Josh Brookes conquered the opposition at Brands Hatch to score his first Bennetts British Superbike Championship win of 2018 and then make it a double to celebrate the Yamaha R1 20th Anniversary in style with the McAMS Yamaha team and bolster his title aspirations.
Brookes had been charging throughout the weekend and in the opening race he launched off the line to hit the front of the pack ahead of Glenn Irwin and Tarran Mackenzie.
Instantly Brookes and Irwin were dicing for the leading position but by the start of the second lap the Be Wiser Ducati rider had the edge.
Christian Iddon was moving through the order and soon the freight train of riders at the front had turned into Brookes, Irwin, Iddon, Leon Haslam and Mackenzie. Iddon had moved into second with a move at Druids on lap four.
Irwin was instantly on the attack and reclaimed the position from his Tyco BMW rival. Dan Linfoot’s tough weekend continued as the Honda Racing rider crashed out at Westfield on the sixth lap and he was forced to sit out race two with a suspected fractured scaphoid.
At the front the lead group of five started to edge ahead of the chasing pack with Brookes holding off Glenn Irwin, Iddon, Mackenzie and Haslam.
The second McAMS Yamaha was on a charge as Mackenzie moved up the order and into third, but it was a disaster for the Superbike rookie as he crashed out on the penultimate lap from a potential first Bennetts BSB podium finish.
Irwin was pushing to attack for the lead on the final lap but it wasn’t enough and Brookes had a 0.227s edge at the finish line with Haslam promoted to third after Mackenzie’s crash.
Dixon had carved his way back up the order to snatch fourth place from Iddon on the final lap with Peter Hickman able to hold off the challenge from Richard Cooper in seventh place.
Knockhill double podium finisher Danny Buchan was eighth ahead of Andrew Irwin and Michael Laverty who completed the top ten.
BSB Superbike 2018, Brands Hatch, Race One Results
In race two Brookes again fired off the line into the lead ahead of Glenn Irwin and Cooper who had a storming start to move into third in front of Haslam, Buchan and Dixon. But then there was disaster for Cooper though as he crashed out unhurt at Paddock Hill Bend.
Dixon though had moved into fifth place, making a decisive move down the inside at Druids to grab the position. At the front the leading trio began to break the chasing pack with Brookes, Glenn Irwin and Haslam holding a small advantage over Dixon, Iddon who had moved up the order, and Mackenzie.
Irwin was trying to make a last lap attack, but Brookes had the advantage and held him off to the line by just 0.090s to bag another five Podium Points for his championship challenge with Haslam holding on to the final podium position for JG Speedfit Kawasaki.
Dixon had been under threat from Mackenzie but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider managed to hold him off in the closing stages of the race with Iddon scoring sixth place for the Tyco BMW team.
Tommy Bridewell had an impressive performance to finish seventh and give the Moto Rapido Ducati team their best result of the season on his debut weekend, passing Buchan on the final lap. James Ellison and Hickman completed the top ten.
BSB Superbike 2018, Brands Hatch, Race Two Results
“It’s a fantastic timing to get the double for Yamaha on the 20th Anniversary of the R1. It’s a perfect gift for them and it was their birthday a couple of weeks ago so I’m sure this will go down well! Those opening laps were quite fun for me in race one.
“This year has been quite frustrating on the track for me not able to reach my potential and the opening lap but today I felt good and we were making passes so I thought ‘why not, we’ll show our hand and see what we can do. As you’re leading the way it feels like you’ve got to find where the limit is. I tried to keep the lead and I felt comfortable for most of the race. Then I made a mistake in turn one and lost the front a little bit as I turned in, then I went wide onto the dusty surface and started to lose the front again and I put my head down and then got better focus and the end of the race was a lot stronger for me.
“I listened to what Glenn said in the post-race interview in race one and I looked where I needed to improve for the second one. Obviously leading most of race one I didn’t see anyone else’s speed or strategy or the way their bike works. I knew there were areas that I needed to improve if I was going to keep him behind in race two so I set about trying to not make no mistake and push hard. There was a point where I was starting to edge a gap and then towards the end of the race I started to lose rear grip; it’s natural pushing that sort of pace. We were pushing fast lap times all the way through the race. When you are doing that something’s got to be getting worn, either you or the tyre or both, so last two even maybe three laps I was like ‘oh I’m in trouble here. I didn’t have the drive I needed to continue that pace. But fortunately having that tiny gap that I had was enough to keep it right. I came into the last turn and I could hear the thump of the Ducati right behind me but I wasn’t ready to give it up after leading the whole way!”
Glenn Irwin – P2 – P2
“The first race was a bit of a game between Josh and me with both of us sitting back and not showing our true pace. I then got my head down and got into a nice rhythm and I came close to getting by Josh on the final lap, but I wasn’t quite close enough, so second place was a good result to start the day. The second race was a fair bit faster and it was important for me to have a bigger gap to the riders behind me. I had a bit of an issue early on when I hit a false neutral and Josh was stronger than me in some areas whilst I was stronger than him in others. I really tried hard as seen in the lap times and whilst you always want to win, I’m pleased to get my first double BSB podium today. Full credit to Josh and to my team so roll on the next round.”
