Ray leads the way at Oulton Park
Ray leads the way at Oulton Park

The Bennetts British Superbike Championship contenders head to Oulton Park for round three of the 2018 season and it is 20-year-old Bradley Ray from Kent who leads fierce rivals Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Leon Haslam ahead of the Bank Holiday Monday races.

The Cheshire circuit has traditionally provided some of the closest finishes in championship history and was the scene of Ray’s first ever podium in the Superbike class last year; something the Buildbase Suzuki star will be keen to build on this weekend.

After just four races there have already been four different winners, with Byrne and Haslam sharing the victories last time out at Brands Hatch, closing down Donington Park double race winner Ray.

Defending champion Byrne arrives at the third round confident following last week’s official test and knows that the Be Wiser Ducati was a race-winning machine at the corresponding round in 2017. He has a ten-point deficit to young gun Ray and will be determined to repeat his Brands Hatch winning performance last time out.

Glenn Irwin was the rider to beat at last week’s official test onboard the second of the Be Wiser Ducatis; he lapped under the circuit record to top the times and added his name to the five riders who have additionally scored podium finishes in the opening two rounds at Brands Hatch.

Irwin holds fourth place in the overall standings, just narrowly ahead of Michael Laverty who was another rider to celebrate a podium finish at Brands Hatch for Tyco BMW. He has a three-point advantage over his teammate Christian Iddon who hails from nearby Stockport and is keen to impress at his home round and make a return to the podium.

Jason O’Halloran scored his first podium finish of the season at the previous round; firing the Honda Racing Fireblade into third in the opening race at Brands Hatch and he celebrated a podium finish at the Bank Holiday event at Oulton Park last season.

As Dan Linfoot continues his recovery after his Brands Hatch crash, Honda Racing have triple champion Ryuichi Kiyonari making a return for the Oulton Park round; the Japanese ace remains the most successful rider at the Oulton Park circuit with 12 race wins to his credit.

Luke Mossey and Danny Buchan have been edging closer to a top three finish whilst last year’s title runner-up Josh Brookes fired himself back up the order at the recent test as he bids for Bank Holiday success with the McAMS Yamaha.

James Ellison returns with Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha and ready to fight to repeat his Donington Park podium finish whilst Jake Dixon, Tommy Bridewell and Peter Hickman are next in the standings who will be ready to climb the order after the next two races of 2018.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:

Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 79
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 69
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 65
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 48
Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) 36
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 33

Pictures supplied by PSP Images.