Thruxton BSB Images Gallery A
Thruxton BSB Images Gallery A – Images by Jon Jessop
Josh Brookes doubles up at Thruxton to take BSB Series lead
Josh Brookes continued his winning spree with a second successive double at the seventh round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Thruxton to take a 12 point lead in the overall standings.
The Milwaukee Yamaha rider had run under the Thruxton record to take his second pole start of the campaign and then hit the front in both races, breaking the nine year old lap record, to fully capitalise on the problems experienced by his arch-rival, the four time champion Shane Byrne.
Brookes was characteristically cool, staying ahead in a dramatic opening race which was red flagged when Richard Cooper’s bike blew up at Church. James Ellison crashed out and sustained a broken wrist, whilst Christian Iddon also tumbled from the Bennetts Suzuki.
Brookes resumed command on the re-start, taking the victory from Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot and JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Westmoreland who enjoyed his first ever podium finish in MCE BSB.
Byrne had fought back from a sixth row start amid a qualifying beset by issues to his PBM Kawasaki salvaged a fourth place from Howie Mainwaring on the locally-based Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki and his team-mate Luke Mossey.
Brookes was fired up for a repeat performance in race two and again took charge at the start while behind him there was drama and incident. John Hopkins, whose first race had ended with a problem with his Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati, crashed out of second at the Club chicane and Jack Kennedy fell at Campbell.
Josh Brookes 1st and 1st – (Milwaukee Yamaha) – “We have always had confidence and believe that we can do it but you have to actually do it and we have done this weekend. After Brands Hatch everyone was definitely carrying some confidence and a good mood in the team and that spilled onto this weekend. It has been a good circuit for me, I had my first race win here in 2010 and I have had a double last year, so it has just been a good circuit for me in general. To come from a double win at Brands Hatch and have another double here is what we were searching for but to finally achieve it means we can shout about it and I am really pleased.
“In race two particularly when the safety car came out I was a little bit annoyed shall I say as I had worked really hard to try and make a buffer where then I could ride more comfortably and then when I saw the Safety Car flag I thought ‘oh no this isn’t how I planned it’ and I was worried what might happen after the safety car and if I could maintain the speed, as historically after the safety car I have always struggled more than other riders. Maybe it’s a concentration thing, maybe it’s an adrenaline thing but I tend to struggle to perform after the safety car so I didn’t want to fall into that trap.
“As soon as the safety car was in I just put my head down and rode the fastest, smoothest lap I could. Unfortunately for Hopper, but fortunately for me his crash created a gap and I could control the rest of the race as I had a buffer that gave me that confidence.
“Obviously I need to thank the Milwaukee Yamaha team as they have put a superb bike under me this weekend and it actually felt better again in the second race, its surprising how you can keep stepping it up and improve again.
“It wasn’t until after the race I realised I’d achieved the lap record because on the dash it can sometimes differ to the real time and I didn’t have the record in my mind. For me it was about doing the best job possible to win the races. I’m really happy and it’s the cherry on top of a great weekend, especially as it’s stood for so many years.
“It’s a big achievement because in 2006 it was a big tyre war and Michelin and Dunlop were bringing special tyres to the races to try and have the advantage.
“So to get lap records on a tyre that is available to everyone means we have to give big respect to Pirelli and it shows how good the tyre is in BSB.
“To end the day with a crash doing a burn out celebrating was typical my style – if someone is going to do it, it is going to be me so congratulations to me for that!”
Byrne and Mossey were scrapping for second place and they took the battle down to the wire, the defending champion had the marginal edge at the line as Mossey took his first ever MCE BSB podium finish, the tenth different rider to score a top three result this year.
Shane Byrne – 4th and 2nd – “We’ve had a good season up until now but it just hasn’t gone our way this weekend and to be in 17th after qualifying certainly wasn’t in the script. At the same time, if you had said I would get these results on Friday afternoon, I would have snatched your arm off! This is the most difficult weekend I’ve ever had with the team and despite their hard work, we’ve been rubbish so I am delighted to salvage these results. The podium finish especially feels like a win, so that one is for my team and their efforts.”
Tommy Bridewell who had crashed heavily out of the first race in a tangle with Danny Buchan bounced back strongly to finish fourth on his Tyco BMW ahead of Linfoot and Michael Laverty. The Tyco BMW pairing now both inside the top six as the countdown continues to the Showdown.
Due to a technical problem during qualifying Billy McConnell had to start from the back of the grid for the 20-lap race. Despite his handicap, he fought hard and was up to 20th by lap five when the race was red flagged due to an oil spillage, which gave him a better position for the re-start.
From there, he made it count and a stunning first lap in the re-started 15-lap race saw him up to 12th at the end of the opening lap. The 28-year-old Aussie was soon up to tenth and part of a superb battle for the final podium spot and when a couple of riders crashed on the final lap, he was promoted up the order to eighth at the flag.
The second MCE BSB race saw the reigning British Supersport champion again running inside the top ten but in the closing stages of the race, a lack of rear grip left him unable to respond to the challenge of the other riders although he was able to bring the bike home for 15th and another hard-earned championship point.