Jake Dixon – P4 – P4
“We worked really hard during practice to get a good bike for the races and although it was hard work to get a front row position during qualifying, I managed it and with good race pace, I felt in a good place going into race day. However, the warmer temperatures didn’t help us at all and the front tyre kept overheating which meant I lost time to the three riders in front of me at various stages of the race. I’d close up to them only to drop back a few laps later. On the positive side of things, we’re in a lot better position compared to where we were 12 months ago here and I only lost two points to Leon (Haslam) in terms of podium credits. The next round at Thruxton is a circuit that should suit us and having gone well there last year, I’m confident we can do the same again this time around.”
Jason O’Halloran – P14 – P15
“I do have positives to take away from this weekend, we’ve come away with two race finishes and some points when at the moment for me to complete a full race distance is a struggle with the injury. If you think back to Knockhill two weeks ago, I didn’t complete two races and very nearly didn’t complete one! This weekend we have progressed and in the second half of race two I was stronger than the second half of the first race, so I made another step forward. There’s no hiding at the moment it’s a struggle for me, I just can’t do what I want to do on the CBR, but that’s just a time and patience thing and it’ll come soon enough. It’s frustrating as we all know we’re capable of more and we can be up there, which we proved at the start of the season with podiums in the first three rounds. We train all pre-season to be our best and I am now riding injured against guys that are at their best, so it is a struggle! We will get stronger each round and we will be back there soon!”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings
Leon Haslam Kawasaki 242
Jake Dixon Kawasaki 162
Glenn Irwin Ducati 145
Josh Brookes Yamaha 130
Bradley Ray Suzuki 115
Danny Buchan Kawasaki 111
Shane Byrne Ducati 98
Christian Iddon BMW 88
Michael Laverty BMW 78
Peter Hickman BMW 68
Jason O’Halloran Honda 66
BSB STK 1000
Billy McConnell raced his GSX-R1000 to victory in the second National Superstock 1000 race at Brands Hatch this weekend, bouncing back from the disappointment of crashing out of Saturday’s race.
Bryan Staring finished his guest ride with on the GR Motorsport Kawasaki on a high-note with a top ten finish, less than ten-seconds behind winner McConnell after the 12-lap distance.
It was disaster for Championship leader Joe Collier, who crashed out of the first running of the race, which was red flagged.
Brayden Elliott finishd 20th on his self-run Suzuki privateer effort.
Billy McConnell – Winner Race Three
“The crash in race one was a weird one. Honestly it felt a little like I hit something because I tucked the front in a place I’d not had any problems or movement before, even when on a really fast lap, so it was a weird one. I felt I had the pace that race and today’s, but after crashing at Knockhill I rode a little more conservative. Today I tried to make a break before the final lap as I knew it was going to be a last lap battle as the group was strong. It didn’t turn out to be a huge break but it gave us enough. I’m looking forward to Suzuka now. I’ve always wanted to do it so it’s a great opportunity with a great team, and I’ll definitely be bike fit when we get to Thruxton.”
BSB Superstock 1000 Brands Hatch Race Three
Billy McConnell – Suzuki
Keith Farmer – BMW +0.075
Alex Olsen – BMW +0.371
Josh Elliott – Suzuki +0.532
Lee Jackson – Kawasaki +3.172
Leon Jeacock – Suzuki +5.393
Tom Ward – Suzuki +7.101
Sam Coventry – BMW +8.927
George Stanley – Suzuki +9.241
Bryan Staring – Kawasaki +9.849
BSB Superstock 1000 Championship Points
Keith Farmer 175
Joe Collier 162
Billy McConnell 158
Lee Jackson 88
Alex Olsen 84.5
Kyle Ryde claimed a dramatic victory in the Dickies British Supersport Championship Feature Race on his GP2 machine ahead of Josh Owens whilst David Allingham took the Supersport category win. In a somewhat strange configuration British Supersport allows prototype Moto2 spec’ machines race with the Supersport competitors which throws up these anomalies.
As he did on Saturday, Gearlink Kawasaki’s Ben Currie grabbed the holeshot and was able to steadily pull away over the course of the race however disaster struck on the final lap with a problem seeing him slow dramatically, eventually claiming sixth overall. The Victorian unable to repeat his Saturday victory and make it a double.
With Currie slowing, GP2 contenders Kyle Ryde and Josh Owens moved through to take the chequered flag in a first for the Dickies British Supersport Championship.
David Allingham took third overall but was the leading Supersport rider, ahead of Sam Wilford and James Westmoreland.
With Championship leader Jack Kennedy missing the Brands Hatch races, Currie has now closed up to within 16 points of the series lead.
Rob Guiver dominated the Ducati Tri-Options Cup races at Brands Hatch but South Australia’s Levi Day also climbed on to the podium after taking third in the opening race which he backed up with a fourth in the second bout. Levi is currently eighth in the championship standings.
Jake Archer won both Motostar races while young Aussie privateer Sharni Pinfold carded creditable 18th and 17th place finishes. Pinfold is currently 16th in the championship on a tally of 21-points.
The seventh round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Thruxton on August 3./4/5.
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