Ray looking for consistency in 2021
Ray looking for consistency in 2021

Bradley Ray is excited to get back on track and racing in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

This season he will be racing on-board the brand new BMW 1000M-Sport with his new team of OMG Racing.

Looking back on the 2020 season, Ray reflected on it being a tough time upon the Synetiq BMW despite him being the top BMW most race weekends.

He said: “No not particularly, obviously with all the things going on with Covid and that it just didn’t seem to go well. We did a day or so out in Ireland but the weather wasn’t too great and then we came back and did the official BSB test and straight into the season. There just wasn’t enough bike time for myself and Taylor really, so we were on the back foot through the year a little bit really.

“We were going a little bit in the wrong direction with the bike at the start of the year and lost a bit of time there, so yeah it was a bit testing really. It wasn’t until the end of the year that things started to get our heads around the bike and the tyres really. So it was a bit of a challenging year really.”

Looking back to when Bradley burst onto the scene in 2018, he has had a couple years where he has struggled but it has all been a valuable learning experience for the Lydd based rider. Even though he wanted to be challenging for the podium on the Synetiq BMW in 2020 it didn’t really happen.

He added: “It was definitely a disappointing year, we had a couple of front row starts and a couple of times we challenged for the podium but we were just lacking a little something.”

When you then look back at the season as a whole it wasn’t the best for the riders on the BMW’s which is something that puzzled was many including Ray.

“No exactly it was a difficult year for all of BMW obviously. With leaving 2019 and leaving the Suzuki, everyone was raving about how good the BMW was as a stock bike and I thought right that’s good for me next year. They were going to be bringing new improved parts and the bikes going to be better for 2020 but it seemed everyone on the BMW struggled.

“Even Peter Hickman the man who would normally make a bike work was struggling to get inside the top ten and that wasn’t like him. I think it was just a BMW thing last year and our team and myself couldn’t get our heads round what was actually going on, so it was a bit of a strange year.”

Ray will be staying on a BMW in 2021 this time on-board the all new BMW 1000M-Sport with his new team OMG Racing, and he is looking forward to finding out what the bike and team can do.

He said: “Definitely they got the BMW working last year, it was between and Luke Mossey as the top BMW throughout the last year and they have got a lot of experience with the BMW so obviously moving with them will be good for me.

“It is a nice relaxed environment with a good team, they are in it for the right reasons and especially with the new M-Sport bike coming out now BMW have put a lot of effort into obviously making this new bike. Two years ago they brought out the S1000RR and already they have redeveloped and brought out the new bike, this year they have put the work in especially.

“You can see it in World Championships that the BMW isn’t as good as the rest of the field and I think they are just going to try and turn that round. I am looking forward to getting on the new bike.”

The year on the S1000 will help Ray with the development of the new M1000 when he hits the track for pre-season testing and then the lights going out on the first races of the weekend in June.

He added: “Exactly that, you know what the S1000 felt like and you can overlay it a little bit to the new bike and see how they work in similar areas. It is going to be exciting with the new bike.

“There was a couple of options on the table at the end of last year, but I wanted to stay on a BMW really, I wanted continuity going into this season, I left Suzuki and went onto the BMW and I didn’t want to leave BMW.

“I just wanted to stick on that bike and I felt the OMG team is a real good team to go in with, they have a good budget. They have a good team around them and like I say they are in it for the right reasons, they aren’t in it for the money, they are in it for the results and I feel that it is a happy environment for me to be working in. I am looking forward to joining the guys and getting the season underway.”

Next season the Omg line-up looks to be really strong with the impressive Kyle Ryde joining Ray, and Brad is looking forward to racing and working with someone he has known for a long time.

“It will be like old days, me and Kyle have grown up together and raced against each other since we were at school. It is going to be nice having another youngster in the garage and someone to bounce off of.

“We sort of ride very similar in a way, so we can sort of help each other out with developing the new bike.

“I think we should have a strong go this year, I think that it will be good with the team and the new bike and with the support we are getting from BMW as well, they are being really good so hopefully we can hit the ground running, past all the official BSB tests get to round one and be ready to go.”

As part of his pre-season preparations Brad has been with a few others in Spain keeping himself fit and getting some riding in as well.

He said: “It is nice out in Spain the weather is obviously a little bit better than here which is nice, but out there they just love motorbikes and the racing and training. We did cycling most days and all the motocross tracks are still open out there and all the flat tracks, it is all sort of just open out there.

“They just love bikes, so training is completely different to what it is in the UK, everything is shut over here at the minute, tracks are shut and even when they are open it is always weather permitting. Whereas out there it is a case of just go there, pay your money and ride and go home. You just end up being so much more bike fit and it is nice to just get out the country and ride a bike again, that is the best bit.”

In the coming season Brad would like to be challenging for the podium and make the showdown and remind everyone what he can do.

He added: “That would be nice, I just want to go out there and enjoy myself. I would like to be fighting for podiums and wins, but I think if we can start the season strong and get a couple of top fives and get in the groove of things.

“Obviously now we have got the showdown back and I think they might have extended it with eight or nine people in the showdown now. The main fight will obviously to be consistent and get yourself into the showdown and once we are into we will maybe look to try and step it up and look to have a go. At the end of the day you have just got to be consistent throughout the whole year and grab as many points and podium credits.

“After a little bit of a difficult 2019 and a difficult 2020 I think we need to try and turn it around for this year and get some good results under our belts.”

One thing going in his favour is having the support of a six time BSB in Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in his corner, and he is learning a lot from a legend of the sport.

“He and Matt (Roberts) are still my personal managers and they help me along and help me with deals and Shane helps me a lot in the garage and on track and things like that. Matt is there a well with the advice and contracts and bits like that. They have got my back if you like and help me through with anything that I need doing.

“It is nice that they are on board and obviously Shane is been there done it and got the t-shirt and got all the championships. It is nice having him in your corner and giving you advice and some good tips. He is just a nice genuine bloke which is good.”

Racing Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic