Kyles final round of 2020 of this very strange racing season has moved to the southern International circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent and see’s the Grand Finale’ of the racing season; were any number of half a dozen riders could potentially be crowned the 2020 British Superbike Champion. Kyle’s chances of being up at the top of the leaderboard drifted away a couple of meetings ago at Oulton Park and his series of bad luck carried on at the Donington round a couple of weeks back, were he suffered with mechanical problems etc. to which he was struggling to re find his earlier season form where he was winning races!
‘Whilst the five title contenders are ready to go all-in as they bid for title celebrations after the final Round on Sunday, there are three other race winners this season who will be determined to mix it at the front. Tommy Bridewell, Kyle Ryde and Andrew Irwin, have all been victorious in 2020’. (BSB Website)
Free practice got underway on the Friday afternoon and after the first couple of laps Kyle was in a respectable 6th place on the leaderboard but by the 35-minute mark of this 45-minute session Kyle was going into the pits as he was now lingering down in 15th place with most of the quick guys putting in much faster lap times. After around ten minutes Kyle was back out on track, but after only doing a couple of laps he again returned into the pits, clearly something was not right with the machine. However; after a couple of fallers at various locations on the circuit a Red flag was called and this ended the session for Kyle, unfortunately never recovering in this session, so finishing down in 14th place hoping for a huge improvement in tomorrow’s FP2 & Qualifying sessions.
Saturday Morning and the second of the ‘Free Practice’ sessions got under way in a rather cold & damp autumnal conditions and it almost looked like Kyle was going to sit this one out!
With very few machines out on circuit Kyle eventually came out with 12 minutes of this 45-minute session remaining. So as his tyres warmed up, so did his lap times and by the end of the session he had managed eight laps and each one improving lap on lap, finally achieving to be 3rd on the Leaderboard behind Buchan & Andy Reid, so hopefully looking to be in a strong position for the Midday qualifying session.
Kyle again started well for the first few laps of the lunchtime qualifying session, but it wasn’t long before he returned to the pits. He rolled back onto the circuit at the 10-minute mark of this 25-minute session, only to land up following Brookes around for a few laps and then was pretty much on his own around the circuit for several more laps, before joining the train of machines that were going around the circuit
The circuit was still appearing damp in places even though both the air & track temperatures had both increased from the earlier practise.
With around 4 minutes of this crucial session left and down in 14th place Kyle again pitted! But not for long and was soon out again for the remaining minutes, so he was probably looking for a gap in the traffic. Kyle finally finished qualifying on the 4th row of the grid for the later race in 11th place alongside Kennedy & Hickman, 1.1 second down on the Pole sitter Josh Brooks, so it just shows how close all of these riders are!
As dark clouds loomed of this Kent circuit, the red lights for the first race of the weekends finale’ got underway and Kyle who started on the fourth row of the grid became swamped with a sea of riders as the pack turned down Paddock Hill bend.
He came around lap one in 16th place in the field of machines, with the first dozen riders battling at the front, like a pack of mad hounds! Kyle was down in the second bunch of riders keeping the likes of Buchan, Hickman & Francis company, with Rea & Kennedy also joining the second bunch along the way on various laps. This again; wasn’t to be Kyle’s finest race by any means and the pack leading the race was going at such a fierce pace he was never ever going to catch up and create any sort of trouble for any of them. Finally, this 16-lap race came to an end and Kyle came to take the chequered down in 14th place 11.4 seconds down on the winner!
The winner was Jason O’Halloran, with Christian Iddon second and Tarren Mackenzie third. Kyle’s hoping to improve on this position in tomorrow’s races by some margin!
Sunday morning warm is again in cold but dry conditions with similar temperatures to yesterday’s Free practice. Kyle was one of the first out on circuit and was showing signs of improvement in his track times during this ten-minute session, he moved with varying degrees up and down the leaderboard, to finally end up fourth fastest behind Brookes Bridewell & Rea. However; Kyle did return to the pits on his final lap rather than take the chequered flag, so hopefully no issues before the race later.
Sunday’s first of the two races came around lunchtime and the track and air temperatures had both increased somewhat from the earlier warm-up session.
Kyle started this race a row further back than the previous race but again along side Kennedy & Hickman. As he came around on the first lap Kyle was in 15th place behind Lee Jackson and ahead of Taylor Mackenzie & Joe Francis, this was a twenty-lap race and anything could happen during the race ahead! By lap eight Kyle was up to 13th place behind series contender Glen Irwin and these two experienced riders were in their own battle to press forward and hopefully latch on to the leading packs. However; Taz Mackenzie who was in second place at the time, went down hard at ‘Druids’ so all the pack moved forward a position. By three quarters race distance Kyle was still battling with Glen Irwin, but he eventually overhauled the Honda team rider to secure a better 11th place in the pack. He would have liked to have been a bit closer to Bridewell who was in tenth place, but it would have meant some extreme riding to even get close to him as he was 3 seconds plus up the track. So, Kyle just concentrated on keeping Irwin at arm’s length and he managed to bring his tired machine home in an improved 11th place 0.210 of a second ahead of Glen.
The race was an Aussie walk-over with Josh Brookes First, Jason O’Halloran second and Englishman Christian Iddon came home in third.
Kyle’s final race of the season took place late in the afternoon, as all previous rounds this weekend has been run without any spectators, other than race team staff, Officials & some family members, so; this Kent circuit must have felt quite empty again, when the riders lined up on the grid for the final time of the 2020 season.
Conditions were just about right for racing, a little on the cool side but dry and as the Red Race lights went out, the pack headed off down paddock hill bend for the final Superbike race of the year.
Kyle started on the fourth row of the grid again, this time he had Mossey & Kennedy alongside of him. By the end of the first lap Kyle had hardly progressed any and was down in16th place behind Francis and as the laps went by Kyle just couldn’t appear to be able to better this position, with only the riders around him changing, these were Mossey & Barbera as they dropped down the field. Something was truly not right again for Kyle and his Bike, as we have all seen what he is more than capable of earlier on in the season, when he was chasing at the front and having race wins & podiums. So clearly something was amiss and must have been so frustrating for Kyle.
As Kyle came around to complete lap 10 of this twenty-lap race, he turned into the pitlane and his final race of 2020 had been run! A sad end to what has been a truly inspirational year for Kyle in his first full season in the British Superbike Championship. Let’s hope that Kyle will be out there again next season battling to just show what a true racer he really is and how he could even be a possible Championship contender, given the right tools!
Josh Brook’s took the final race to bag the Championship title, with Taz Mackenzie in 2nd and runner-up in the Championship Jason O’Halloran third.
Kyle in his very first full year of British Superbikes finished 9th overall in the Championship, hoping for better things in 2021!