British Superbikes: Market Rasen rider strengthens top three spot at Brands Hatch

Jason O'Halloran rode to two top four finishes at Brands Hatch EMN-160808-102926002
Jason O'Halloran rode to two top four finishes at Brands Hatch EMN-160808-102926002

Jason O’Halloran maintained his top three spot in the British Superbike standings with two more good rides at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

The Market Rasen-based rider recorded a fourth place and a third position in the two races to retain third place in the overall standings on 175 points.

The top six riders at the top of the table will compete for the title in the last three rounds of the series.

Throughout free practice and the two first sectors of qualifying, O’Halloran was running well on the Honda Racing machine, but a mistake and crash on the Superpole lap, left him with a third row start.

As the 20-lap race got under way O’Halloran started well and moved up to sixth on the first lap.

On lap three he made a pass on Shane Byrne and was hunting down Leon Haslam when the safety car halted his progress. When it left the track on lap nine Byrne shot past, leaving the 28-year-old down in fifth.

But on the penultimate lap Tommy Bridewell retired with a bike problem which gifted O’Halloran fourth place at the flag.

The Aussie rider took a more aggressive approach for race two and took the lead at Paddock Hill bend.

He held a comfortable lead for the first half of the race, but on lap 14 Leon Haslam made his move stick to take the lead.

O’Halloran fought back and retook the lead two laps later and held station while the safety car came out on lap 14 for two laps.

Two laps were added to the scheduled 20, and on lap 18 both Byrne and Haslam made their move, demoting O’Halloran to third place.

The Rasen rider fought back, but was unable to make a pass and crossed the finish line in third, just six thousandths of a second behind runner-up Haslam.

“We have had a really good weekend,” said O’Halloran. “From Friday I had a really good feeling; we made some minor changes but that’s all.

“I was disappointed with my first race as I couldn’t push the front tyre as much as I wanted and that held me back.

“We made a small change and went back to what we had in qualifying, and in the second race I felt really comfortable in the lead and was enjoying it.

“But then the safety car came out and I thought everyone would tighten back up, Leon came by and then I got him back, but then he came by again and I think he missed a gear on the start and finish straight.

“I was on the outside and couldn’t hold full gas because I was running out of road and that’s when Shakey came through and that was basically the end of it.

“My tyre was finished at the end. I was pushing as hard as I could and caught up to Leon and had a really good go on the last lap, but he just got me. But it’s another podium and I’m really looking forward to Cadwell.”

* The next round is at Cadwell Park, just up the road from Honda Racing’s Louth base, over the bank holiday weekend of August 27-29.