Josh Brookes retained his King of Brands crown by claiming a stunning double victory at Brands Hatch at the fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, ensuring he’s in with a fighting chance of securing the Integro Triple Crown after winning the opening two of the six-race contest.
Brookes delivered a masterful performance in the first race of the weekend to stake his claim on the Integro Triple Crown. The race was declared wet, but with the potential of a drying track pole-sitter Scott Redding opted for an intermediate rear tyre and on lap one he dropped straight through the pack. Despite changing conditions during the race, the Donington Park triple race winner had to nurse his Be Wiser Ducati home in 22nd place.
Brookes was sitting eighth on the opening lap after a steady start off the line, but at the front Dan Linfoot was leading Tommy Bridewell before the pair changed positions on the second lap as the Oxford Racing Ducati rider emerged ahead.
Bridewell and Linfoot were inseparable as they continued to edge an advantage but then Linfoot was ready to try and make a break, passing his Ducati rival into Paddock Hill Bend on lap 15 to reclaim the lead as Brookes continued to carve his way up the order.
Brookes had dispensed with the pack ahead of him and was closing down the leading pair and by lap 17 the 2015 champion had bridged a nine-second gap from the midpoint of the race to tail Bridewell before making a move at Druids.
Brookes then had Linfoot in his sights with three laps remaining and a lap later he fired the Be Wiser Ducati ahead at Clearways to hit the front of the pack for the first time and then hold the advantage to the chequered flag. The win gives Brookes the first of the six race wins in the Integro Triple Crown and the chance to bag a potential £75,000 prize.
Linfoot became the eighth different podium finisher of the 2019 season to claim the first top three finish of the season for the Santander Salt TAG Yamaha team, with Bridewell crossing the line third to move to the top of the championship standings.
Danny Buchan had been another rider to scythe his way through the pack to move up into the top five before making a move on Peter Hickman with four laps to go to claim fourth place, with the Smiths Racing BMW rider completing the top five at the chequered flag.
The Tyco BMW pairing were battling for sixth place with Keith Farmer getting the better of his teammate Christian Iddon on the final lap and Jason O’Halloran dropping to eighth after starting the race in a potential podium position. The lone McAMS Yamaha rider had been running in third until the midpoint of the race, but he was forced to hold off an attack from Andrew Irwin on the leading Honda Racing Fireblade and Glenn Irwin on the Quattro Plant – JG Speedfit Kawasaki who completed the top ten.
At the start of race two Brookes launched off the line to lead the pack into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time ahead of Redding and Linfoot with Bridewell also in close contention. The Oxford Racing Ducati rider was on a mission and he made a move on race one podium finisher Linfoot on lap four to move into third with the Be Wiser Ducatis ahead of him.
Bridewell was pushing to make a move on Redding and by lap ten he was on his back wheel, with the Donington Park triple race winner running wide into Paddock Hill Bend, giving Bridewell the opportunity he needed to take the advantage into Druids.
Bridewell was reeling in Brookes and shadowing him for the lead but it wasn’t enough for the 2015 champion to be displaced from the lead and he withstood the pressure from his championship rival to take the chequered flag first and claim the Bennetts Rewards King of Brands title.
Redding was able to return to the podium after the disappointment of race one in third place but behind there was another intense battle between Buchan and Linfoot with the FS3-Racing Kawasaki rider taking the place at half race distance and holding off the Santander Salt TAG Yamaha to the finish.
Iddon was embroiled in a battle of the BMWs from which he emerged the victor, getting the better of Hickman and Farmer after a race-long duel with the Tyco BMW pairing split by the Smiths Racing BMW.
O’Halloran was ninth on the sole McAMS Yamaha with Glenn Irwin holding off Luke Mossey, Andrew Irwin and Xavi Forés for tenth place. It was a disappointing race for Brands Hatch local Bradley Ray who crashed out unhurt at Hawthorns.
“It’s great to get a couple of wins towards that big cash prize but I’ve got to be focused on the championship – that’s my main concern, main goal, my main focus, I’m championship orientated so that’s why I’m most pleased with today’s results.
“It’s been a tough weekend. Fortunately I’ve been able to be at the front for most of the weekend, most of the sessions, and that final race I got away to a good start, pulled a small gap for a few laps and then it snuck out to about 1.5 I got on my board and I was thinking ‘okay, this is good, I might be able to control the race and not have to risk too much and not destroy the tyres too much and just work with that’.
“And then all of a sudden my board showed Tom was second and then that I only had .3 of a gap so that plan had to be dropped, and I started going quicker and quicker.
“On our bikes it shows our best lap time we’ve done, so you each lap you can use that as a reference whether you’re going quicker than your previous best lap or slower – and I was almost exactly zeros on the dash almost every lap.
“If I did make a little mistake in the early part of the lap and lost a couple of tenths, I just tried harder and squeezed a bit more out and got it back at the end of the lap. Even doing that Tom just stayed with me the whole race, like he said our bikes are so evenly matched.
“Everything I tried to do to break away from him, he could match it with his speed. I was thinking to myself, as long I don’t make any mistakes he can’t ride faster, he can’t physically make something happen different than what we’re already doing. I did actually make once mistake, but it was a bit earlier in the race and he wasn’t able to capitalise on that.
