20-year-old Bradley Ray celebrated his first race win in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in the opening race of the season at Donington Park today (Sunday), holding off the last lap challenge from defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and James Ellison.
On the opening lap of the race home hero Leon Haslam had initially grabbed the advantage on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki after Byrne had a disastrous start off the line and dropped down the order dramatically.
Ellison was instantly on the attack and took the lead on the opening lap for the local Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team with Ray holding third place with Jason O’Halloran and Danny Buchan in close contention.
Ray was piling the pressure on Haslam though and he made a move on lap three to move into second place and ready to target Ellison. A lap later and Tommy Bridewell and Kyle Ryde had a premature end to their race when they crashed out, but both were soon up on their feet.
Ray moved to the front of the pack for the first time on the sixth lap with a determined move on Ellison at Redgate with Ellison and Haslam still in close contention, but behind the there was a scrap between Luke Mossey, Dan Linfoot and Danny Buchan with Byrne soon moving into contention.