Jason O’Halloran ignited his quest for the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike crown with victory in an incredible opening race at Brands Hatch while team-mate Tarran Mackenzie continued his strong run of form to complete the podium in third.
Having sat out the morning’s session due to iffy conditions, the duo’s first real-time on track on Saturday was in qualifying. O’Halloran stormed straight to the top of the timesheets while Mackenzie made up for time lost on Friday.
Aussie O’Halloran was pipped for pole in the closing stages by title rival Josh Brookes, while Mackenzie improved to ninth to take his strongest qualifying of the year.
The race would be a showstopper, with O’Halloran settling into fourth in the early stages of what would become a 16 lap ding-dong, initially between title fighters Brookes, Irwin, Iddon and O’Halloran. The quartet had gapped the chasing pack slightly after the first three laps, but with moves coming left right and centre the others were soon close behind.
O’Halloran bided his time before attacking, but it was no easy feat for the Australian with Ducati’s Iddon fighting hard. However, he’d eventually make it through with a strong pass at Stirling’s before pulling the pin to take the win.
Having fought through from ninth on the grid, Mackenzie’s late-race pace almost had McAMS Yamaha a one-two, but the 24-year-old lost out on the final lap to Ducati’s Iddon.
Series leader Brookes finished fourth, meaning O’Halloran’s victory sees him close to within seven points of the title lead. Mackenzie is still mathematically in contention, 43 points behind.
The 2020 season concludes tomorrow with two races, one at 12:45 and the other at 16:00.