Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman joined the ranks of 2017 BSB winners, as they became the fifth and sixth different race victors this year. The pair’s success at Thruxton also marked the first wins for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha and Smiths Racing BMW teams.
Brookes scored his first victory of the season in the opening race, stealing the lead from Hickman in the closing stages in the first high-speed duel of the day.
Pole sitter Jake Dixon had fired himself off the line fastest to lead on the opening lap ahead of Hickman and Brookes as Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne dropped down the order after a mistake at the chicane that caused him to run on.
Two laps later and the BMW Safety Car was deployed when Billy McConnell crashed out, but when the race resumed Dixon was instantly under attack from Hickman. The Lincolnshire ace took the lead on the brakes into the chicane on Lap Nine, pushing Dixon into the clutches of Brookes.
Brookes though was determined and by Lap 15 he was in the lead and with three laps to go he was able to edge out a slight advantage which he held until the chequered flag to give the team their first race victory in the premier class.
Hickman had been embroiled in a battle with Dixon throughout the closing stages but was able to fend off the attack over the final two laps to give the local team a podium finish with Dixon completing the top three.
Byrne had fought his way back into fourth place with Christian Iddon battling to fifth place for Tyco BMW after keeping Jason O’Halloran in his wheel tracks on the leading Honda Fireblade.
Leon Haslam was seventh on the sole JG Speedfit Kawasaki with Bradley Ray equalling his best result of the season in eighth ahead of John Hopkins and Sylvain Guintoli, who featured in the top ten for the first time this year.
In race two Smiths Racing BMW celebrated their debut race win in the Championship as Hickman delivered a hard-fought victory for the local team.
Dixon had again got off to a lightening start onboard the RAF Reserves Kawasaki to lead Hickman and race one winner Brookes on the opening lap with the pack all lining up to try and gain the early advantage.
Byrne was determined to be back in podium contention and he had moved second by the end of lap two as Bradley Ray ended his race prematurely with a crash whilst running inside the top ten.
Byrne had hit the front of the pack, but Dixon fought back strongly with a determined move at the chicane, but a lap later and the defending champion repaid the move in exactly the same place.
Hickman was then ready to get involved in the fight for the lead and on the eighth lap he nudged his way ahead to capture the lead.
Byrne regained the position but Hickman wasn’t giving up and a lap later he was back at the front of the pack as Brookes had launched himself through to second place on the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha.
The Australian was then pushing for the lead, claiming the top spot on lap 14 as Byrne was dropping back dramatically before retiring from the race.
Brookes lead until the penultimate lap when he crashed out unhurt, leaving Hickman to hold the advantage with Dixon in second place at the finish. Meanwhile there was an epic scrap for the final podium position as Iddon, Leon Haslam and O’Halloran battled for the valuable points.
Haslam bided his time and waited until the last lap to make a move on the Tyco BMW rider to score the final podium place ahead of Iddon and O’Halloran with Martin Jessopp scoring an impressive sixth place.
Lee Jackson held off Guintoli for seventh place with James Ellison for McAMS Yamaha and Jakub Smrz for the Lloyd and Jones PR Racing BMW team completing the top ten.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Race one result:
1. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha)
2. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +1.026s
3. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +1.774s
4. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +2.305s
5. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +5.604s
6. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +6.797s
7. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +6.926s
8. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +12.419s
9. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +12.425s
10.Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +12.994s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Race two result:
1. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
2. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +0.6044s
3. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +11.227s
4. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +11.467s
5. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +14.971s
6. Martin Jessopp (Ridersmotorcycles BMW) +18.505s
7. Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) +18.600s
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +19.199s
9. James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +19.512s
10.Jakub Smrz (Lloyd and Jones PR Racing BMW) +19.725s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Thruxton:
1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 203
2. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 184
3. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 164
4. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 161
5. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 154
6. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 154
Josh Brookes has secured another ride at this year’s Isle of Man TT after agreeing to ride for Ryan Farquhar’s IEG/KMR Kawasaki team in the Lightweight class.
The Australian will be making his Supertwins debut and will ride the bike earmarked for Hudson Kennaugh, who has withdrawn from the meeting.
