BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Oulton Park, Great Britain, 04/05/2016, British Superbike Championship
British fans were once again treated to a feast of top-class motorcycle racing: the races of the week took place on Monday in the British Superbike Championship (BSB). Both races at Oulton Park were real thrillers, with two BMW riders in the main roles – Christian Iddon on the Tyco BMW S 1000 RR and Richard Cooper on the RR of Buildbase BMW Motorrad. Cooper claimed his maiden BSB win, while Iddon climbed into the overall lead.
The ingredients for thrilling race action on a public holiday in Britain read as follows: perilous weather conditions with showers and a track that was wet in places and dry in others, the challenging and undulating layout at the venerable Oulton Park circuit, and riders determined to push their bikes to the limit and beyond. The adrenalin levels in the garages and grandstands shot through the roof during both races.
Iddon appeared very comfortable in these conditions, and is regarded as something of a wet-weather specialist. He believes it is all in a rider’s head and once said: “Rain does not bother me. You just have to accept that it is raining and get on with it. Some people are afraid of it and really don’t like wet conditions. That puts them at a disadvantage before they even start. I tend to think: just get on with it. Those are the conditions, and they are the same for everyone.”
And so it was that the Tyco BMW rider, who had enjoyed his first double podium in the BSB at the opening round in Silverstone, was embroiled in enthralling battles for the win in races one and two, which both went right down to the wire. In race one he came up against Leon Haslam, who is back in the series after many years in the World Superbike Championship. The two raced wheel-to-wheel around the hilly circuit. Iddon waited for his opportunity before moving into the lead, only to see Haslam hit back and return to the head of the field. The race was only decided in the final metres, with Iddon having to settle for second place, just one tenth of a second behind Haslam. However, this was his best result so far in the British Superbike Championship.
In race two, the eyes of everyone in two BMW garages were fixed firmly on the monitors. Iddon once again set pulses racing among his Tyco BMW crew, while Buildbase BMW Motorrad willed their man Richard Cooper on. Cooper took the lead on lap two, before opening a lead of about two and a half seconds on slicks. As in race one, Iddon, who was on intermediate tyres, then set about reeling him in with a determined fightback. The gap between the two BMW riders at the head of the field decreased lap by lap until Iddon had closed to within just 0.127 seconds of Cooper with three laps remaining.
Both riders pushed their RRs to the limit in the closing stages. Iddon slipped past Cooper and into the lead at the start of the final lap. Just a few corners from the end, everyone held their breath as Iddon just managed to prevent a highside, showing great skill to regain control of his lurching bike. Cooper was right on his rear wheel. Once again, the race was decided in the last corner: Iddon went wide and Cooper came through to claim his maiden BSB victory by one tenth of a second.
“I've had three podiums but today the race win was pretty amazing,” said Cooper. “More importantly, for Buildbase BMW, where I feel at home, this is something I have strived for since 2011. I knew there would be a day I could win on that bike and today we seized every opportunity. It was tricky early on in the race, but I pushed on to give myself an early advantage and if anything I was a little bit too cautious when the rain came. I was quite surprised when Christian came by on intermediates, but that is typical of Christian. However, to get the win in the last corner of the last lap is what you dream about, and we have done it today.“
Despite having to settle for second place in both races, Iddon rode brilliantly. He left Oulton Park as the new championship leader after four races, with 72 points to his name and a lead of 14 points.
“I felt like a bit of an idiot out-braking myself a little into that last corner,” Iddon reported. “But what a second race and fair play to Cooper for taking the win. It could well have been two wins today, but in those conditions it could also have ended in disaster, so I’m not disappointed with two more podiums. Second place in both races leaves us top of the championship standings and, even though it’s early days, we will take it. A big thanks to the whole Tyco BMW team, as we couldn’t get much closer to winning races than we have done today.”