OMG Racing UK enjoyed a steep learning curve at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Fawkham, Kent. It proved to be a testing weekend, but delivered some positives and as the weekend wore on, both BSB star Gino Rea and National Superstock 1000 rookie Ben Luxton made great improvements in the setting of their bikes, giving the OMG team much promise as the Oulton Park test day looms large.
A frenetic Brands Hatch Indy circuit saw Gino Rea take to the venue for the first time in race weekend conditions. Originally from Tooting, this is as close to home as he will get all year. Rea, whilst down the leaderboard in terms of time, was just fractionally off the pace of the top guys – highlighting just how hard and competitive the British Superbike championship is this year. The Londoner placed 19th and 17th, but a breakthrough on Sunday gives Gino and the team the confidence that they will soon be placed in the top spots.
“It was a tricky weekend! The first session on Friday was wet and my limited experience at Brands Hatch Indy put us on the backfoot a little,” started the ex-GP star.
“During the weekend the whole OMG team worked hard to find the right direction and after the first race struggles we made a bold decision to revert to something we had at Cartagena, when I was feeling great with the bike. In the second race, I immediately lapped 0.4 seconds quicker and was behind Ellison before the red flag came out due to rain. It’s important that we made this step forward, especially for my confidence; we cut the gap in laptime to the leaders pretty much by half from race one to race two so we are taking the positives!
“In the wet restart of race two, I got a great start and was OK at the start of the race, battling in the pack, but as it rained more, I just had zero grip, mainly on corner entry. The rear of the bike was coming around on me every time I leaned the bike in, so I had to just bring it home. I’m confident we’ll regroup and find the right way forward for round three at Oulton Park. Thank you to everyone in OMG Racing for their hard work and continued efforts!’
Ben Luxton made his debut at Brands Hatch Indy on a National Superstock 1000 machine and whilst not being in the points, he learnt valuable lessons in riding style and will use this to his advantage going forward to Oulton Park – his local circuit. Two 26th place finishes and bringing the bike home safely were the positives to take from the weekend.
“It has been a hard weekend. I have come here having not ridden a 1000cc bike at the track before and this showed during qualifying. Once you have a bad qualifying at Brands Indy, it is hard to make those places back up,” began Luxton, still adapting to the 1000cc bike.
“We tried an SC1 tyre in the last race and it felt loads better. We have a test on the 26th of April at Oulton Park and we will try the same compound tyre there, with it hopefully working for us. The aim is still the top 10 and with Oulton being a local track for me, hopefully we will be a lot nearer to that target at round three. I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all of my sponsors who continue to support me.”
OMG Racing are remaining philosophical after the weekend, even though there were no points scored. The team look ahead to apply the positives that they have gathered from their 2nd ever BSB round.
“We have another weekend under our belts, more data digesting over the coming weeks and another chapter of knowledge written into the OMG library! Incredible positivity and tenacity shown from the whole team has yet again shone through the darkening clouds and we have managed to get some breakthroughs in set up ahead of Oulton Park. We are loving being part of the OMG family and to support a team of people whose foundations are based on looking after each other, success is on the cards,” said the new outfit, adapting to their new life in the British Superbike circus.
Ex-racer and crew chief Ray Stringer believes that only luck is keeping both riders away from the top 10, as everything else is already falling into place – a remarkable achievement for such a new team.
“All I would like to add is that we really are on the verge of the top ten and higher results. Gino is so consistent in his riding and attitude. We just need a bit of luck as all of the other ingredients are present!”
Team manager Paul Curran was also upbeat after the race, as he felt that he and the rest of his team found something that will elevate their riders into the points. Considering the track was new to the team and the riders, Curran praised how everyone has pulled together and are working well with each other.
“It has been an educational weekend for us all. We made a step forward with Ben, with a few changes helping him get away from the 600cc style of riding. Oulton is his local track and hopefully, we can have a better weekend there.
“With Gino, it was always going to be hard work. We know how close the lap times are around Brands Hatch Indy and Gino has not been a million miles away. However, you don’t have to be a million miles away to make it look like you are off the pace around there.
“In our debut season, the team are forming incredibly well and we have learnt a lot more about the bike this weekend, which will stand us in good stead for the Oulton Park test coming up.”
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