Brookes joins fellow road racing stalwarts Lee Johnston, Peter Hickman and Danny Webb who are also riding KMR Supertwins.
Brookes, who lies fourth in the British Superbike series, will ride a Norton in the Superbike and Senior TT races.
The bike the 2015 British Superbike champion will ride is the one that Michael Rutter took to first and second places in the Supertwins races at the North West 200.
Team boss Ryan Farquhar said: “When Hudson withdrew from the North West 200 and TT, my immediate focus was on the North West and Michael Rutter did an absolutely brilliant job to take a race win after stepping in at the last minute.
“Michael had already agreed to ride the Paton at the TT though so he wasn’t available, but having had tentative talks with Josh over the winter, I’m now delighted to welcome him on board.
“Having a ride of that pedigree riding for KMR is a terrific coup and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
“We were a little bit down on top speed at the North West but Michael showed what the bike was capable of, particularly in the handling department, and with four incredibly talented riders on the KMR Kawasakis, we’re confident of having a good TT.”
Norton is set to field two Aussie riders at the 2017 TT after attracting the signature of Aussie Josh Brookes to the factory team.
Brookes joins compatriot David Johnson, and both riders will compete on the all-new SG6, derived from the recently launched V4 SS road bike.
Brookes returns to the TT following a year racing in World Superbikes and is no stranger to the TT. He claimed fastest newcomer at the TT in 2013 finishing a best place of seventh in the 2014 Senior race with his fastest ever TT lap, a staggering 129.859mph, set in only his second year at the Island.
After a two-year absence on the challenging 37.73-mile Mountain Course, Brookes is looking to build on his TT success on the new 230bhp Norton.
Speaking from his home in Australia, Brookes said: “Firstly I want to come back to the TT, after SMR said I couldn’t ride at the TT over the last two years I’ve been desperate to get back and race at the island. I like the history of the Norton and it will be so great to be a little part of the Norton story. It’s just something that interests me, and I’m really excited by the project. It’s always hard to predict results, especially around the island so I think it’s important that I let it come to me. I’ve not been for two years, and I don’t know how much the Norton bike has improved, but I hear great things about the bike.
“My first ever race at the TT was in the Superbike and I got a top ten, so let’s hope we are better than that at least, but realistically if we finish the races without a problem, and I’m in the 132mph club by the end of the fortnight then we’ll be celebrating.”
The SG6 is hand built at Norton’s Donington Hall factory and is currently undergoing a punishing development and testing schedule in the hands of two-times TT winner and Norton development rider, Steve Plater. The bike will feature the V4 Aprilia CRT motor with Norton’s own V4 engine being raced in 2018.
Former Norton Factory rider Ian Mackman joins the team as a race engineer for 2017, joining experienced Norton Race Manager Johnny Cusack in the team along with TT legend Mick Grant who will continue in his role as Senior Advisor adding his extensive TT experience to the factory squad.
Josh Brookes is making a spectacular return to the BSB grid this year gunning for a second title as he is reunited with Yamaha in Anvil Hire TAG Racing colours.
Brookes celebrated a debut MCE BSB title in 2015 claiming an incredible 13 wins and a further ten podium finishes in his title-winning campaign with Yamaha against arch rival Shane Byrne before moving to the World Championship.
However, a move to the WSBK paddock and a jump to BMW machinery saw the Australian struggle to gel with the S1000RR and he jumped at the chance to return to Yamaha.
Brookes said: “I am happy to be back in BSB; it is all really positive for me as I have probably raced more years in this championship than any other so it is my most familiar territory. I am looking forward to coming back, racing on the tracks and meeting the fans again.
“I was exploring a lot of different possibilities but this deal was the best option for me. To be riding the Yamaha again is the icing on the cake; I know what it is like to ride, I found my rhythm with it before and I know it suits me. My goal is still the same and that is to maximise the potential and environment I am in. I won’t start focusing on other riders and what they are doing until the Showdown and hopefully we will be in a position to then focus on our main rivals.
