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Blimey, what a weekend of action at Round 5 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park over the weekend. The closest racing coupled with some surprising results due to the British summer being its usual inconsistent self, meant the massed ranks of fans around the circuit were treated to a spectacular couple of days of motorcycle racing. It’s often said to expect the unexpected at BSB and this weekend was no different.

Tarran Mackenzie was the big winner across the weekend as the McAMS Yamaha man closed the gap on title rival and team-mate, Jason O’Halloran as well as picking up his second Milwaukee Tools trophy after being crowned King of Brands just three weeks ago. The newly crowned King of Donington scored the most points overall across the three races and has given himself the chance of winning £25,000 with trips to the top step at Cadwell Park. And in a wonderful twist of fate for the racing, the watching fans but not necessarily for the team’s blood pressure, the same can be said for Jason O’Halloran! That is going to be an exceptional battle around the tight confines of the jewel in Lincolnshire’s crown, although who will come out on top is a discussion all of its own as traditionally the Scottish Englishman excels at the wider, flowing circuits as does the Aussie but the ‘O’Show’ retains the upper hand at undulating circuits (in leafy Cheshire©) like Oulton Park.

Race one went to plan for the Wollongong Wizard as O’Halloran took his eighth win of the season as Honda Racing’s Glenn Irwin threw off the shackles of a difficult season took a deserved second place just a gnat’s sausage ahead of a lurking-with-intent Tarran Mackenzie. It was a tough race two for Glenn who crashed at McLeans, dislocating his shoulder in the process. Other brother, Andy Irwin, was finally in the top ten for the first time this season at a circuit he has fond (and one maybe not so fond) memories of. The SYNETIQ BMW man was to play a starring role in proceedings again at Donington Park but more on that later…

Sheffield’s Joe Sheldon-Shaw made his BSB debut standing in for the injured Josh Owens and acquitted himself well across the weekend. The young National Superstock rider was pretty much thrown in at the deep end in the best possible way by the CDH Racing team after presenting the former Aprilia Superteen man with his golden ticket. Sheldon-Shaw didn’t look out of place in the class despite not finishing the three races, and not all were crashes which is testament to Joe and the tight-knit team around him who keep him focused and prepared. It was really good to see CDH Racing stick to their ethos of youth and with another outing at Cadwell for JS-S while Owens continues his healing, they’re really playing their part in bringing forward the BSB stars of tomorrow.

Races two and three of British Superbikes on Sunday were incredible. That’s one of the shorter sentences you’ll find here but, wow, what an incredible series of events and misfortune! Unfortunate injuries, almost as many DNFs as there were finishers, some of the best racing we’ve seen so far this season and a raft of personal best finishes after rolling the dice on tyres in mixed, cold conditions were just some of the stories behind Sunday’s action. Best wishes to Danny Kent as he recovers from a dislocated hip (ouch!) and Danny Buchan who misses Cadwell Park due to being knocked momentarily unconscious after a big off into the Old Hairpin; BSB enforce a seven-day rule for anyone who is knocked unconscious or suffered concussion so with back-to-back rounds it’s a weekend off for the Essex man.

Gambling on intermediate front and rear tyres was the way to go for Oxford Racing MotoRapido Ducati man, Tommy Bridewell. Repeating his success of twelve months ago the Wiltshire man finally topped the podium for the first time in 2021 as the field were split in what boots to wear as the track began to dry after a sharp shower late in the day. It was a real cross-section of choices from full wet set-up (definitely not) to throwing in a rear slick (still not ideal) but it was those on the intermediates who prevailed. With a recovering Glenn Irwin taking a deserved podium alongside brother, Andrew, it was a quite different podium to the one the fans have been used to. A season-best finish for Josh Brookes in fourth place masked the issues still plaguing the Aussie, and career-best finishes for Storm Stacey, Joe Francis and Dean Harrison will have done their confidence no harm at all.

Onwards now to Cadwell Park, a return to Lincolnshire for the first time in two years. And we can’t wait!

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