Bradley Ray toasts ‘unbelievable’ 2022 BSB title success

Bradley Ray savours his 'unbelievable' 2022 BSB title success with OMG Racing in a season that saw his star potential shine once again

Bradley Ray - OMG Racing Yamaha

Bradley Ray admits he would have ‘bitten your hand off’ before the 2022 British Superbike Championship (BSB) had he been told before the season he would conclude as champion for the first time.

The 25-year old held his nerve at the Brands Hatch GP season finale to collect the points he needed to secure a maiden title win for both himself and the RICH Energy OMG Racing team.

Considered a rank outsider for a championship challenge ahead of the year, Ray was nonetheless very much odds-on favourite coming to his home venue having opened up a 66 point advantage at the head of the standings.

Needing a mere seventh place result from any one of the weekend’s three races, a cautious run to sixth in Race 1 was all he needed to collect the prize.

Praising the efforts of his OMG Racing team as it out-performed the Yamaha factory nominated McAMS team using the bikes that took Tarran Mackenzie to the title 12 months earlier, Ray admits he wouldn’t have anticipated the success to come before the season.

“Its been unbelievable. If you’d said the results we would’ve got this season at the start of the year. And said, ‘you’re going to be British champion’, I would have bitten your hand off and took it. The whole team has grafted all year. It hasn’t been easy from the start, but we put a lot of work in.

“Pre-season was good and I knew that this would be my best chance to fight for the championship with Yamaha, with Rich Energy OMG. We just got our head down the whole season, took everything in our stride, maximised everything race by race and that allowed us to come to Brands Hatch and have a difficult round like we have.

“Obviously it would have been nicer to be fighting for victory and fighting for podiums [this weekend] but we’ve done enough work throughout the season to prove that we’re worthy champions. 

“Just a big shout out to the team, family, friends and everyone who came out to Brands to support me this weekend.”

BSB potential finally fulfilled for Bradley Ray

While few would have tipped Bradley Ray as the 2022 BSB Champion before the season, fewer still would begrudge him his title win come the end of it.

Indeed, for a time Ray was considered a future title winner when he burst onto the BSB scene as a teenager in 2017, more so when he opened up his 2018 campaign with two victories out of the box at the season opener.

A run to the Title Showdown that year represented a fulfilled objective but thereafter Ray endured a steady decline in headline results as he grappled with confidence issues.

However, his dimming star potential was only made noticeable by it having shone so brightly in the first place. What it took for Ray to ignite his potential was not only a switch to Yamaha machinery, but a switch to Yamaha bike that was known to already be a quick and proven package.

And yet, while this built-in trust from the bike beneath may have given Ray the kickstart of hitting the ground running from the off, strong results from Round 1 appeared to give him the belief and confidence he needed to keep the momentum going.

However, if they were the set pieces that took him towards a championship challenge, it was Ray alone that raised the level when it mattered, not only during the Showdown but perhaps more critically, the Cadwell and Snetterton events prior to that.

Most might have predicted Ray as the rider most likely to feel the weight of pressure towards the business end of the year.

But while this is quite possibly true, by the time the Title Showdown had come around he was carrying it on far stronger shoulders than his rivals.