“I think for me to win a second title would mean as much as the first because I have a constant hunger and desire for racing and remain as passionate as ever to leave Australia behind for the season to pursue a championship. I am always in search of results and improving on previous years. Every test, practice and qualifying session or the races I always approach with the same motivation and that is to try and beat the competition.”
Brookes becomes the tenth different race winner to feature on the 2017 grid with the countdown to the opening round at Donington Park (31 March – 2 April) continuing as the team prepare to embark on their pre-season testing programme in Spain.
The Milwaukee Yamaha team head to mainland Europe this weekend for the opening round of the BSB Championship Showdown.
Australian Josh Brookes holds a narrow two point advantage ahead of the tenth round of the season and the Australian is feeling confident of adding to his winning tally at the Dutch circuit.
Brooks said: “I don’t feel any more pressure because it is the Showdown; I want to win races no matter what point it is in the season and I have put Oulton Park behind me now. At the last round I didn’t get the results I wanted for various reasons and it was a bit of a mess up compared to where we had been before that weekend.
“I try to apply a method to my racing and I want to be logical and calculated so I am thinking positively for Assen. I did the recent round of IDM there and it might be a different bike and different technical rules, but there must be some knowledge that I can take from there too. This should be a strong circuit for the Yamaha and if everything comes together then we have high expectations for this weekend.”
Alongside Brookes, Czech contender Jakub Smrz lines up on the second Milwaukee Yamaha for his racing debut with the team after returning from injury.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Brookes dominated the eighth round of the British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park, claiming a full sweep of pole position, fastest lap and the two races in Lincolnshire to extend his advantage at the top of the standings.
In race one Brookes instantly hit the front of the pack on the opening lap and his progress was only briefly halted in the first race when the Safety Car was deployed for a crash at the Mountain. The Australian controlled the race from the front of the pack when it resumed to win by 1.878s.
Brookes carried the momentum into race two where he again delivered an inch perfect performance to score his sixth consecutive win by an incredible 5.089s.
The results meant the Australian takes over the championship lead. He said: “I worked really hard at the start of the first race to make a gap and then I saw the Safety Car come out and I knew I had to get back on the gas straight away and make the gap again. I always ride better on my own smooth lines and I just wanted to stay ahead. The bike feels like an extension of my body at the moment – I am sure it appears easy but it isn’t!
“I just wanted to get out the front in race two and then not let up and keep going. It is easy to make mistakes and lose concentration. I wanted to be smooth and calculated so I kept it pinned and rode it to the flag. I am really pleased for the Milwaukee Yamaha team and everything is all working really well now so we are looking forward to Oulton Park.”
Brookes now leads Byrne by 39 points in the overall standings and just four in the all-important Podium Points score. The leading pair have both already qualified for the final three round Showdown, but the scrap for the final four places is set to intensify in the decisive triple-header next round at Oulton Park (4/5/6 September).
Josh Brookes maintained his blistering pace during the Datatag Qualifying session to claim the pole position for the eighth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park.
The Aussie powered his Milwaukee Yamaha inside the eight-year-old Lincolnshire circuit lap record with an impressive time of 1m 26.433s to top qualifying for the third time this season.
Brookes said: “All weekend I have been fast, but I had a little slip off in the session this morning – I think we were chasing a unicorn! We were trying to improve the bike when it was already really good and where we gained a little bit, we lost a bit in another area and I slipped off and my confidence was a little knocked. It doesn’t matter how well you are going, even if you have a little crash it does do that so Q1 & Q2 I took it steady and was building up to give it everything in Q3. We have worked hard for it today.”
Brookes holds a 12 point advantage in the standings ahead of tomorrow’s two races and is pushing to add to his run of four consecutive race wins. His arch rival Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne continued to have a tough weekend with the defending champion missing out in the final seconds of Q2 and he will start on row four in 11th place.
MCE BSB rookie Danny Buchan celebrated his best ever qualifying performance in the series, pushing Brookes all the way to the end of the session. The Be Wiser Kawasaki rider will start second on the grid after continuing his strong performance this weekend.
The battle for the final position on the front row was just as intense with Tommy Bridewell and Luke Mossey going head-to-head in the closing seconds. Bridewell on his last lap managed to power the Tyco BMW just ahead to have the edge.
