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Victories and podiums as BSB returns

Victories, podiums and a few DNFs – the opening round of the British Superbike series had it all.

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Brierley Hill's Michael Rutter, team manager of Black Country-based Bathams Racing, enjoyed the perfect start to the National Superstock campaign as his main rider, Taylor Mackenzie, grabbed a victory at Oulton Park, in Cheshire, over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Cannock-based Rich Energy OMG Racing had plenty of positives to build after claiming a podium, while Brownhills-based Astro JJR will be hoping for more consistency from their three National Superstock riders at round two.

Storm Stacey, 18, from Eccleshall, continues to hone his craft in the full BSB series with the GR Motorsport team but came away disappointed after suffering two DNFs following a positive 16th-placed finish in the opening race.

Mackenzie produced a dominant and controlled ride to give the team its first victory in 22 months – and the all-new BMW M1000RR its debut win in the UK.

The combination of a challenging season in 2020 due to injuries sustained to Bathams Racing rider Richard Cooper – who is hopeful of returning this year – and a delayed start to the 2021 season meant victory had been a long time coming for the team.

However, thanks to a huge amount of work to learn the new BMW during the winter and spring seasons, with continued support from all the teams sponsors, suppliers and technical partners, it ensured Bathams Racing was soon back to winning ways.

Mackenzie made a good start from second position on the grid and quickly established himself in a break away pack of riders.

By the end of the 14-lap race, the breakaway of four riders became spread out, and Mackenzie finished the race with a 2.8-second lead over second place to take victory.

Rutter, 49, continued to focus on testing and developing electronic solutions on the M1000RR and having completed the testing programme, he decided to withdraw from the main race.

Rutter said: “I take full credit for the result, and will be giving myself a large pay rise for assessing all those electronic settings on the M1000RR since we took delivery of it, and all weekend!

"Seriously, though, this is great for everyone on the team who has worked so hard on the bike all winter, and our suppliers and sponsors who have helped.

"You never really know where you are until you get to the first race, and while it is a dream result for us, it is only one race, so we'll enjoy this evening and get back to work tomorrow.

"We've got a lot of useful data from the race, and feedback from Taylor to go through to hopefully make the bike better for Knockhill."

There was a mixed bag of result for the OMG Racing riders, with BSB star Bradley Ray taking a fantastic fifth place, following a battling ride from 13th on the grid, a result that was sandwiched between two DNFs.

Fellow BSB rider Kyle Ryde rider enjoyed a more consistent weekend, claiming a seventh, 10th and 12th across all three races.

Ryde sits 10th in the championship after the opening round, with Ray a little further back in 13th.

Meanwhile, OMG Racing's Billy McConnell was back to his best in the National Superstock championship claiming a third in the only race of the weekend.

Over in the Astro JJR garage, New Zealand's Shane Richardson took 21st, with team-mate David Allingham 23rd, while Caolan Irwin recorded a DNF.

Pete Wright, from Tividale, was also out in force in the British Supersport series having decided to compete more regularly in the premiere class this year, alongside his usual club racing with No Limits series, and came away with two solid finishes.

The BSB series and all the support classes now head to Knockhill, in Scotland, July 9-11.

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