The fourth round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike championship at Brands Hatch proved to be a challenging one for the McAMS Yamaha team with young gun Tarran Mackenzie forced to sit out of Sunday’s two races while team-mate Jason O’Halloran struggled to convert his front row start into results.
After knocking himself out in a 100mph crash in qualifying, Mackenzie had no choice but to sit out of both races given BSB’s understandably strict rules on concussion. Battered and bruised from the crash, rest was the doctor’s orders for the 23-year-old and while he was on hand to support the team, he’ll now focus on returning to full fitness ahead of Knockhill.
Given he’d secured his first front row start since Silverstone, there were high hopes for Jason O’Halloran but he was unable to transform his rapid qualifying pace into race pace, struggling with a number of issues in both races.
As the typically-British summer continued, the opening race was wet and despite a rocket start from the front row of the grid, O’Halloran would struggle for pace as the circuit dried, dropping back to cross the line eighth. A poor lap time left him 11th on the grid for the dry second race and in spite of another strong start, he was beaten up in the early stages. As far back as 15th, he fought through to ninth but struggling with a lack of feeling from the front, he’d not progress further than that.
BSB rookie Matt Truelove enjoyed his strongest meeting yet, matching his career-best finish of 18th in both races and significantly reducing the gap to the next group. He had been running in a points-scoring position until his tyre significantly dropped off in the wet opening race.
Despite missing both races, Mackenzie still sits fourth in the championship standings, 34 points off new series leader Tommy Bridewell. O’Halloran remains tenth overall.
The team now turn their focus to Knockhill, where they enjoyed a positive test earlier this week. The fifth round of the 2019 season takes place between the 28-30 June.
Race 1: 8th Race 2: 9th Champ pos: 10th
“After qualifying on the front row yesterday, we were expecting a lot better than what we got today. The first race was really tricky in the wet conditions, I started quite well but I had a problem with a lack of feeling at the front end and slowly drifted back. I started the second race on row four, which was always going to be difficult. The first lap was something else, there were people left, right and centre and I ended up 15thon lap one. I got back up to ninth and then didn’t have any more pace to close down the gap, so we had to bring it home for some points. We have some work to do, we have to improve the feeling with the bike. We’ll put our heads together and try and improve our race pace. I need a better feeling in race conditions.”
Race 1: DNS Race 2: DNS Champ pos: 4th
“I’m OK but a bit battered and bruised. I was knocked out, so can’t really remember the crash. It’s frustrating, but it’s right that I’m not allowed to ride. I’ll get some rest over the next few days and then focus on getting fit for Knockhill. Thanks for all the messages and support.”
Race 1: 18th Race 2: 18th
“I’m really pleased with today. The first race was great, we were battling within the points but as the track dried my tyre dropped off a cliff and I just had no grip whatsoever. In race two, once I got through a couple of battles I set about closing down the group ahead and I’m really pleased with how close I was to them at the end as if we can continue working to close that gap we should be looking at points. The feeling with the front has improved too, so I leave here happy!”
“It’s been a tough weekend all round. We’re gutted for Taz as we think he’d have had the pace to run at the front today, but it wasn’t to be and the main thing is he’s OK. Clearly something is missing for Jason at the minute. He showed what both he and the bike are capable of at Silverstone so we need to put our heads together and see if we can help him find that feeling again. I also have to say a well done to Matt, as it was a mega weekend for him.”