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Oulton Park Round 4

Kyle’s & the Hawk Racing team move to the scenic & undulating Cheshire circuit of Oulton Park, for the fourth round of the British Superbikes Championship, somewhere Kyle has raced many times before and has had a mixed bag of results.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Kyle said: that he was looking forward to the round at Oulton Park this weekend and was looking to get three really good points scoring finishes because he’s not that far behind in the championship standings now and a brace of good results this weekend would place him within the top three in the Championship.

“A weekend I shall never forget, I’m hungrier and more determined than ever, bring on Oulton Park’

“The pressure is off now; I know I can win races, so there is no reason why I can’t do the same this weekend”

Friday saw the first of the two free practice sessions and Kyle was finding his feet on his new Superbike around this tight & narrow Cheshire circuit. He managed 14 laps of this 2.6-mile-long circuit and after the 45-minute session he was in a good healthy fourth place on the timing board.  However; in the second of the free practices on the Saturday morning, Kyle saw a lot of his fellow riders up their game and he himself was starting to linger down into the low 7th to 10th positions on the timing board.     Qualifying was on Saturday lunchtime in preparation for the late afternoon 16 lap dash!

Kyle was looking better in the twenty-five-minute qualifying session and with 13 minutes of the session left, he was in a good fourth on the grid for the later race, but as the remaining minutes ticked so did the other riders lap times.  Enabling Andy Irwin and  the FS3 Kawasaki’s of Buchan & Jackson  to come through to knock Kyle back down into  7th place on the grid for the race later in the afternoon, not too bad a place really; with a third-row position and the outside box, good for the ‘Hole-shot’!

The tenth race of the Superbike season was late on in the afternoon sunshine and Kyle took up his position on the third row of the grid, feeling quite relaxed knowing that his machine could match any of those on the rows in front and was feeling especially confident on the back of his two wins at Silverstone two weeks previous.

The lights went out and Kyle went for the outside line edging down towards  ‘Old Hall’ corner he was looking like he was down in 7th or 8th position, as the pack headed down through Cascade’ then on to Island Bend, ready for the tight right hander of Shell Oils Corner’  were here Kyle tipped the bike in to the bend whilst trying to ride around the outside of Ducati mounted  Australian racer Josh Brookes, unfortunately and with possibly still slightly cold tyres, Kyle’s bike went down and Kyle and the bike slid into the air-fence circling around the corner perimeter. Kyle’s race unfortunately ended on around half of the very first lap! But luckily both bike and rider were both OK, with only Kyle’s pride being hurt!     McAMS Yamaha rider Jason O’Halloran took the win, with Ducati mounted  Christian Iddon 2nd and FS3 Kawasaki of Danny Buchan 3rd, O’Halloran is the 8th winner of a Superbike race this season, leaving the Superbike championship wide open.

Sunday’s Race Day

Kyle picked himself up from yesterday’s off at Shell Oils Island, brushed himself down and got on with the job in hand, proving that he and the machine could match any of the riders out there around Oulton Park, by going out in the warm-up session and was third overall quickest behind the two Australian riders of O’Halloran & Brooks.

The second race of the weekend was just after lunch & only an hour after the war-up session, as the circuit isn’t allowed to race until lunchtime on a Sunday, due to the local by-laws.

Kyle was placed on the 5th! row of the grid after his slide off of his machine yesterday and not achieving a qualifying time for todays races, so he knew that this would be a huge task to get anywhere near the front runners today, but he was hoping to break into the top eight riders and perhaps reel the others in slowly, especially as this was an 18 lap race as opposed to the 16 lap race of yesterday.

Kyle was off to a reasonable start and by the first lap had gained a higher position, but the pace was hot! and already groups of riders were starting to form and obviously the bunch at the front were really at a fast pace. By a third of the race distance (Lap 6) Kyle was leading a group behind Mossey who was in 10th place, Kyle was 11th with Bridewell & Hickman behind him in 12th / 13th respectively, so Kyle was having to contend now; with riders who he hasn’t been racing against in previous race positions, as he’s normally further forward in the pack! By lap nine Jackson was now in 10th  and Hickman had now overhauled Kyle to put him down into 12th with Tommy Bridewell 13th.   Two thirds of the race distance and Glen Irwin (Championship Leader) retired to the pits, so everybody from around 4th place moved up on the leaderboard, so Kyle was now back up to 11th but on lap 14 he overshot at the chicane and had the straw bales to weave around! the fact that he had not had a  rear brake to use since the very first lap didn’t help matters either.   Kyle rejoined the race behind Gino Rea for the later stages of the race and was in front of  Vickers in 14th & Hector Barbera in 15th place. This was Kyle’s race position for the remaining four laps, so he finally finished this rather interesting race in 13th place, gaining just 3 points, Kyle is now 7th overall in the standings just one point behind Tarran Mackenzie, all to do in the next race!

The race winners were duplicated from yesterdays race, with O’Halloran, Iddon & Buchan all heading to the podium again.

Kyle’s final race of the day saw him on row four of the grid this time, alongside Tarran Mackenzie & Gino Rea. As the pack roared off towards the first right hander ‘Old Hall corner’ Kyle was down in 10th place in this fiercely charging line of Superbike machinery and it wasn’t long before the race started to split into two groups of riders and then later three groups plus! By the sixth lap Kyle was down in 13th position trying his hardest to catch Mossey but to no avail. By around ¾’s of the race distance, Bridwell & Rea were almost 3.seconds ahead of Kyle who was in turn around 8.5.seconds ahead of the next placed rider Brad Vickers., who was down in 14th place. Kyle was having a lonely ride for almost half of the 18-lap race and wasn’t making any headway into the charging packs of bikes in front of him. It has been a very tough weekend at Oulton Park for Kyle & the team, especially after such traumatic and convincing wins of two weeks ago at Silverstone, but unfortunately that’s the ‘Highs & Lows’ of motorcycle racing, something that Kyle has got used to over his  years of racing at a National & International level.   Kyle did manage to score some valuable points even though he wasn’t in the leading groups. However; the next round is on Kyle’s home turf of Donington Park, were he was going well early at the very first round, so as they say: watch this space hopefully the ‘Youth’ will be back!

Kyle is now  in 7th place in the Superbike Championship, 58 points behind the series leader Glen Irwin, the next round at Donington is on the 2nd 3rd & 4th of October and is on the full International circuit.