Billy McConnell – 8th and 15th – “It’s been a mixed weekend really and whilst it wasn’t quite the turning point in the year we’d hoped for, we got some solid points again. After the problem in qualifying, we had to use our spare engine which wasn’t quite as strong and it was all doom and gloom way down the grid. I got a bit of luck in the race and managed to finish eighth which was fantastic given where I’d started from. In the second race, I was again in the top ten but in the last few laps, I started to have a few off throttle moments which were really unsettling and there was nothing I could do but I got a point and it’s on to Cadwell now, which has always been one of my favourite circuits.”
Bennetts Suzuki’s Christian Iddon saw two potential top-six finishes cruelly snatched-away as team-mate Josh Waters raced to a positive top-10 position.
After qualifying in ninth place, Iddon was battling for a top-six in race one when another machine’s engine blew-up in front of him. Raising his hand in anticipation of a red flag, Iddon’s visor was suddenly covered in oil from the stricken machine and he couldn’t see in front of him, running onto the grass and being forced to lay his GSX-R1000 down before running into the air fence.
While he was allowed to line-up for the restart, the team couldn’t quite get the bike rebuilt in time and he had to start from the back of the grid. Then after an impressive start – which saw him up to 17th on the opening lap – he had to pull back into the pits to make some more adjustments to his GSX-R1000. Despite being down on laps, he managed to put-in the ninth-fastest lap of the race, ensuring a third-row grid spot for race two.
Unfortunately more problems plagued the team when John Hopkins fell at the chicane – as Iddon was again battling for the top-six in the closing stages of the race – and was forced to scrub-off speed to avoid the crashed machine; and was then hit from behind by another rider. He was able to remain upright but the impact bent his Yoshimura exhaust system and down on power, he struggled home to 20th place; his first non-point-scoring round of the season.
Christian Iddon – “I don’t know what I did wrong in a previous life but I must have done something! The good thing is the team has been brilliant all weekend and we’ve been up there and on the pace in every single session, plus we’ve been able to run good lap-times. First race I couldn’t see where I was going so had to lay it down. I felt I was on the grass and I was going fast and didn’t know which direction I was going in. So I had to put it down. In the restart I made a good start but unfortunately the bike wasn’t quite ready enough so I had to pull in, but I got back out to get a lap in. It was all going really nicely in race two also. I was trying to be careful and save some tyre for the end of the race so we could have a go. I got through Hopper’s crash but someone else couldn’t get stopped behind me and rear-ended me and bent the exhaust. I didn’t know what was bent at the time and felt something scraping at the next corner. Some people came past and gestured at me so I pulled off the racing-line and had a look. I kicked it as straight as I could but I was just down on power, but I just finished the race as you never know what’s going to happen in front of you.”
In contrast, team-mate Josh Waters enjoyed a positive weekend on his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000, making progress with the set-up of his machine and big improvements in his lap-times.
Despite the team’s gamble not paying off in qualifying, Waters progressed from his 21st place grid-spot and fought through to finish in 14th place in race one. Things improved further in race two when he kept pushing forwards and was battling well inside the top-10. Starting the last lap, Waters held eighth and made a move for seventh. However, he made a small mistake with his pass and dropped back to 10th at the chequered flag, but was buoyed with his and the team’s progress throughout the weekend.
Josh Waters – “It’s a shame that the gamble in qualifying didn’t pay off as we had to start from further down the field, and with lap times so close, passing is difficult around here. We had a decent race one and made-up some positions. Race two was good and I really enjoyed riding the bike and the battles on track. I was looking to get a really good top-10 finish but I just made a small mistake on the last lap trying to make a pass and in the end it cost me. But the team has worked really hard and the progress is now evident for people to see. We’ll keep working with the aim of getting even further-up the results.”
Jason O’Halloran had crashed during qualifying and broke his femur which ruled him out of the rest of the Thruxton BSB weekend.
Jason O’Halloran – “I am not feeling too bad this morning and now I just have to wait for my operation when they are inserting a rod and plates into my leg and also will make the decision whether to plate my hand too as I have broken two bones in my left hand. The femur is broken in three places so I know that the Showdown has gone now because we will need to repair before coming back, which is really disappointing as myself and the Honda team have had a really good season and we have been building momentum through our hard work. The weekend had been going a bit up and down at Thruxton, but in the first part of qualifying I felt pretty good and thought that we had made a step forward in the right direction which would have put us a bit closer. It’s tough, but I am hoping that I can be at least up on my feet on crutches in a few days and then we can work towards getting fit and ready to come back. I also just want to thank everyone for their support and messages since yesterday.”
1: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2: Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +4.479s
3: James Westmoreland (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +9.802s
4: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) +14.134s
5: Howie Mainwaring (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +14.347s
6: Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +14.778s
1: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) +5.580s
3: Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +5.766s
4: Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) +7.821s
5: Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +8.558s
6: Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +9.020s
1: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 266
2: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) 254
3: James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 147
4: Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) 139
5: Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) 115
6: Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) 112