FANTASTIC FOURTHS AS O'HALLORAN RETURNS TO SHARP END AT THRUXTON
Jason O’Halloran returned to the sharp end for the McAMS Yamaha team in a chaotic Thruxton race day to take his strongest points haul of the season after fighting for the podium in both outings.
With team-mate Mackenzie out with a fractured radius after his qualifying crash, O’Halloran and Truelove were the only representatives for McAMS Yamaha in Sunday’s races and the Aussie was unsure how he’d fare given a shoulder injury sustained in his race two off at Snetterton.
A strong morning warm-up saw O’Halloran quietly confident ahead of the race, and a storming start from the third row of the grid saw him take the lead in the early stages. Remaining at the front for eight laps before dropping back to save his tyre, O’Halloran looked comfortable with the front-running pace. Well within the battle for the win, the Aussie once again took the lead with four laps to go and tried to break the group but wasn’t quite able. Andrew Irwin and Scott Redding slipped past on the penultimate lap, before the Aussie lost out on the rostrum to Josh Brookes at the final chicane.
Starting on the front row for the second outing, O’Halloran again led the early stages before again dropping back to sixth – but the race would soon be stopped as rain started to fall. Following a short delay while the shower passed, the race restarted. Despite another good start, O’Halloran was slightly beaten up in the early stages before setting one of his fastest laps of the weekend as he chased down the leading pack. However, a crash for Glenn Irwin would bring out the red flags again.
The race would eventually be decided over an eight-lap sprint and after getting squeezed at the start, O’Halloran fought back through to the leading group. Well within the battle for the podium, he’d once again narrowly miss out with another fourth-place finish.
The two fourth places mark O’Halloran’s best weekend of the year with a haul of 26 points moving him into the top ten in the championship standings with 90 points. Absent from the grid for both races, Mackenzie has dropped down to fifth, six points behind Buchan and just five ahead of Andrew Irwin.
Matt Truelove had a day to forget after crashing out of both races unhurt.
The McAMS Yamaha team will be back in action at Cadwell Park in two weeks’ time where the plan is to be back to full strength. Mackenzie will see a wrist specialist in the next few days and is hopeful of a return at the Lincolnshire track.
Jason O'Halloran Race 1: 4th Race 2: 4th Championship: 10th (90 points) "It was good to get some solid finishes. I am a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium as I felt we had really good pace in both races. We'll take fourth today, the boys have done a good job. I've said it the last couple of rounds, if we get a full weekend without any issues in practice and qualifying and we'll be back up the sharp end and that's what we've done this weekend. Everybody has done a great job and it feels nice to have some momentum and build through the first two days of the weekend. I had a crash at Snetterton and to be honest I've had a bit of an issue with my left shoulder, so I have to thank my physio and the physio team at the track. We've got a couple of weeks off before Cadwell, so I'll try and get a bit fitter and see if we can carry this momentum to Cadwell."
Matt Truelove Race 1: DNF Race 2: DNF "It's been a weekend to forget unfortunately. I was quite happy after qualifying but the races did not go to plan with two crashes. I'm OK, but I'm pretty frustrated. I wasn't very happy with how I was riding, especially in the second race where I just couldn't get into it. Onwards and upwards, it's Cadwell Park next which is my home round and one I really enjoy, we did a bit of a track day there the other day so I'm looking forward to getting going."
Steve Rodgers Team Owner "We are so happy to see Jason back up the front. The past few rounds have been tough for him, so to see him back where he should be is brilliant. In racing it is important to work through the hard times as there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that's been shown this weekend. I'm sure he'd have loved to have been on the podium but two fourth places, especially with an injured shoulder, are more than good enoughin my eyes. Hopefully he can build on the momentum and have a strong second half of the year. Taz was definitely frustrated watching from the sidelines, but he's determined to be back for Cadwell so we'll see how he gets on over the next few days and make a plan."