Josh Brookes delivered an inch-perfect performance in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race of the triple-header decider at Brands Hatch to reduce his Be Wiser Ducati teammate Scott Redding’s advantage to 19 points ahead of tomorrow’s season finale.
At the start of the race Brookes had taken the lead into Paddock Hill Bend ahead of Danny Buchan and Christian Iddon, with Redding sucked into the pack and holding 11th position on the opening lap.
On the second lap Luke Mossey crashed on the exit of Surtees from seventh place and the pack had to take evasive action. At the front Iddon had made a move to push Buchan behind him to take second, but then Tommy Bridewell was on the attack and was soon into second place behind his Be Wiser Ducati title rival.
By lap six Buchan was under pressure from Jason O’Halloran, who made a move into Paddock Hill Bend, before the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider then reclaimed the fourth place at Surtees.
However the race was red flagged when James Ellison, Joe Francis and Ryan Vickers crashed out at Surtees leaving an oil slick that the Racesafe marshals had to clear before the race was restarted.
On the 12-lap restart Brookes again hit the front of the pack ahead of Iddon and Bridewell, but the Oxford Racing Ducati rider was soon into second to instantly shuffle the order. As Brookes and Bridewell bid for a breakaway, Redding was holding eighth place but he was soon carving his way through the pack. He was up to sixth at mid-distance but ahead of him Buchan had moved into fourth and was fighting with Iddon.
The gap was constantly changing at the front as Bridewell kept pushing to reel in Brookes, but the 2015 champion had the measure of his rival to hold the lead to the chequered flag.
Redding though was on a mission; he was determined to end the race with a podium finish and he stormed ahead of Buchan and Iddon with four laps to go before edging a slight advantage after what had been a tough day for the championship leader.
Iddon equalled his season best result of fourth place ahead of Buchan on the final lap with O’Halloran holding off Peter Hickman for sixth place. The Honda Racing pairing of Xavi Forés and Andrew Irwin held eighth and ninth respectively and Taylor Mackenzie completed the top 10.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Race 1 result:
- Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati) +2.256s
- Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) +8.435s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +9.213s
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +9.582s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +11.023s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +11.958s
- Xavi Forés (Honda Racing) +15.964s
- Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) +16.194s
- Taylor Mackenzie (Tyco BMW) +16.305s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch Race 1:
- Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) 661
- Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) 642
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati) 600
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 570
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 543
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 539
For more information on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visit www.britishsuperbike.com
Josh Brookes – Be Wiser Ducati
Race one winner
“In qualifying, the track was mostly dry, but it wasn’t reacting like the track we’re used to racing on, so at the start of the first race I wasn’t really sure how hard to push. I didn’t want to be the fool that fell off in the lead – that’s what I was trying to avoid most, so I probably was riding too conservative. Then I had +0 on my board and it had a number of people were all right behind each other so I knew everybody could run the same pace I was so I knew I needed to list my game a little and then the red flag came out.
“Starting off the pole position and getting to the first corner first – it meant I had to go through the dust first and I was a bit unsure how hard to push. So I kind-of just had to guess my first lap through and then I got round for the second lap and I still wasn’t any more informed because I was leading, so I kind-of felt really uncomfortable trying to guess where to be in that corner. But then once I got in a bit of a rhythm I knew that the other riders were going okay so I started to push and started to get more confidence with the bike.
“And at one point I read, it was obviously Bridewell when he got past to second. When I first read it I mistakenly read Byrne and I must have been in a mind-set from past races, and a couple of corners later I was going ‘that’s not Byrne, it can’t be Byrne’ so that was a bit of humour for the race! But yes, today has been a perfect situation. I can only do what I can do at the front and let happen what happens behind me.”
Scott Redding – Be Wiser Ducati
“It was a hard day in general to be honest. It was a tough one – I haven’t had one of them in a while! Due to a little problem in qualifying in Q3, it would have been nice to be on the front row or fight for the pole position because I think I had the pace for that today, but we didn’t so it is what it is.
“I had to start from ninth, which is probably the most unideal place to start here on the grid at Brands Hatch, but we got through quite cleanly. I started making steps through riders, then Luke crashed going onto the back straight and the bike went one way and he went another and I thought ‘okay just roll out’. I’m not going to take a risk to hit someone or their bike today.
“I gave five seconds to the front lead and I thought ‘sweet, let’s get our head down again’. I was really catching the guys quite fast, but just as I got there a red flag came out, so I used a lot of tyre but then again I started a few positions up for race two.
“And the restart was quite similar, I struggled off the start. The Hondas are quite good off the start, both came either side – I’ve got Andrew one side and Xavi the other – and I had to fight my way through. Everything was quite clean, quite good, and I just struggled with rear grip where I used it in race one a little bit, battling with Buchan, Iddon and O’Halloran and it took me a while to get through and that’s kind-of what let them guys get away.
“Josh had good pace in the first few laps of race two, but I did the best I could do today after a hard day in the office.”
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