laps, and the market Rasen-based rider powered through to 11th on the first lap.

He dropped back mid-race, but managed to haul himself back to cross the finish line in 11th and pick up five more points.

But it was not enough to seal the third place he was aiming for as he finished just behind his Honda Racing team-mate Dan Linfoot in fifth.

* Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari ended his season on a high when he recorded three points finishes.

The Rasen-based rider began race one from a seventh row grid position and was running in 19th when the race was red-flagged.

Over a reduced distance of 18 laps, Kiyo made steady progress through the field to finish in 14th place for two championship points.

Despite treacherous wet track conditions for race two, Kiyonari came through to take the final championship point in 15th.

Recording the fifth-fastest lap gave him a second row start for the final race of the season, and a brilliant start elevated him up to third.

He was still in this position on lap five when the race was stopped. The former three-time champion was pushed back to eighth before claiming seventh to match his best result of the season.

“It’s been quite difficult swapping teams and manufacturer two-thirds of the way through the season, so it’s nice to finish with a good result,” he said.

“All the riders have been very fast this year but we showed our old form in the last race and it felt nice to be running at the front.”