Josh Elliott, aboard his OMG Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000R, took the team’s maiden win over the weekend in round seven of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 series at Thruxton.
Coming into the weekend, Elliott had never won a race at the circuit, but that was all about to change; Fermanagh’s finest took to the track in practice one, going second fastest behind Buildbase Suzuki’s Billy McConnell. In practice two, an improvement of one tenth over his previous best saw him fourth in the standings. Pushing hard in qualifying right to the end of the session, Elliott took second on the grid behind Taylor Mackenzie with a 1:17.178.
Come race day, Elliot was quick from the off. The Ulsterman battled hard at the front of the pack to secure victory after the race lead changed numerous times between no less than four riders. At the line, the top four were separated by only half a second, with Elliott finishing two tenths ahead of a chasing Mackenzie. McConnell and Lee Jackson completed the top four. Elliot also took the fastest lap of the race with a 1:16.642 - half a second quicker than his best qualifying time.
Elliot, said, "It has been an amazing weekend from start to finish. From the first session I was fast and comfortable on the OMG Suzuki and I knew we had a great chance to challenge for the win. The race was really close and I certainly didn't get it easy, but my bike was very strong on fast sections of the track and I was confident I could go for the win!
It's an incredible feeling and I can’t thank everyone at OMG Racing enough. The belief and support they have given me is what I've been missing and it's so nice to repay them with a win."
In the British Superbike class, Gino Rea was steadily improving throughout the weekend which shone through in race two as he set quick lap times capable enough to place him in the top ten. Having never experienced the Thruxton circuit before, Rea had a great deal to learn. Focusing on maximising the practice time available to him ahead of the race, he qualified in a respectable 16th position for race one.
An unfortunate technical issue after seven strong laps brought race one to a close, with efforts being made to repair the bike for race two. The second race of the day saw Rea shave 1.4 seconds off his best time from race one - a time that would have put him sixth on the grid had there been a third race.
Rea, said, "Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Josh and the whole OMG Racing team for recording their first race win in the National Superstock 1000 class; it was a brilliant race and I’m over the moon for everyone involved!
"On my side the emotions are more mixed; I learnt the circuit quite quickly and got inside the top 14. Qualifying didn’t go to plan with a small technical issue holding us back.”
"Unfortunately, we had an issue in race one and I was not able to finish so I started 25th for race two. I had a great start and was just behind the group of riders from 11th - 15th for the first half, but as the tyre dropped off I just couldn’t keep up the pace. Regardless, I’d like to thank the OMG Racing team for their continued efforts - I’m confident that it will all be worth it when we achieve the results we want!"
Team manager, Paul Curran, said, “Thruxton was always going to be a tough one for Gino as he'd had zero track time at the fastest track on the calendar. I was very impressed with what he managed to achieve during the three practice sessions - only .65 away from the front row.
"Unfortunately in qualifying and in race one we had two separate parts fail on the bike which hampered Gino’s progress further. The bike was all sorted for race two and Gino moved forward and improved in areas throughout the race. It was a top effort from Gino - for his first ever visit to Thruxton we couldn’t have asked for much more.
"Josh had a very successful weekend and from FP1 he was on the pace. We refined the setup of the bike throughout the weekend working on a race pace setup. During the race I was very impressed with Josh’s race craft; he was very strong in some areas of the track and he maximised on that. He has given OMG their first of, hopefully, many wins.
"Well done to Josh & Gino for a top effort and a big thank you to the team. It wasn’t easy but our riders and the whole team did a top job as ever."