The Bennetts British Superbike Championship title fight will do down to the wire this weekend as protagonists Scott Redding, Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell battle it out for the final time in 2019 in their quest to be crowned champion at Brands Hatch.
We spoke to Josh Brookes overnight about the weekend ahead. The Australian trails Be Wiser Ducati team-mate Scott Redding by 28-points heading into this weekend triple-header.
“Under normal circumstances a second and a third at Donington in British Superbike would be a good achievement, but when the championship leader gets two wins then that makes that performance not so good after all, and that’s the reality that I am facing at the moment.
“The championship points are well favoured towards Scott, mathematically the championship is always a possibility until the end, or until the numbers rule it out, but I will go into this weekend with the most optimism I can and try as hard as I can to get the results, but it’s diffifcult to think that Scott is going to offer a poor performance.
“I am standing here in poor weather at the moment, it is drizzling rain, the last round is often affected by weather here so we never know what can happen.
“All I have to do is focus on the best results I can, rather than thinking I have to finish a certain place etc. so that almost probably takes the pressure off me a little. I have to just go out and win, that is all I can do. Then how Scott goes out and plays it will decide the final results.
“Every year I have been in BSB I have given 100 per cent and irrespective of the outcome I am proud of what I have achieved this year.”
BSB 2019 so far…
After 24 races there have been seven winners and 12 different podium finishers, but it comes down to three champion elects ahead of the final three races of the 2019 season on the Grand Prix circuit.
Scott Redding heads the standings coming into the crucial decider and the former MotoGP contender willl attempt to claim the title in his debut season to make Bennetts BSB history. The 26-year-old has delivered an incredible performance so far in the Showdown, to return to Kent with a 28-point advantage over his Be Wiser Ducati teammate.
“This year has been really good; I have enjoyed the championship and the racing has been great and now we have just got Brands Hatch to try and finish the job! I feel like I have been the strongest rider in the Showdown so far but I have been building all season for this. The results at Brands Hatch earlier in the year doesn’t show how strong we really were there and the pace that we had; I took a gamble on the tyre choice in race one and then had a podium in race two and we had pole position. I think some people think that it might not be the best track for me and I might not be as strong there, but when people doubt me I want it even more. I am really calm now and with how I am and what we can do at Brands Hatch. I get even more motivation from the energy and the big support that I get from the fans and I think there is going to be a big atmosphere next weekend.
“I am definitely in a prime position; I didn’t start the season saying what I could do and I have just been working hard and building up so that we were strong for the Showdown. I am getting stronger and more confident. I wanted to build throughout the year and now it’s the time.”
On the opposite side of the garage, Josh Brookes is ready to take the title fight all the way to the line. The 2015 champion was unstoppable at the Grand Prix circuit earlier in the season, claiming a double win, making him the most successful rider at Brands Hatch currently on the grid.
However, the pair also have a determined Tommy Bridewell ready to spoil their title celebrations, and the Oxford Racing Ducati rider thrives on his underdog status as he aims for his first championship victory, having finished third in the series back in 2014.
The title contenders are firmly focused on claiming the maximum 75 points available. However, they will face tough competition for the final honours of the 2019 season with the closest opposition coming from Danny Buchan, Tarran Mackenzie and Peter Hickman who currently lock out the remaining positions in the top six.
Australian Jason O’Halloran heads south to Kent for the season finale sitting ninth in the standings, a single point ahead of Christian Iddon, and with Andrew Irwin and Xavi Fores within striking distance given a strong enough end of season result. After admitting to struggling for feel and grip which resulted in poor 11-10 results at the previous Donington Park round, O’Halloran will be keen to finish the season strong. He will have three bites of the cherry, as there is an extra race on the usual double header programme, with 75 points up for grabs; if he could record three strong results it could move him up the finishing order in this year’s championship standings.
“That was one of the more difficult weekends. We struggled all weekend. Friday was wet, Saturday was dry and both races today were dry. We generally struggled to find a feeling. I struggled for grip in the first race and in one of the biggest surprises; I really struggled on new tyres. I got stronger towards the end once the tyre went away and did my fastest lap on the last lap of the race which is a bit backwards. Race two was better but I struggled with wheelies on the stop start corners, I’m having to use the rear brake so much we’re just getting beat on the straights. We need to see what we can do to improve it to see if we can finish the year off good.”
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