Bradley Ray for Hawk Racing took the first spoils of 2018 with sensational victory ahead of Shane Byrne and James Ellison as other title protagonists struggle during the extremely cold round one race one.
On a typical cold British Easter weekend the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship got underway today at Donington Park in Derby, with JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam on pole position followed by teammate Luke Mossey and 2017 championship rival Shane Byrne, the stage was set for a mouthwatering first race of the championship.
As the lights went out Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne got a awful start with a big wheelie coming off the line, Leon Haslam got the holeshot ahead of Tag Racing Yamaha’s James Ellison from 4th on the grid and Brad Ray from 7th slotted into 3rd place. James Ellison made an early move for the lead, taking the lead on the first lap going into Starkey’s Bridge.
It was apparent from the off that Leon Haslam was struggling to keep with the pace of James Ellison and soon and had the Hawk Racing Suzuki of Bradley Ray swarming all over the back of his Kawasaki, Ray put his move on Haslam going into Redgate at the start of lap 3 before putting the exact same move on Ellison 3 laps later. On lap 8 at the Melbourne Loop, Ray made a small mistake and Ellison attacked but Ray made his intention very clear fighting straight back and snatching the lead back off the Cumbrian, stamping his authority and intentions on the race.
By lap 9 Byrne had got on the back of the lead group of 6 that consisted of Brad Ray, James Ellison, Leon Haslam, Luke Mossey and Dan Linfoot making it 4 different manufacturers in the top 6 (Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda and Ducati). From lap 10 onwards we saw Leon Haslam starting to really struggle to hold off the chasing pack eventually dropping all the way back to 9th where he finished.
It wasn’t only Leon Haslam who had struggled in race 1 other considered title contenders such as McCams Yamaha’s Josh Brookes only managed to finish 12th finishing 17 seconds off of the race winner, many people’s dark horse for this weekend Gino Rea for OMG Racing Suzuki only managed to pick up 17th place after having a fall during the qualifying session, meaning he started the race 16th place, further down than the Suzuki man would have expected.
In the last 5 laps we saw a titanic battle between the Honda Racing pair Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran, trading positions almost every corner before O’Halloran made a mistake going into the Melbourne Loop on the last lap dropping back down to 7th position.
Three laps from the end Bradley Ray had 1.1 second lead over Ellison and Byrne, however both riders looked determined to catch the 20 year old youngster to stop him claiming his first ever British Superbike win, going into the last lap it was Ray leading from Ellison and Byrne. All 3 were covered by the smallest of margins, braking hard into the Foggy Esses Bradley Ray got to much curb having a massive wobble as the 3 riders steamed into the Melbourne Loop for the final time Byrne put a move on Ellison giving Ray the gap he needed going into Goddards for the final time.
Bradley Ray will start tomorrows race from pole position after clocking the fastest lap of the race will he get his first superbike double? find out on overtakemotorsport.com.
Full race results:
1 Bradley RAY – Buildbase Suzuki 18 27:12.977
2 Shane BYRNE – Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team +0.383
3 James ELLISON – Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha +0.721
4 Dan LINFOOT – Honda Racing +3.174
5 Luke MOSSEY – JG Speedfit Kawasaki +4.430
6 Glenn IRWIN – Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team +4.671
7 Jason O’HALLORAN – Honda Racing +6.191
8 Peter HICKMAN – Smiths Racing +8.822
9 Leon HASLAM – JG Speedfit Kawasaki +13.792
10 Michael LAVERTY – Tyco BMW Motorrad +14.224
11 Jake DIXON – RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki +14.350
12 Josh BROOKES – McAMS Yamaha +17.143
13 Danny BUCHAN – FS-3 Racing Kawasaki +21.039
14 Christian IDDON – Tyco BMW Motorrad +24.931
15 Taylor MACKENZIE – Moto Rapido Ducati +30.296
16 Richard COOPER – Buildbase Suzuki +31.246
17 Gino REA – OMG Racing UK LTD +39.847
18 Tarran MACKENZIE – McAMS Yamaha +42.094
19 Sylvain BARRIER – Smiths Racing +46.262
20 Mason LAW – Team WD-40 +46.596
21 Dean HARRISON – Silicone Engineering Racing +51.820
22 David JOHNSON – Gulf BMW +1:04.789
23 Martin JESSOPP – RidersMotorcycles.com BMW +1:20.031
24 Carl PHILLIPS- Gearlink Kawasaki +1:22.154
25 Connor CUMMINS- Padgetts Racing +1:26.861
26 Shaun WINFIELD – Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha +1:29.871
27 William DUNLOP – Temple Yamaha 18 +1:30.033
DNF Kyle RYDE Yamaha – CF Motorsport Yamaha
DNF Tommy BRIDEWELL Suzuki – Movuno.com Halsall Racing
Bradley RAY – Buildbase Suzuki 12 1:29.949 – 99.55 mph – 160.21 kph