Josh Brookes gave his Paul Bird Motorsport team a perfect double as he took two wins out of two in tricky conditions at Brands Hatch British Superbikes this weekend.
It was the second double win for the Australian, the 2015 BSB champion, after a similar result at Oulton Park in May, and puts him right in contention for a place in the season-ending seven race showdown.
Brands Hatch’s first race was run in wet but drying conditions and saw Brookes’ team-mate Scott Redding gamble on his tyre choices. The former MotoGP man, making his debut on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, chose an intermediate rear tyre when the others ran full wets. While the track dried sufficiently to allow Redding to set the fastest lap of the race, it came too late for him to mount a challenge and he finished out of the points.
Up front, Brookes overhauled fellow Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell to take the win, with Yamaha-mounted Dan Linfoot a surprise third. Bridewell took second in a dry race two, with Redding completing an all-Ducati podium.
Speaking after the races, Brookes, who also won a trophy for the ‘King of Brands’ competition added: “I knew the track would dry out in the first race so we switched to a different setting although I also knew the first few laps would be hard in the wet. The circuit took a lot longer to dry out than I thought, and it gave me a few edgy moments in the first few laps, so I had to stay patient and let the track come to me. The second race was incredibly tough and although I had a bit of a gap mid-race, I had to up the pace. My lap times were practically identical every lap, so it was a hard-fought win. PBM have done a fantastic job this weekend for me and it’s great to have come away with two wins.”
Despite his error of judgement in race one, Redding was happy with his weekend’s work, adding: “Some people may not have thought a podium was possible for me this weekend, but we were quick straightaway which raised expectations. However, I knew that while I was quick for a few laps, doing it over the full race distance would be a lot more difficult particularly as I’m still learning the bike and the tyres. At the moment, I’m using the rear tyre in the wrong way and although I tried to hold onto the leaders, I ended up making a few mistakes so settled for the position and brought the bike home in third. I made a mistake in the first race with the tyre choice, so I’m pleased to come back with a podium.”
Bridewell’s double podium means that he is the championship leader with a third of the season gone, with Redding second and Brookes third.
Yamaha rider Tarran Mackenzie, second going into Brands Hatch, crashed during qualifying and was unable to race after losing consciousness at the scene of the accident. He is expected to return at the next round of the series, at Knockhill in two weeks’ time.
Glenn Irwin scored a pair of 10th place finishes on the Carole Nash-backed Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10RR. “It’s been a positive day with two top 10 finishes,” he said. “I said on Friday this is where I wanted to finish. I felt perhaps we could push for a top eight in race two but I made too many mistakes early on and dropped back to 13th. I managed to fight back up the pack and we had really good pace, but we’ve made a big step forwards this weekend.
“We need to make the bike better on a new tyre and work better at the start as the pace at the end is good. It’s frustrating but we are going in the right direction. We just have to work hard on the opening ten laps of the race at every circuit and I’m looking forward to Knockhill.”