O’Halloran roars back to claim Assen podium

Jason O'Halloran back on the podium at Assen EMN-160310-131619002
Jason O'Halloran back on the podium at Assen EMN-160310-131619002
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Jason O’Halloran returned to the podium at Assen, in the Netherlands, to edge a little nearer to the MCE British Superbike Championship leaders.

The Market Rasen-based rider recorded a fifth and then a third place in the two races on Sunday, but remains 77 points adrift and the trophy is just out of reach at Brands Hatch.

O'Halloran grabbed two top five finishes in the Netherlands EMN-160310-142905002

O'Halloran grabbed two top five finishes in the Netherlands EMN-160310-142905002

This was the first time the Australian had ridden the Superbike at Assen and his first visit to the Cathedral of Speed since 2013. He spent day one refreshing his memory with the track layout and set his sights on two podiums after crashing out at Donington.

O’Halloran, who rides for the Louth-based Superbike team Honda Racing, made it through to the final sector of qualifying on Saturday to secure a second row start for the first 18-lap race.

He got away well at the lights to take up third place at turn one, but was overhauled by Luke Mossey on lap one and then by eventual race winner Leon Haslam on the next lap.

He maintained a close fifth place until lap 10 when Dan Linfoot and Michael Laverty both made a move on him.

But the action was fast and furious with positions being exchanged at nearly every corner. On the penultimate lap he was in fourth, but was beaten to the line by his team-mate Dan Linfoot and picked up 11 championship points.

Having set the race’s fastest lap, O’Halloran started the second encounter from pole position and he shot away at the start.

He was beaten back to third on lap two by James Ellison and Leon Haslam as the top 10 riders all circulated within a second of each other.

Any one of the 10 could have taken the win and they all had a stab at overtaking.

O’Halloran headed the field twice, but eventually the two leaders, Leon Haslam and Shane Byrne pulled out a slight gap, leaving the rest of the pack to fight it out for third place.

The Rasen rider held his line in a close and exciting race to secure third and pick up 16 more championship points.

“I had a bit of a moment on the first lap on the exit to turn eight or nine which put me off a little bit but it was a great race,” O’Halloran said.

“I led for a good few laps and had a good fight with Leon for a while, but once Shakey came by I knew he had a lot of steam so I tried to hang on to the back of him to get away from the group behind to get on the podium.

“There were six or seven guys chasing me down and I knew it was tight, but it was fantastic to get the podium. Roll on Brands and the last round of the year and let’s see what we can do.”

Going into the last round at Brands Hatch on October 16, O’Halloran is fifth on 556 points, 77 points away from the championship leader.

With three races and 75 points up for grabs he cannot win the championship but, with good results could move into the top three.