“Fortunate to get the win and bring it home, it was really a tough race and he pushed me to the end and to get the King of Brands trophy again is great.”
“I’m leaving Brands Hatch much happier, I’m a lot more relaxed knowing my bike is back to normal. Obviously, the podium in race 1 was mega! It was wet but it was a hard race, I rode well and we had good pace so that has got me smiling! Then with the second race being dry I’m just really happy that we made it to the flag and I could push every lap and not have the chatter issues I’ve had previously and throughout the whole first part of the season really. It’s nice now I know that I can build every lap and get to the flag without any technical issues. The season starts here and with a second and a fifth in the bag I’m taking away a good handful of points which was what my target was at round one. We’ve got a little bit of catching up to do now to try and challenge for a Showdown spot.”
“It’s been a very good weekend for both myself and the team and although it was a bit of a culture shock coming back to the short circuits after the TT, I had two good races. I struggled a bit in practice initially but made a breakthrough in qualifying and went on to pick up some good points. Race one saw very changeable conditions and although it would have been nice to have got a podium, fifth place was a good result especially as I haven’t ridden the new Smiths BMW much in the wet. Seventh in the second race was ok and I have moved up from 12th to eighth in the rider standings and a lot closer to the top six so we’re slowly but surely getting close to where we want to be.”
“After qualifying on the front row yesterday, we were expecting a lot better than what we got today. The first race was really tricky in the wet conditions, I started quite well but I had a problem with a lack of feeling at the front end and slowly drifted back. I started the second race on row four, which was always going to be difficult. The first lap was something else, there were people left, right and centre and I ended up 15th on lap one. I got back up to ninth and then didn’t have any more pace to close down the gap, so we had to bring it home for some points. We have some work to do; we have to improve the feeling with the bike. We’ll put our heads together and try and improve our race pace. I need a better feeling in race conditions.”
Alastair Seeley took victory in the opening Dickies British Supersport race at Brands Hatch, powering past title rival Jack Kennedy on the run to the line. It was the EHA Racing Yamaha of Seeley who grabbed the holeshot, but the GP2 machine of Kyle Ryde had sliced his way through as they crossed the line at the end of lap one.
Seeley, Ryde, Kennedy and Brad Jones traded places throughout the opening five laps before spots of rain saw the red flag deployed. Declared a wet race, the restart began in dry conditions and saw the quintet again battling at the front but as the rain returned it allowed Bradley Perie and Ben Wilson to both take turns leading the race.
Coming down to the final lap, Seeley led at the start but Kennedy moved through to lead on the run into Clearways. Coming onto the straight Kennedy held the lead but Seeley was able to power through to take the win by just 0.026s. On his debut ride on the GP2 machine, Mason Law took the win ahead of Jamie Perrin and Kyle Ryde.
Integro Yamaha’s Jack Kennedy was back to winning ways in the Brands Hatch Dickies British Supersport Feature race, cruising to his fifth victory of the season by 2.103s. As he did in yesterday’s Sprint race, Kyle Ryde stormed to the lead off the line on his GP2 machine to control the race for the opening laps. A fast charging Seeley took over front running on lap five, moving from third to first in one move however just one lap later saw Kennedy take over front running.
A series of fast laps from Kennedy saw him able to extend his lead, eventually climbing to two seconds by the chequered flag. Brad Jones again finished third place, eventually passing Ryde on track in the closing stages.
Kyle Ryde took his seventh British GP2 victory of the year, finishing fourth overall, just ahead of fellow GP2 rider Jamie Perrin. Sam Wilford completed the podium, seventh overall just one place behind Harry Truelove.
Richard Cooper and Lee Jackson shared the victories from the opening Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race at Brands Hatch, with the Buildbase Suzuki man losing out on the double on the line in the second-half.
It was Cooper who grabbed the best leap from the line in the opening 16 lapper, and led the opening lap. FS-3 Racing’s Lee Jackson quickly came past and started to pull a gap on the chasing pack.
The Buildbase Suzuki man quickly got back into a rhythm and found a way past Jackson with ten laps to go, however Mackenzie was lurking behind in third.
After a bunch of exciting overtakes between the leading three, it would be Championship leader Cooper who took the first-half victory from Jackson and Mackenzie.
The second-half saw once again Cooper, Jackson and Mackenzie battle it out at the front. The trio swapped places all race long, but it was Jackson who nicked the second-half victory from Cooper on the line with Mackenzie third.
Bathams Racing’s Taylor Mackenzie took his first victory of 2019 in wet conditions on Sunday, storming ahead of Richard Cooper and Lee Jackson.
It was Cooper who grabbed the holeshot, and he and Taylor Mackenzie pulled a gap on the chasing pack. However, the duo were quickly caught by Lewis Rollo who posted the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Rollo crashed out with eight laps to go leaving Mackenzie and Cooper to battle it out at the front, and it would be the Bathams Racing man who crossed the line for the victory with Cooper second and Jackson third.
South Australian Levi Day scored two top-ten finishes.
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