The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit hosted a dramatic sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship today as Josh Brookes claimed his first victory of the season to uphold Australian sporting honour.
His win came as home hero and standings leader Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne dramatically crashed out of the first race after taking the lead from Brookes.
The Aussie was unable to complete the double though as local hero Byrne avenged his earlier crash by leading throughout the second race, taking his eighth victory of the season aboard the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki.
Byrne had earlier paid the penalty for a daring move to snatch the lead at Hawthorns at two thirds distance when he dived through on the inside of Brookes, only to lose the front end of his bike and crash out of contention at high-speed.
Brookes watched the drama unfold: “Shakey was suddenly going up the inside and faster than I was on a tighter line which is harder to achieve. I thought perhaps his bike was performing better than mine and the next minute whoosh, he was off. I was lucky not to get caught up and looked over my shoulder in disbelief.
“As for the win, it feels good but I feel like I have been trying hard all season and it is a great surprise to finally get the win,” added Brookes who led the two Samsung Honda’s of Alex Lowes and three times title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari over the line.
Byrne’s team worked frantically to rebuild his smashed bike for the second race and he repaid their efforts with a faultless ride, leading throughout from Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison, also avenging a first race crash, with Lowes third from Brookes and Kiyonari.
Byrne said: “I feel much better now I have won, earlier I felt really disappointed for my team. I got the lead in the first race and thought brilliant, but before I knew it I was exiting straight out the side door! This victory is for the team for getting the bike out there for me.”
For Byrne, it was the 49th MCE BSB victory of his career and leaves him 21 points clear of Lowes in the standings, who regained second place by only a single point from Brookes. The top six in the standings features five different manufacturers with Jon Kirkham locking out the current top six for Buildbase BMW.
1: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
2: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.243s
3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +8.268s
4: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +13.964s
5: PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +18.343s
6: Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +20.469s
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.191s
3: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.289s
4: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +2.815s
5: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +7.010s
6: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +8.044s
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 232
2: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 211
3: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 210
4: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 120
5: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 110
6: Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 100