Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes broke triple champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne’s run of winning form by claiming the victory in the second round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.
The two riders had been inseparable throughout the weekend at the Cheshire circuit with Byrne adding to his winning tally in the opening race aboard his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, though under sustained pressure from Brookes in the closing stages.
Byrne made the break with Brookes ever close on the Mikwaukee Yamaha and then James Ellison aboard the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki, before the Aussie re-established himself in second place, bettering the lap record set in 2006 to cross the line only 0.105s adrift of Byrne.
Byrne said: “The gap to Josh started coming down but I didn’t want to make a mistake, or let up at all or dangle a carrot to him and fortunately I did just enough to hold him off to win.”
Brookes had the pole start for the second race and he made the perfect get-away though Byrne was in close contention and on the second lap they swapped places twice in one corner, but Brookes maintained his position at the front. The Australian was coming under fire from the former champion but he held off Byrne twice as he made moves for the lead.
It was a first victory for Brookes by only 0.118s since joining the Milwaukee Yamaha team, and he said: “I don’t know when I last led a race from start to finish. Shakey came past early on and I had to fight back quickly as I didn’t want to let him go. I made a fairly daring move to get him back and then twice at Island Bends he came back at me, but I thought you will have to do better than that!”
Byrne settled for second but holds his lead in the overall standings ahead of the next round at Snetterton, he added: “That was a great race; the first one was about me, the second about Josh, but I can’t complain with a first and a second here.”
Ellison had continued his consistent run, having claimed third place finishes in each of the four races so far, he said: “I felt comfortable, felt I had the pace and am delighted to maintain my 100% podium finishing record.”
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.105s
3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +6.183s
4. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +8.781s
5. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +13.285s
6. Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +19.139s
1. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.118s
3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +4.892s
4. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +11.841s
5. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +14.145s
6. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) +20.894s