Express & Star

McConnell and Ray narrowly miss out on titles and trophies as BSB draws to a close

Billy McConnell stormed to victory in the final National Superstock encounter of the campaign – but still fell agonisingly five points short of the championship after 17 races.


The superstock series has thrown up some of the year's most thrilling battles – and the final round at Brands Hatch, in Kent, was no different as the entire British Superbike series was brought to a close.

Cannock-based RICH Energy OMG Racing rider McConnell still had a chance of lifting the 2021 championship and did his cause no harm by qualifying fourth for the sole superstock race of the weekend.

With title leader Tom Neave back in 19th place on the grid, the Australian got a flying start to settle in to third place in the opening laps before dispensing with a rejuvenated Jordan Weaving to chase down early leader, Black Country-based Bathams Racing rider Taylor Mackenzie.

Reeling the Scotsman in, McConnell went on to win the race but behind him Neave was making slow progress and eventually got into his rhythm, finishing in 14th place, which was enough to take the title.

Mackenzie, who retired from racing after the final round, had also continued his superb form from Donington – where he had stormed from the back of the grid to take a victory – bagging pole position for Sunday's superstock race.

And after getting a good start once the flag had dropped, he pushed hard to try and break away from the pack, lapping just outside lap record pace.

Despite his strong pace, he was eventually caught by four other riders and became involved in a race-long fight for victory, finishing in fifth but just a second behind race-winner McConnell.

Team boss Michael Rutter, from Brierley Hill, said he was proud to see Mackenzie finish his career competitively at the front, battling for the win and enjoying himself while in the black, gold and red colours of Bathams Racing for the last time.

The result meant Mackenzie ended the National Superstock championship campaign sixth in the standings.

Rutter said: "This season has been tough for everyone with the various challenges that we faced with the bike, and the compact schedule of races.

"Typically, as with any race season, we've had plenty of highs and lows, but I'm chuffed for everyone who is part of the team, and all the teams sponsors that we ended the season on a high, and with smiles on all our faces."

Brownhills-based Astro JJR rider Shane Richardson and David Allingham also ended their National Superstock campaigns on a high, finishing seventh and 11th respectively, to end the season 17th and 22nd in the standings.

Richardson said: "I was happy to grab another top 10 and get down to some decent lap times in the final race of the season.

"Thank you to everyone for making this year possible, I’m very grateful for your support to allow me to be out there progressing."

OMG Racing BSB riders Kyle Ryde and Bradley Ray, who had his eyes on the Rider's Cup – which is handed to the top rider outside of the eight who qualified for the Showdown places – endured a difficult weekend qualifying 16th and 17th respectively ahead of the opening race of the weekend.

Ray had to finish ahead of Lee Jackson but ended race one in 10th, with team-mate Ryde in 13th.

Ray also finished 12th in race two and eighth in race three – with Ryde bagging at 10th and 11th – to end the campaign 10th, just three points Jackson who claimed the Rider's Cup. Ryde ended the season 15th in the standings.

OMG Racing has now switched its attention to focus on the team's change from BMW to Yamaha R1 machinery for the 2022 season.

Team principal Paul Curran, from Cannock, said: "It's been another tough series of races for Brad and Kyle but Billy's win made it all the better.

"Brad and Kyle have struggled a little this weekend, but they didn't stop working to improve and they gave their best, as they have in every session.

"I'd like to thank all three riders for their efforts this season. Billy has been due a win for a while now and it was great to see him finally achieve it at the very last race of the season, and well-deserved it was, too.

"I want to thank the whole team for their hard work and dedication this season; it makes me proud to see the effort and determination from management, the crews, hospitality, and media that makes this team what it is.

"We're already looking to 2022 and the exciting move to Yamaha. We can't wait to get started."

The future also looks very bright for Eccelshall star Storm Stacey, 18, who ended his positive BSB campaign with yet more championship points claiming at 16th, 14th and 13th to finish 19th in the standings.

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