Ray: Championship lead 'feels good, happy going to any track' with Yamaha

After switching BMW for Yamaha machinery, new BSB championship leader Bradley Ray has without question refound his mojo; ‘I’m happy going to any track now with the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha and I am feeling good in myself’. 
Bradley Ray, Yamaha British Superbike Oulton Park
Bradley Ray, Yamaha British Superbike Oulton Park

If not for a crash whilst leading at Silverstone, Ray could have been looking at a start to the 2022 BSB season where three wins and another three podiums was a distinct possibility. 

But even with the mistake at the season opener, Ray has now taken over the championship lead from Glenn Irwin after a dominant performance at Oulton Park. 

Fastest in Friday practice with a new lap record, Ray’s weekend only got better after winning race one - his first win in four years. 

The Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha rider then took victory in race two, before looking like a hat-trick was on the cards. 

Bradley Ray, Kyle Ryde, Rory Skinner BSB
Bradley Ray, Kyle Ryde, Rory Skinner BSB

However, an issue with his right arm led to Ray struggling to keep the same pace that helped him build a 2.5 second lead, instead Tommy Bridewell and Lee Jackson closed in, and with it Ray’s attempt at winning £50.000 was in real danger. 

For any rider that could complete a hat-trick of wins at Oulton Park and Doningon (Ray’s first two BSB wins came at Donington), £50.000 in prize money was to be awarded. 

But after losing the lead to Bridewell, Jackson came through with immediate effect before going on to dominant the final five laps. 

Nevertheless, it’s by far Ray’s most consistent start to a season, and one that’s clearly positioned him as an early season favourite. 

"It has been a great weekend for us and it feels good to leave with the championship lead," said Ray. "The last race was difficult; I tried to put in as many fast laps as I could and pulled a gap but I struggled a bit in the latter part of the race. I tried everything I could but I just couldn’t hold the gap.

"I gave it everything and Lee had unbelievable pace at the end of the race so congratulations to him. I was happy to have another podium, it wasn’t another win but it has been a good weekend for me.

"I’m happy going to any track now with the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha and I am feeling good in myself, so I am looking forward to a reboot and be ready to go again at Donington Park."

Kawasaki back in the groove after first BSB win since August 2019

While it was a breakthrough weekend in terms of rediscovering his winning touch for Ray, FS-3 Kawasaki rider Jackson also clinched his maiden BSB win.

A victory that was a long time coming for Jackson, the British rider had been outshone for much of the opening two rounds by younger team-mate Rory Skinner, however, when it mattered most Jackson found unrelenting pace in order to streak clear.

Lee Jackson Kawasaki British Superbike Oulton Park
Lee Jackson Kawasaki British Superbike Oulton Park

Before doing so, even Jackson felt a victory was impossible after initially struggling in the early laps, but once Bridewell came through, the Ducati rider served as somewhat of a benchmark as Jackson rapidly found the feeling needed aboard his ZX10-RR.  

Jackson added: "The race for me started a bit slow and I didn’t actually feel that great. I struggled to get into a comfortable rhythm as the pace was really fast. Once Tommy Bridewell passed me I found the rhythm I needed straight away and gave me that edge to get to the front.

"Tommy did a lot of the hard work chasing Brad down and as soon as we got to him, I saw that the pace had dropped. I knew I had the pace so I just made the passes as soon as I could as the laps were counting down and I knew I had to try and break him.

"I tried to relax on the last lap and we have worked hard as a team to get this win today. I work hard and I am my own biggest critic and I feel like I am good enough now. I want to keep this ball rolling now so maybe a cheeky cider and a McDonalds to celebrate tonight!

"We have got the bike working well now and moving to Donington Park, I feel like we will still have the pace to have another good weekend there."

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