British Superbikes: O’Halloran claims Brand Hatch podium

Jason O'Halloran ended a frustrating season in good style at Brand Hatch EMN-181015-113905002
Jason O'Halloran ended a frustrating season in good style at Brand Hatch EMN-181015-113905002

Jason O’Halloran recorded a podium finish at Brands Hatch in the final round of the 2018 British Superbike Championship, but just missed out on winning the Riders Cup.

The cup is awarded to the highest-place rider outside of the top-six shoot-out for the title, but the Market Rasen-based rider finished the season in eighth overall despite climbing the podium in the second of three races.

O’Halloran began the first 20-lap race on Saturday from a fourth-row grid position and worked his way up to 10th on lap six.

But he then crashed at Graham Hill Bend one lap later, his race over.

The rain was pouring down when the riders took their grid positions on Sunday for race two, and O’Halloran made a fantastic start from the third row to take up the lead.

He held it for three laps before being reeled in by newly-crowned champion Leon Haslam and Tom Bridewell.

He was briefly demoted to fourth, but then retook the lead at the halfway stage of the race.

From then on, positions were frequently exchanged between O’Halloran and Haslam until Haslam made a break with two laps to go.

Bridewell again challenged for position and on the penultimate lap he made the pass stick with O’Halloran bringing the Honda Racing Fireblade home in a fine third place.

He said: “It’s been a difficult season for me to say the least, we have had our ups and downs for sure with injuries, but the Honda Racing team has done a fantastic job to work with me through the difficult rounds and now here we are back on the podium.

“I had a fantastic race with the other two riders, it was like a dry race with us all passing at every opportunity. It was fun.”

Starting the last race from the second row, O’Halloran held second place for the first two laps, but was then passed by Bridewell and Haslam.

He passed Haslam again one lap later and remained in third place until lap 10 of 20 when he lost three places back to sixth.

He was then passed by Josh Brookes and Gino Rea and completed the race in eighth.

When the points were totted up O’Halloran had 176 and placed eighth in the overall championship, just two points behind Tommy Bridewell who, with two second places in the final two races, had done enough to snatch the Riders Cup.