Despite a first-lap crash in the final race of the weekend at Silverstone, Market Rasen rider Jason O’Halloran has secured a place in the end-of-season showdown for the race for the title of British Superbike champion.
O’Halloran enjoyed a strong qualifying at the 3.67-mile Northamptonshire circuit and, in the final session, he recorded the fastest time to secure pole position for the start of race one on Saturday.
However, a heavy rain shower prior to the start of the race caused the officials to declare a wet race.
But with ha lf of the track extremely wet and the other half bone dry it was a tyre gamble for the riders. O’Halloran opted for intermediates but it was those on full wets that benefitted from the difficult conditions and the O’Show was only able to record an 11th place finish.
He said: “Well today has certainly been a mixed bag.
“For qualifying I felt immediately comfortable with the Fireblade; we had been struggling in free practice in the wet and made some changes heading into qualifying.
“During the first stage of qualifying I knew we going in the right direction and we were much stronger so I was able to secure pole position.
“It is the first pole of the season for us so I felt positive going into the race, but it’s just a shame with the weather and the mixed conditions.
“It’s easy to say that but had it been a dry race I reckoned we could have finished at the front.
“But the result today isn’t so bad.”
Starting race two on Sunday from the second row, O’Halloran didn’t get the best of starts and was running eighth on the first lap.
He began to pick off the riders ahead and by lap eight he was up into fifth place.
He passed Sylvain Guintoli at the start of lap nine but his progress was halted when the safety can was deployed for a crash further downfield.
Then with the car still circulating another rider pulled over when his engine blew causing a red flag.
A result was declared on positions as at lap eight which was the last active lap prior to the safety car deployment, and O’Halloran was awarded fifth place.
The final race was run in dire conditions with heavy rain causing poor visibility.
O’Halloran was the first of many riders to fall foul of the conditions when he crashed at Copse on the first lap.
The race continued with many riders crashing and, when it reached two thirds distance and was finally red flagged, there were just seven riders still standing.
But he had done enough during the weekend to secure his place in the showdown and said: “I have tried to score in every round and that race was the first time I have failed to score points this year.
“I just thought, get to the finish line and you will be ok and then I didn’t even make it to turn one.
“I just got caught out by the conditions and I am just glad I didn’t get run over to be honest.”
O’Halloran has made it into the showdown in sixth place with the next round at Oulton Park this weekend, running from Friday to Sunday.