Round nine began with Ray fastest after practice and then going on to dominate qualifying, barely needing to turn a wheel after smashing the lap record.

It’s a momentum that carried on from the last round at Snetterton, where after already haing taken over at the top of the title standings, he increased his lead further - dominating with all three wins going his way.

The race began with a rare sign that the Rich Energy OMG rider is still beatable, he was pushed back to third by Tommy Bridewell and Jason O’Halloran, but had soon got back to the lead of the race by the end of the first lap.

 

‘It wasn’t easy’

 

Back in front Ray tried to break an although he never looked troubled, he didn’t open out his over two second gap until later in the race when his rivals started tripping each other over for a slice of podium action, allowing the #28 to take advantage:

“ It wasn’t easy, I didn’t get the best of starts, I found myself back in third. So immediately I just needed to get my head down and try to get past Jason and Tommy as quickly as possible and try to get into my rhythm.

I managed to get in front, but I couldn’t break then so I had a couple of steady laps and then put the hammer down to do a couple of quick laps.”

Behind Tommy Bridewell knew that he needed to make gains in order to have a hope of taking the Showdown. Despite his best efforts he could not keep apace of Ray up front but his second combined with a DNF for both McAMS riders and several of the Showdown contenders only just inside the top ten meant he moved up from eighth to fourth overall in just one race, as much success as you could hope for behind Ray’s win.

 

‘I had a go’

 

The Oxford Products Ducati rider stayed close to Ray for as long as possible:

“Second place for us in that race - I had a go - and when Brad sort of just started creeping away I dug in and I could kind of pull him back.

I thought ‘I can make a race of this’ then I didn’t! So that was that".

Though the race didn’t end with victory Bridewell was still happy with his movement overall:

“The good thing with the points is I was sat in eighth, Tarran was in third but only 23 points ahead, so I saw him, you know, getting a DNF, so that’s tightened it all up.

We have to take it step by step, sort of weekend by weekend.”

The final podium spot went to Leon Haslam, who had been leading the chasing charge before Tarran Mackenzie took over then swiftly exited as he made a lunge for the podium slots, while also benefiting from Jason O’Halloran being taken out by an uncharacteristic wild move from Peter Hickman.

The VisionTrack Kawasaki rider feels they can still improve their start but was pleased that the late race pace he could get was closing him in anyway:

“The beginning of the race we were just lacking a few tenths here or there and then the group just got away.

We did catch that group up, maybe the longer race we would have had a ‘legit’ podium but we’ll take them where we can, we haven’t had many this year".


Off The Podium

 

Peter Hickman had crossed the line fourth after his rash move saw an unsighted and very angry Jason O’Halloran exit the race on the last lap.

After a meeting and review of the incident judged to have ‘caused an avoidable impact with another rider, which resulted in another rider falling, whilst you continued’. Hickman was handed a disqualification from the race result, a three place grid penalty and two penalty points.

That moves Honda’s Glenn Irwin up to fourth, Having already made gains after gropping back on the start an extra place and points is an added bonus.

Danny Buchan moves into fifth after qualifying eighth for Synetiq BMW Motorrad. Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki) gains a bigger advantage after originally finishing seventh.

Christian Iddon had already made up several places and gains one more to place seventh for Buildbase Suzuki.

Rory Skinner (Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki )is now eighth and and Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Yamaha) ninth with Ducati’s Josh Brookes moving into the top ten.

His team-mate at MCE, Tom Sykes was behind him on track so now sits in eleventh.

Danny Kent started outside the points so had already made up several points on the Buildbase Suzuki on his way to twelfth.

The remaining points now go to Honda’s Tom Neave, Dean Harrison at DAO Racing Kawasaki with Chrissy Rouse now picking up a point with Crowe Performance BMW.