Reigning Bennetts British Superbike Champions OMG Racing have announced Ryan Vickers will replace its WorldSBK-bound title-winner Bradley Ray for the 2023 BSB season.
The Norfolk rider, together with the retained Kyle Ryde, are charged with defending OMG Racing’s crown following Ray’s surprise run to the 2022 BSB title on an independent year-old Yamaha R1.
At 23-years old, though Vickers remains one of the youngest figures on the BSB grid, he is nonetheless also one of the more experienced racers with four seasons under his belt already.
Making his debut with Lee Hardy Racing in 2019 following a substantial leap to BSB straight from the Superstock 600 Championship he won in 2018 aged 19, Vickers spent three seasons on Kawasaki machinery - achieving seven top six results - before joining FHO Racing BMW in 2022, scoring a best result of eighth place en route to 17th in the standings.
The move to OMG Racing, however, represents Vickers’ strongest opportunity yet aboard the Yamaha R1 vacated by Ray, who is expected to be announced imminently as graduating to the WorldSBK Championship next season with privateer Italian team Motoxracing Yamaha.
“I’m so pleased to be given the opportunity to ride what I and many others perceive to be the best bike on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship grid, with a team have that have impressed a huge number of people by winning the championship,” Vickers said.
“My love of Yamaha stems from my Superstock 600 British Championship win onboard an R6, so I’m looking forward to gelling with the R1, and being able to deliver OMG Racing the level of success they’ve become used to.
“I can’t thank Alan [Gardner, Team Owner] and Paul [Curran, Team Principal] enough for their belief in my abilities, and I’ll be working harder than ever to give them the results the team deserve.
“I appreciate that to step into the boots of the Championship winner is a big ask, and Brad has set the bar high, but I relish the challenge and I’m excited for what I’m hoping will be my best season yet.”
Having set a high standard in 2022 with 11 victories (nine for Ray, two for Ryde) en route to a maiden title via its first ever appearance in the BSB TItle Showdown too, OMG Racing team owner Alan Gardner is confident its grand opportunity for Vickers will bring the best out in him.
“Ryan is a rider that OMG Racing have had their eye on for quite a while, and has really impressed with both his performance on-track, and his attitude off it. He’s a well known & liked character within the paddock, and has proven himself to be a rider that will go above & beyond to constantly improve & better his lap times and ability, and that fits perfectly with us and our goals moving forward.
“We plan on pulling no punches in our pursuit of our second championship victory in 2023, and with both Ryan & Kyle on board our Yamaha R1s, are feeling strong as we move into our sixth BSB season.”
It’s a sentiment shared with OMG Racing Team Principal Paul Curran, adding that he has admired him since his dominant exploits in the junior categories prior to BSB.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Ryan, and he’s a rider that I’ve admired for quite a while. His success on the R6 in the British Superstock 600 Championship back in 2018 demonstrates his comfort on Yamahas, and from experience we know this normally translates well to the R1 – you only have to look at Brad [Ray]’s results & progression to see that.
“His drive and positivity will see him slot perfectly into the team, and I’m confident he’ll be at the sharp end of the grid from the off.
“We head out to Cartagena in a few short weeks, and we’re all looking forward to giving both Ryan & Kyle the opportunity to get some track time under their belts. I have no doubt that Ryan will get his head around the bike very quickly, and we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do.”