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
Jake Dixon claimed pole position for the RAF Reserves Kawasaki team with an inch perfect Superpole qualifying to win the one lap shootout for the first time at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.
The battle had been intense to make the top nine for the final stage of qualifying but first up was John Hopkins who headed out for Superpole with the Moto Rapido Ducati team for the first time this season. The American set a benchmark time of 1m:15.670s, which was slower than his time in Q2.
Jason O’Halloran was next to be released for his flying lap and the Australian fired the Honda Racing Fireblade ahead by 0.171s to hit the top spot with defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne up next.
The Be Wiser Ducati rider went to the top of the times with his Superpole flying lap, but clearly frustrated, Byrne didn’t stay there for long as his rivals rolled out for their attack on a Superpole time.
Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon was ready to roll next and he moved ahead of Byrne by 0.413s to become the first rider to dip into the 1m:14s lap times in the final stage of qualifying – something that all nine of the Superpole riders achieved in Q2.
Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes was next and the Australian had been the pace setter in the final free practice session this morning. Brookes fired himself ahead of his rivals by 0.524s with Iddon in second and Byrne in third place.
Smiths Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman has been in contention throughout free practice and he didn’t disappoint in qualifying as he moved second and 0.401s adrift of Brookes who maintained the top position.
The sole JG Speedfit Kawasaki headed out on track in the hands of Leon Haslam as Luke Mossey remains sidelined after his free practice three crash, but it was a disaster for the ‘Pocket Rocket’ as he crashed out at the chicane unhurt leaving him ninth on the grid.
Dixon was the penultimate rider to head out for his flying lap and the RAF Reserves Kawasaki rider kept his cool to launch himself ahead of Brookes and Hickman with only Dan Linfoot left to take on Superpole.
Linfoot’s flying lap put him sixth on the timesheets ahead of tomorrow’s two races at Thruxton.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Datatag Qualifying result:
1. Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) 1m:14.052s
2. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +0.204s
3. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.605s
4. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.728s
5. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.141s
6. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +1.216s
7. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +1.387s
8. John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +1.618s
9. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
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.”