Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brooks (above) is celebrating his first MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race win of the season after he put in a hard-fought performance to be victorious on the Grand Prix circuit ahead of Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) and team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari in third position.
“Winning the first race felt really good; that goes without saying, although I do feel I’ve been riding as hard as the guys who have been winning all season. I try hard in every race, but more than anything I’m really proud of the team. At each round we keep making progress and I’ve also been trying to improve my riding. I was struggling for grip at the end of the race and had some big slides but we held on for the win. In the second race we never changed a thing on the bike, but I just had no grip; so what can I say.”
Shane Byrne celebrated a win in race two in front of his home crowd as the defending champion scored victory from James Ellison and Alex Lowes, while Brookes suffered a lack of grip and had to settle for fourth place.
Brookes, who now heads to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8-Hour race next weekend, made his intentions clear from the opening laps, and when championship leader Shane Byrne crashed-out after attempting a pass on him, it was a matter of holding off Alex Lowes until the chequered flag.
On the opening lap Byrne had taken the initial lead from Lowes and Brookes, but the Samsung Honda wasn’t settling for second and hit the front of the field Graham Hill Bend. A lap later and the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider was pushed back to third by Brookes who moved ahead at Clearways and then had his sights set on Lowes.
The Australian made a move on Lowes just two laps later and he held the advantage but behind Byrne had dived ahead of his Samsung Honda rival for second with a move at Hawthorn on the eighth lap. At his home ground Byrne was targeting the lead, but still coming under pressure from Lowes who again made a move before they switched places again.
Byrne looked to make a move on Brookes with a determined move down the inside at Hawthorn but the front tucked from underneath him and he went crashing out of contention.
That left Brookes and Lowes to fight it out for the win, but in the final laps it was the Australian who had the edge to be victorious and close down Byrne’s points lead. Lowes believes the opener at Brands Hatch was his hardest of the season so far as he scored second place, pushing Brookes all the way to the line in the closing stages.
The second Samsung Honda of Ryuichi Kiyonari claimed third but behind, American PJ Jacobsen was able to score his best result of the season with a fifth place ahead of Jon Kirkham on the first of the Buildbase BMWs.
The pack behind were fighting it out for seventh and Dan Linfoot came out on top for the Lloyds British GBmoto Honda team as he remained ahead of Keith Farmer and Howie Mainwaring.
Bathams Honda’s Michael Rutter completed the top ten with Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Waters finishing in 14th place.Team-mate James Ellison and Chris Walker on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki both crashed out in the early stages of the race.
Results – Race 1
1. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.243s
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +8.268s
4. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +13.964s
5. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +18.343s
6. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +20.469s
7. Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +24.515s
8. Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +25.427
9. Howie Mainwaring (MH Kawasaki) +25.528s
10. Michael Rutter (Bathams Honda) +26.176s
Byrne got the lead on the opening lap with James Ellison and Alex Lowes in close contention with race one winner Josh Brookes tucked in to fourth position. The leading quartet were edging ahead until the Nissan GT-R Safety Car was deployed on the seventh lap when Halsall Racing Kawasaki’s Lee Costello crashed at Sheene Curve.
When the race resumed the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki got the heads up with Ellison and Lowes going with him as Brookes and Ryuichi Kiyonari were beginning to be gapped.
The Milwaukee Yamaha of Ellison was pushing Byrne over the closing stages with Lowes ready to make his attack too, but Byrne was determined to make amends and he just had the edge over Ellison on the final lap. Lowes made it a double podium celebration in third with Brookes splitting the Samsung Hondas.
The ongoing battle of the Buildbase BMWs continued in race two and a close tussle between the pair and PJ Jacobsen on the second of the Tyco Suzukis was eventually won by James Westmoreland who moved ahead on the fourteenth lap and fended off their challenges.
Dan Linfoot was back inside the top ten for Lloyds British GBmoto Honda at their home round and Keith Farmer completed the top ten. Aussie Josh Waters improved his race one result, finishing in 12th position.
Results – Race 2
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.191s
3. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.289s
4. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +2.815s
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +7.010s
6. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +8.044s
7. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +10.201s
8. PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +11.134s
9. Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +14.902s
10. Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +15.513s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 232
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 211
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 210
4. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 120
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 110
6. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 100
The next round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship is a triple header round and takes place at Oulton Park on 9/10/11 August.