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Elliot and Mackenzie win in dramatic season opener

Josh Elliott and Tarran Mackenzie became race winners for the first time in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship following a dramatic opening round of the 2019 season at Silverstone in front of a huge crowd at the Northamptonshire circuit.

The opening race was a battle of the McAMS Yamahas for victory, but it ended in drama as team-mates Jason O’Halloran and Mackenzie went head-to-head on the final lap, but the pair collided and the Australian contender crashed out of the race.

O’Halloran had launched off the line into the lead of the pack at the start of the race ahead of Mackenzie and Scott Redding, but a crash involving the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki pairing of Glenn Irwin, Ben Currie and rookie David Allingham bought out the BMW Safety Car.

When the race resumed O’Halloran, Mackenzie and Josh Elliott edged away at the front of the pack and the McAMS Yamaha pair were intensely mirroring each other as the O’Show held the advantage.

Josh Elliot. Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Silverstone. 21.4.19

Josh Elliot. Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Silverstone. 21.4.19 (www.mphotographic.co.uk)

On the final lap however Mackenzie went for a lunge on the inside, causing contact with O’Halloran, who subsequently crashed out of the race. Mackenzie took the chequered flag ahead of Elliott, claiming his first Bennetts BSB podium finish and Redding on his debut.

Post-race following an investigation, Race Direction imposed a Long Lap equivalent time penalty of 3 seconds on Mackenzie for contact causing O’Halloran to crash at Turn 6 on Lap 30.

The penalty awarded the victory to Elliott and the first for OMG Racing Suzuki, pushing Mackenzie back into second ahead of Redding with OMG Racing Suzuki celebrating both riders in the top five as Luke Mossey claimed fourth place.

Tommy Bridewell and Andrew Irwin fought all race long with the Oxford Racing Ducati rider having the edge at the line from Luke Stapleford and Claudio Corti for Team WD-40 Kawasaki. Danny Buchan and Xavi Forés completed the top ten.

On the opening lap of race two Mackenzie hit the front of the pack, but he didn’t hold it for long as Dan Linfoot stormed ahead onboard the Santander Salt TAG Yamaha with Elliott in close contention after winning the opening race.

There was more disappointment for O’Halloran who was forced to retire with a technical problem on lap four.

At the front Elliott and Linfoot were scrapping for the lead and the OMG Racing Suzuki rider was able to get back to the front, but behind a collision between Andrew Irwin and Redding caused the Be Wiser Ducati star to crash out on lap six. Andrew Irwin was subsequently handed a Long Lap penalty that dropped him down the order, but he was able to climb back into seventh before the chequered flag.

Jason O'Halloran. Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Silverstone. 21.4.19

Jason O’Halloran. Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Silverstone. 21.4.19 (www.mphotographic.co.uk)

A breakaway of four riders at the front was led by Elliott with Danny Buchan, Linfoot and Mackenzie giving chase. By lap 14 Mackenzie had grabbed the advantage and was holding off Elliott and Buchan, but the pack was closed up when Josh Brookes suffered a technical problem and was forced to retire the second Be Wiser Ducati out of sixth place, causing a BMW Safety Car intervention.

When the race resumed Mackenzie was immediately under pressure but held on to edge out an advantage over Elliott to score his first win ahead of Elliott and Buchan, who returned to the podium for the first time since Knockhill.

Bridewell and the Oxford Racing Ducati team celebrated an incredible fourth place after a challenging start to the weekend, holding off Stapleford who continued to fight his way through the field into fifth place ahead of Mossey.

Andrew Irwin held off his team-mate Xavi Forés for seventh with Linfoot and Bradley Ray completing the top ten.

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