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Ray and Stacey lead the way as teams and riders return to Oulton Park

A top 10 finish for Storm Stacey and a podium for Bradley Ray were the highlights of another action-packed weekend of British Superbike action at Oulton Park.

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Round nine included the opening races of the Showdown phase for the 2021 title fight and although Cannock-based RICH Energy OMG Racing rider Bradley Ray had just missed out on qualification, he was still eager to go well.

The opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon saw Ray and his team-mate Kyle Ryde fight through to finish ninth and 13th respectively.

And Ray continued to progress during Sunday’s two races, coming home seventh in race two and climbing back on to the podium in race three after finishing third.

Ryde continued to battle but could not compete with the front-runners as he ended the weekend with a DNF and 15th.

The results kept Ray in the 'best of the rest' position, sitting ninth in the standings, with Ryde back in 15th.

Eccelshall racer Stacey, 18, had got off to another flyer at Oulton Park claiming a stunning 10th in the opening race before being black-flagged in the second, after appearing to miss a ride-through penalty for a false start in race two.

But the teenager recovered to claim 14th in the race three, which meant another eight BSB championship points, which leaves him 19th in the standings.

National Superstock contender and OMG Racing rider Billy McConnell was hoping to return to the top of the championship at Oulton Park.

Sitting second over all, he qualified sixth in race one but disaster struck as a coming together with another rider in the early corners of the opening lap pushed him wide before a huge twitch from his BMW M1000RR also lost him time as he headed for the grass on the exit of Cascades, dropping him to 15th.

McConnell set about damage limitation, hauling his way up to fourth position in what was arguably his ride of the season.

Starting Sunday’s race from sixth, another strong start saw McConnell battle with the leading four riders before dropping away as the race unfolded.

A big push in the closing stages saw the Adelaide man beat title-rival Alex Olsen to the line to claim fifth

Team boss Michael Rutter and the rest of the Black Country-based Bathams Racing team were left frustrated as their rider Taylor Mackenzie slipped to sixth in the National Superstock standings.

Rutter and his team had headed to Oulton Park full of confidence after Mackenzie had claimed a stunning win at the same track earlier in the campaign.

But there was to be no repeat performance as Mackenzie claimed an 11th race one, after qualifying in 14th, and then improved to seventh in race two, having started 10th on the grid.

It was not all doom and gloom, however, for Bathams as the team was able to overcome a number of small, but significant technical issues with the new BMW M1000RR, while also making big gains in the electronic set up of the bike, which both led to a significant improvement in lap times for the second race.

The results mean it is still all to play with Tom Neave leading the superstock championship on 217, with Olsen on 197, McConnell on 196, Fraser Rogers on 184, Luke Mossey on 181, and Mackenzie on 163.

Rutter said: "We had a second place at Snetterton, which was great, but things haven't gone well at the last two rounds for us at Silverstone with a couple of top 10 finishes, and Oulton Park wasn't great either.

"It's a reminder of just how quick things can change in racing if you're just a little bit off the pace. We'll keep putting the effort in and roll on to the next round."

And there were also good results for Brownhills-based Astro JJR riders Shane Richardson and David Allingham in the National Superstock races, with the team-mates neck and neck during the whole weekend.

Richardson got the better of his team-mate in the opening race, claiming a 12th to Allingham's 14th, but the roles were reversed in race two as Allingham claimed 13th, one position ahead of Richardson.

OMG Racing team principal Paul Curran, from Cannock, was also in action again this weekend in Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup series, battling his way to 20th and a season-best 17th.

Speaking after the weekend, Curran said: “Brad’s podium finish in race three made it a sweet weekend for the whole team after the difficulties of Friday and Saturday.

"Brad has been the model of consistency all season and that consistency is now reaping rewards.

"Despite the results not showing it, Kyle has worked tirelessly with his crew this weekend to bring himself back into top 10 contention.

"Naturally, he’s disappointed the results aren’t reflecting the efforts both he and the team are putting in, but they’ll come and we all have every faith in that.

"Billy was unfortunate this weekend with the race one incident hampering his progress but his ride to fourth place was exceptional.

"For me, it was great to be back racing at Oulton Park. It’s been a long time since I last raced here and I forgot how physical it can be.

"We had a plan to finish as far inside the top 20 as possible and we achieved that in race two with 17th place and I’m really pleased with that."

It is another quick turnaround for all the riders and teams as the BSB, and all its support series, now head to Donington Park this weekend, October 1-3.

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