Lydd’s Bradley Ray has won the opening two races of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park, making it the first two race wins of his British Superbike career. The Buildbase Suzuki rider had his work cut out in race one, having come under attack from the experienced Shane Byrne and James Ellison in the closing stages, whilst in race two, he led every lap and wasn’t once challenged for the lead.
20-year-old Kent sensation Bradley Ray qualified 7th in tricky conditions during Easter Sunday’s qualifying session. The 2017 podium finisher was third by turn one when racing commenced and by lap 6, he had taken the lead ahead of James Ellison and 2017 Donington Park double winner, Leon Haslam. Ray stretched away but in the closing laps, Ellison and Ducati rider, Shane Byrne, caught him. Kent’s finest held on, taking a dramatically close win to kick start is 2018 campaign.
On to race two and with Ray setting the fastest lap in race one, he was sitting pretty on pole position. From lights out, the ex-British Supersport race winner looked uncatchable and quickly built an unassailable lead, over Dan Linfoot and Leon Haslam. As Leon moved into 2nd he initially began to close Ray down but the ‘Kid from Lydd’ responded, putting more and more time into the 2017 BSB bronze medalist. Hanging on to win, Bradley Ray completed the opening round of the championship in fine style, celebrating his first ever British Superbike career double in front of a loud and applauding crowd.
With two wins from two races, Ray leads the title by 19 points from Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. 50 points secured also means that Bradley now has 10 podium points, which could be vital should he make the all-important ‘Showdown’. With 24 races left to go in the 2018 season, Bradley Ray has set a solid benchmark and the next circuit is Brands Hatch with the Indy layout, the track at which he got his first top-10 last season.
Ray said: “I don’t even know what is going on! It is one of those weekends that you dream of! To do it at round one in far-from-perfect conditions is just such an unbelievable feeling,” said the Buildbase Suzuki rider.
“It is a long season but now we have proven that this is what we can do throughout the year. From now on, we have to try and be consistent and stay in the Showdown positions. One of the biggest confidence boosts to the team was that whenever we went out in whatever weather conditions, we are right near the front.
“I used to watch Leon Haslam and Shane Byrne on TV and to be out beating them is just absolutely phenomenal! I hope we can carry on as we have this weekend; the package is there and I am feeling good too. Brands Hatch is one of our local tracks and one I really like so the next round may be good to us too. We have to stay grounded and keep working away, and if we do that, then we will be doing brilliant.”
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