British Superbikes: O’Halloran boosts Shwodown hopes despite heavy crash at Brands Hatch

O'Halloran lies fourth in the overall standings despite a tough weekend at Brands hatch EMN-170724-144637002
O'Halloran lies fourth in the overall standings despite a tough weekend at Brands hatch EMN-170724-144637002

Market Rasen-based rider Jason O’Halloran strengthened his position in the British Superbike Championship after two seventh-placed finishes at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

O’Halloran is looking good to be among the top six who will contest the end-of-season title showdown, and with three rounds left, lies in fourth place with 133 points.

After suffering a heavy crash during free practice the Australian seemed to lose confidence in the Honda Racing Fireblade and completed his qualifying in 12th.

But beginning the first of two 20-lap races from a fourth row grid position, he made a fast start.

When Shakey Byrne made a mistake he moved up into seventh place on lap five, but the course car put paid to his progress as it slowed the riders down to enable the marshals to assist a fallen rider.

Once the car left the track, Byrne took the advantage and demoted O’Halloran to ninth, but he persisted and overcame Christian Iddon on lap 16 to move up into seventh place again.

With spots of rain beginning to fall, the race was red flagged on lap 18, and a result declared which gave O’Halloran seventh at the flag.

Starting race two from the middle of the fourth row, he made progress up to seventh position by the halfway stage and gradually caught the two riders running in close formation ahead.

He got to within 0.3s of the pair, but was unable to make a pass and had to be content with seventh.

“It has been a tough weekend for me,” he said. “I crashed early on in free practice two and missed most of the session so I have struggled to gain momentum from then really.

“I have had three front-end crashes this week, with two at Cadwell during testing and then one again here.

“Unfortunately when you go down three times in a week you lose a bit of confidence and so we have been working on the feeling to get my confidence back.

“In the second race I finished seventh once again but my race time was better.

“Towards the end I started to close down on the two riders, but didn’t have enough tyre left to really push.

“When you are having a tough weekend it is key to gain points, which we have done and we are now fourth in the standings so you have to take the positives.

“Sometimes you have good days and others are bad days, but you have to take the positives and come back stronger, which I am sure we can do at Thruxton.”

O’Halloran flies to Japan for the annual Suzuka Eight-Hour endurance race next weekend before returning to domestic duty at Thruxton from August 4 to 6.