Jason O'Halloran lost the lead in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings at Knockhill when he crashed out of the action in the second race of the weekend, but the McAMS Yamaha rider admits that despite a DNF, he was happy with the results in Scotland given his previous luck at the circuit.
Before last weekend, O’Halloran had failed to stand on the podium at Knockhill and the Australian contender was determined to turn that around – which he did in the opening BikeSocial race of the weekend with a strong second place.
“To be honest, and I know it will sound pretty odd, but I was really happy with how Knockhill went because for the first time ever that I have raced there, I had speed,” reflected O’Halloran. “I obviously got pole positon and showed when I started at the front, I could race at the front, with the second place in race one.
“It was just unfortunate in races; in the first one for instance I was think about winning the race, I wasn’t thinking about a lap time as I was saving the tyre and get a result in the race, so that didn’t give me an ideal lap time, which wasn’t great for race two.”
O’Halloran had been fighting his way through the field in race two when he crashed on lap 11, which again then put him down the order on the starting grid for the final race of the weekend.
“I started ninth in race two and I got a decent start and then I was in a battle,” added O’Halloran. “I passed Taz at the Hairpin, but then ran really wide. I was struggling to get the bike stopped and then I got passed by Gino and Bradley Ray where I ran wide and then I got in a battle with those guys for a bit too long really.
“I managed to get through them, and I wasn’t in so much of a rush to catch the others ahead, as I had plenty of time, but I wanted to get away from them so they didn’t have a chance to try and make a pass again. I just made a small mistake into turn three; I went in a bit too fast and tucked the front, which was a shame.
“Obviously crashing out on lap ten, meant that my lap time I had done was behind people, so I was a tenth off pole but started ninth. That set me up for the next race, which isn’t the end of the world, but when the lap times are so close, it makes it really tricky to get through and the closer to the front, the harder it is.”
In race three O’Halloran had been carving his way up the order and was confident that he could have been in the mix to score even higher, had it not been for the red flag which bought a premature end to the race.
“I had a good race with Tommy and a few of the other guys and managed to get ahead of them with about six or seven laps to go and then the race got stopped a little bit early which was a bit of a shame,” said O’Halloran. “It was what it was and to get a second and a sixth was pretty good for me there. I think the biggest thing I can take away was not so much the results, but that I had the speed, which I have struggled to have there in the past, so I think that sets us up for a good couple of rounds coming up really.”
Next up in the title fight is the third round of the season at Brands Hatch and a circuit where O’Halloran was victorious last October in an epic dogfight between the title contenders.
“I think Brands Hatch will be a really good round for us and the circuit is a lot better for the McAMS Yamaha than Knockhill is, and has also been a strong track for me in the past,” said O’Halloran. “Obviously winning there last year was good and we have improved since then as well, so we should be in a really strong place.
“Although I am going to Brands Hatch confident and thinking that we can win as it’s a strong track for me, it is also a strong track for a lot of other guys too, so I think we will see some really good racing like we had at the end of last year there. You know, it will be close and as tight as ever and I think it will be probably some of the best racing we have seen this year or last. I think with the crowds coming back, it is going to add a new element to it with the atmosphere, getting everyone excited and I can’t wait to get started!”