The opening round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike championship concluded in dramatic fashion with OMG Suzuki rider Josh Elliott claiming a surprise win. After qualifying in fourth, Elliot rode a brilliant race to pass Be Wiser Ducati rider Scott Redding and spend the majority of the 30 lap race holding third while running with the pace setting McAMS Yamaha duo of Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie.
On schedule to claim his first ever BSB podium, Elliott inherited second position when Mackenzie forced his way up the inside of race leader O’Halloran on the final lap. The two Yamaha men made contact which caused O’Halloran to crash out of the race.
Mackenzie went onto take the win and celebrated on the top step of the podium, but was later handed a three second penalty by race direction which meant he was relegated to second while Elliott inherited the win.
Speaking at the end of the race and before he had been classified as the race winner an overjoyed Elliott said: “I was in tears on the slow down lap as it’s been a real battle over the last few years. In 2017 I didn’t even have a ride and now I’m on the podium in a BSB race which is awesome. I tried to hang in there at the front for as long as possible but I had a few front end slides, I thought something was going to happen and I could see Taz lining him up and I was there to take it. It’s amazing just to be racing those guys, the Yamaha his good round here and they’ve both got a lot of experience.”
Despite taking the win on track, Mackenzie was subdued in his post race, pre penalty interview. He said: “Obviously it wasn’t intentional, he’s my team-mate. I’ve never done anything like that in my life. He put a very good race together, probably better than me. It’s racing, it was the last corner on the last lap and he wants to win as much as I do. He ran slightly wide and I went for the gap. I’m 99% sure he saw me but he decided to keep on leaning and didn’t lift. I’m sure that if he’d have been in my position he would have done the same. It’s not his fault, I hope he’s ok. This isn’t how I expected to win my first race so we’ll see what happens in race two.”
Scott Redding’s BSB career got off to a solid, but not spectacular start with the former MotoGP man unable to fight for top honours onboard the V4 Ducati. The 26 year old spent the majority of the race in fourth, but inherited third when O’Halloran crashed.
He said: “I’m not overwhelmed, that wasn’t a deserved podium. The guys had more pace than me and I couldn’t get the rear tyre to hook up. I didn’t have the edge grip and the Yamaha and Suzuki can carry so much more corner speed that I couldn’t really hang with them. I was really trying but it was getting looser and looser so I just thought I’d settle for fourth. It was good to get some race experience and it’s great to be on the podium, but we didn’t really deserve it this time.”
Be Wiser Ducati team-mate, Josh Brookes had another disappointing day with the Australian retiring on lap 24 retired after suffering his second technical problem of the weekend. An engine failure in qualifying one was followed by an electrical fault in the race when he was fighting for a top six position after qualifying 18th on the grid.
Race 1 result
- Josh Elliot OMG Racing Suzuki 27:44.547
- Tarran Mackenzie McAMS Yamaha +0.017s
- Scott Redding Be Wiser Ducati +4.118
- Luke Mossey OMG Racing Suzuki +5.472
- Tommy Bridewell Oxford Racing Ducati +7.505
- Andrew Irwin Honda Racing +8.236
- Luke Stapleford Buildbase Suzuki +11.554
- Claudio Corti Team WD-40 Kawasaki +11.900
- Danny Buchan FS-3 Racing Kawasaki +12.024
10. Xavi Fores Honda Racing +13.210