Tarran Mackenzie celebrated victory in the closest Bennetts British Superbike Championship race finish of the season so far, winning race three at Snetterton by just 0.048s from Tommy Bridewell to secure the Pirelli Race of Aces trophy. The pair have confirmed their Title Fighter status in the Showdown, but with three races remaining next weekend at Silverstone, ten riders remain in contention to land the final four places.
The battle for the Title Fighter position intensified in Norfolk as the pack concertinaed in the standings after today’s two races. Christian Iddon’s fifth place in race three made him the fourth rider to be confirmed for the final three-round Showdown, with Peter Hickman just missing out by a single point as he prepares to cement his position at Silverstone next weekend.
The second race of the weekend was another three-way scrap at the front between the McAMS Yamaha pairing of Jason O’Halloran and Mackenzie, as Oxford Products Racing Ducati’s Bridewell again locked horns with the boys in blue.
O’Halloran upped the stakes after losing out to the pair yesterday, emerging ahead following an intense last lap battle with his two closest rivals.
Bridewell had managed to split the teammates by half race distance after O’Halloran ran wide at Wilson, but the championship leader was soon attacking the Oxford Products Racing Ducati contender to regain the position.
In the closing stages, O’Halloran had taken the lead on lap 13 with a decisive move at Wilson on Mackenzie, but the pair had Bridewell pushing them both until he had a moment at Coram when he caught his knee slider on the grass. He saved a crash, but just lost a few hundredths of a second to the leading pair ahead of the final two laps.
On the penultimate lap, Mackenzie held the lead, but O’Halloran fought back at Brundle to take the position. However, it wasn’t over and on the final lap, Mackenzie regained the advantage on the brakes into Agostini.
O’Halloran was piling on the pressure and made his move at the end of the Bentley Straight, then defended hard to take the chequered flag by 0.305s from Mackenzie, as Bridewell claimed a consistent third place.
A dramatic race three eventually featured the same trio tussling for the podium positions, as Mackenzie dealt his rivals a winning blow in an intense five-lap dash following an earlier red flag, to secure the Pirelli Race of Aces trophy.
When the race got underway, Mackenzie launched to the front of the pack with a lightening start from pole position to lead Gino Rea and O’Halloran into Riches for the first time.
However, championship leader O’Halloran was back ahead of the pack by the end of the opening lap as Bridewell had also pushed Mackenzie down the order into third.
By lap five, Bridewell had seized the advantage at Riches with a decisive move on his McAMS Yamaha rival and he was able to fend off the teammates over the following laps before the race was red flagged on lap nine.
Danny Buchan’s SYNETIQ BMW suffered a technical problem at the end of the Bentley Straight and as a result of losing fluid, he crashed heavily with Lee Jackson and Andrew Irwin also caught up in the incident. Jackson was unable to make the five lap restart due to damage to his FS-3 Racing Kawasaki, which puts him in a precarious position as he remains in eighth overall in the standings.
The race restarted with a five-lap sprint to the chequered flag, but Mackenzie again got the lead off the start ahead of Rea, but the Buildbase Suzuki rider was soon under attack as Bridewell and O’Halloran both moved ahead.
On the second lap, Bridewell launched his bid for the win, taking the lead into Brundle to hold the McAMS Yamaha riders behind him.
Mackenzie was not defeated though; he made a move on Bridewell at Agostini on the penultimate lap to reclaim the lead with the pair going head-to-head on the final lap for the victory.
A mistake from Mackenzie at Nelson wasn’t enough to give Bridewell the opportunity he needed to take the win and just 0.048s separated the pair at the chequered flag with O’Halloran completing the podium line up.
Defending champion Josh Brookes equalled his best result of the season with a fourth and sixth place finish today as he bids to claw back the advantage, with 13-points now separating him from eighth in the standings.
Peter Hickman and Buchan hold fifth and sixth place in the standings after the pair both had a challenging weekend in Norfolk. ‘Hicky’ bounced back from tenth in race two and having to start from the back row of the grid following an issue on the grid in race three, to secure seventh for FHO Racing BMW.
Honda Racing’s Glenn Irwin also endured a difficult weekend, meaning he now has just a seven-point margin over Lee Jackson, with the pair holding the final two positions inside the top eight ahead of next weekend’s crucial three races at Silverstone.
Bradley Ray, Brookes, Ryan Vickers, Rory Skinner, Andrew Irwin and Gino Rea are all outside the coveted top eight, as the focus moves to Silverstone, where the final four riders who will fight for the 2021 crown will be decided next Sunday.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, Race 2 result:
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha)
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.305s
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.885s
- Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +2.046s
- Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +2.979s
- Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +3.033s
- Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki) +6.422s
- Andrew Irwin (SYNETIQ BMW) +6.473s
- Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +8.972s
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +10.857s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, Race 3 result:
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha)
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.048s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +0.952s
- Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +1.152s
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +1.322s
- Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +1.515s
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +1.790s
- Dan Linfoot (TAG Honda) +2.516s
- Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +2.620s
- Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +4.138s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Snetterton:
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 399
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 293
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 261
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 239
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) 224
- Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) 174
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 161
- Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 154
Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha
Pirelli Race of Aces winner
“It’s been an amazing weekend and I didn’t expect it after crashing at Cadwell Park. We started really strong in first free practice and the bike felt really nice all weekend and allowed me to ride it how I wanted.
“It was great to win yesterday, I felt like I could have done it again this morning but Jason just got the better of me and then I bounced back with another win in a five lap sprint.
“It was important to get a lot of podium points and to have a successful weekend with one round to go before the Showdown is key.
“We move on to Silverstone now which is a great track for me, I love it there and the way the bike is working at the moment I’m sure we’ll be up the sharp end and battling for wins and podiums.”
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