Peter Hickman, like Bridewell a winner in the corresponding round of last year, set the fifth fastest time on the RAF Reserves BMW ahead of Aussie Billy McConnell who escaped unscathed from a spectacular crash in this morning’s free practice.
Michael Laverty, James Westmoreland, Martin Jessopp and Jack Kennedy completed the top ten with the latter pair securing their best qualifying performances of the season.
Josh Brookes put on an imperious display at the seventh round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Thruxton to celebrate his second consecutive double victory, smashing the lap record to move to the top of the overall standings.
Brookes had set a blistering pace all weekend and in the races continued his domination by hitting the front of the pack in both races and maintained his position to score the maximum podium points and confirm his position in the Showdown.
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.
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.
“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 the second race 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’. 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, it’s 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 of my style – if someone is going to do it, it is going to be me so congratulations to me for that!”
Team Manager Mick Shanley said: “We got everything we could, pole position, lap record, two race wins, he has been faultless and rode fantastic all weekend and hopefully we can just keep this momentum going. I think that Adam did a great job as well standing in at such short notice, he had the pace for some real good results and I think he is happy to have ridden it just to get a bit of a different idea.”
Josh Brookes gave the Milwaukee Yamaha team a commanding double victory in the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch, closing the deficit in the overall standings to just five points and claiming the maximum ten Podium Points available.
In the opening race Brookes settled into second on the first lap and was instantly on the attack, claiming the lead by lap four and following two Safety Car interventions kept his cool to bridge the pack to win by 0.507s. Parkes narrowly missed out on the top ten in eleventh place.
In race two Brookes was determined to build on his race one win – the first victory in MCE BSB for the next generation YZF-R1. The Milwaukee Yamaha rider bided his time to hit the front on the eighth lap with a calculated move to hold the position to the finish.
An ecstatic Brookes said: “It’s strange, we’ve gone this far into the season and haven’t been able to win and then we get two in the one day – it’s pretty awesome feeling. It’s a team environment; the guys have worked so hard to make the bike better for me each round and at the start of the season.
“When you wait for something you really appreciate it and the bike worked really well by race day – I couldn’t fault it and I think it’s down to our plan we had in place. We had a ‘Theoretical Thursday’, ‘Effort Friday’ and try whatever we needed to do to get that done, a ‘Sensible Saturday’ where we put settings in that were just sensible to get the job done and ‘Successful Sunday’. We had a plan, we stuck to it, and we achieved.
“It all reflects back on the bike really, I didn’t improve the round or the round before that – the bike did. It’s given me the ability to ride with confidence and you can see in the start of the second race the team had made a small change. From what we could see in the data they thought this would help so I told the team to do what you need to do, and I’ll just ride it.
“The first couple of laps I thought ‘this isn’t right, I’m not turning in, I’m not getting apexes’, and Shakey really seemed to have control of the first couple of laps in his typical style and didn’t seem to be suffering from anything I was hoping to capitalise on. Then about four laps in, it just started to settle into a rhythm and the bike started to feel even better than race one.
“I was able to just watch Shakey for a little while and then had a look in a few places but I couldn’t see the correct place to do it and then an opportunity opened up and I went for it. To get into the lead and to get a gap is such a great feeling – the bike was on rails and it changed direction like a cat, it was just perfect.”
Milwaukee Yamaha head north of the border this weekend (3-5 July) as the team get set for the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship and aim to add to their podium-finishing performances.
Josh Brookes was back on the podium at the previous round of Snetterton with a pair of second place finishes and is edging ever closer to the first victory in the championship for the next generation YZF-R1. The Fife circuit requires tenacity and determination and Brookes is eager to box off his first victory of his 2015 campaign this weekend.
Title contender Brookes said: “I have had mixed results at Knockhill in the past, I have had wins there but last year we just couldn’t perform like we would have wanted to and so this year we are definitely hoping for more. I am hoping to recover the pace that we had when I claimed victories there and I think the new Milwaukee Yamaha will react differently to the previous model like we have seen at other tracks.
“I want to get out there and do the job, which ultimately is to screw the life out of it until we get the results that we know we are capable of and I have the desire as always to win.”