Josh Brookes to race IOMTT
Double British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes will make a sensational return to this year’s Isle of Man TT Races with the Australian competing at the event for the first time since 2018.
After joining FHO Racing at the end of last season, the 39-year old has announced he will contest the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock, and Milwaukee Senior TT Races onboard BMW M 1000 RR machines alongside Peter Hickman in an all-star line-up.
2023 marks ten years since Brookes made his first TT appearance where he was an instant hit around the Mountain Course, finishing tenth in the opening Superbike Race of 2013. He also lapped at an average speed of 127.726mph on his debut, securing the title of the fastest ever TT newcomer at the time.
Brookes returned the following year with Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha team and repeated his tenth place in the Superbike Race. He was out of luck in the two Supersport Races but ended his week with a strong seventh place finish in the Senior, improving his personal best lap around the 37.73-mile course to 129.859mph.
Both Brookes and the team focused on the BSB Championship in 2015 which paid dividends as they clinched the title in dominant fashion. Both rider and team then moved into the World Superbike Championship for 2016, which was when Brookes last rode BMW machinery.
A return to the UK in 2017 meant Brookes was able to contest the TT once more and he did so on a variety of machinery. Riding for Norton in the Superbike and Senior Races, he took 8th and 6th respectively, posting his first 130mph+ laps in the process.
He also campaigned a Honda CBR600RR for Jackson Racing in the solitary Supersport Race, finishing 11th, and then took an excellent 6th on board Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki in the Lightweight Race.
Brookes, who also has World Supersport Championship victories on his highly impressive CV, returned to the Island later in the year for the Classic TT where, deputising for the injured John McGuinness, he won the Senior Race on the Winfield Paton.
Back with Norton for 2018, another 10th place was taken in the opening Superbike Race with a brace of sixths then recorded on the McAMS Yamaha in the two Supersport Races, lapping at more than 126mph on the YZF-R6.
However, he saved the best until last when he finished in a brilliant 5th on the Norton in the closing Senior TT. A fastest lap of 131.745mph made him the fastest Australian ever to have lapped the Mountain Course and he remains the 11th fastest rider of all time.
Brookes joined Paul Bird’s Ducati team for the 2019 season, remaining there for the following four years and, after finishing a close second to team-mate Scott Redding in his first year on the Panigale V4R, he duly clinched his second BSB title in 2020.
BSB commitments with the team meant he was unable to contest the TT, although he did take third and fourth at last year’s North West 200. With FHO Racing contesting both BSB and the International road races, he’s now eagerly looking forward to his TT return.
“I’m pleased it’s now out there and we can announce my return to the TT. It’s one of the most common subjects I get asked throughout the year at BSB, the fans always want to know; ‘are you coming back to the TT?’, ‘will you ever be back?’, and ‘do you want to come back?’ It’s good to have the box ticked and now be able to say it’s happening!
“Like all the other times I’ve been to the TT I’m both nervous and excited. It’s a big event and it’s thrilling, but it does create nerves and it’s full of emotion. FHO Racing has a great background at the event with all they achieved last year. I also have both the perfect and, potentially, the worst team-mate with Pete!
“The event has changed a little since I last raced in 2018, with the new schedule for this season with the change in the practice format and the Senior moved to the final Saturday, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and riding the Mountain course once again.”
Team Owner – Faye Ho
“I’m very excited to have Josh joining us for the TT this year. He has a good history at the event and has achieved some great results despite an interrupted journey. Although the British Superbike Championship is our main priority with Josh for this season, he was keen to return to the TT after a five-year break and we were happy to support him in the Superbike, Senior and Superstock Races on the M 1000 RR. I can’t wait to see him in action out there, and I think alongside Pete, we will have a strong presence at the TT.”