Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman became two new race winners in the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Thruxton today (Sunday) as they became the fifth and sixth different race victors this year. The pair’s success 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 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:
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha)
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +1.026s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +1.774s
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +2.305s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +5.604s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +6.797s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +6.926s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +12.419s
- John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +12.425s
- Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +12.994s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, Race two result:
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
- Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki) +0.6044s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +11.227s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +11.467s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +14.971s
- Martin Jessopp (Ridersmotorcycles BMW) +18.505s
- Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) +18.600s
- Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki) +19.199s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +19.512s
- Jakub Smrz (Lloyd and Jones PR Racing BMW) +19.725s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Thruxton:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 203
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 184
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 164
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 161
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 154
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 154
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Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha
“I’m full of contrasting emotions really, I had great race one and a perfect race two until the crash, I don’t understand it, I can’t tell you why I fell off.
“I had a gap big enough not to be under pressure and I had a gap small enough not to be complacent, and I still come unstuck. If I had made a clear error and the judgement of error was my own I’d say immediately I’d made a mistake, like I did at Brands, I’m baffled.
“The team worked superbly all weekend, the bike was good enough to win both races, we almost got pole position and it could have been a great weekend, but I just need to build a bridge and get over it.
“I need to put it behind me, the team do too and we’ve shown what we’re capable of, we can’t dwell on the past. We move onto Cadwell now, it’s a great event, and it’s been a great event for me in the past so hopefully we’ll carry on the good form there.”
Smiths Racing BMW
“I’m obviously delighted to have taken my first win and podiums of the season but even more delighted to give the Smiths team their first ever MCE BSB win. It’s absolutely mega for all of us and although it’s a small, family-run team everyone works so hard and it’s brilliant for them to be rewarded for all their efforts.
“I felt comfortable out front in race one, although it’s never easy setting the pace but I was over the moon with second place. Race two followed a similar pattern and although Jake got by me at one stage, I could see his rear tyre was used more than mine so knew he wouldn’t be a problem although Josh was obviously more of a threat. It’s a shame he crashed out but that’s racing and hats off to my guys, they’ve got the bike set up so well which makes my life a lot easier.
“A first and second place means it’s been a brilliant day and third place overall now is the icing on the cake.”