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|10-19-2015, 04:11 AM||#1|
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Josh Brookes Crowned At Brands Hatch
Josh Brookes (1) seals the deal at Brands Hatch after beating Shane Byrne (67) in race one. Photo Courtesy of BSB
It was a near perfect weekend for Josh Brookes at the British Superbike season finale at Brands Hatch. The Milwaukee Yamaha rider won two out of three races, either winning it or binning it, but most importantly took home the crown, a feat that makes him the first Australian to be named British Superbike Champion since Troy Bayliss in 1999.
Brookes was able to secure the championship a day early, on Saturday. It wasn’t won easily though. Brookes and his rival Shane Byrne on the PBM Kawasaki traded blows at the front of the pack. It was an epic battle, but Brookes refused to lose and made the move on the reigning champ on lap 12 to take the lead and hold it until the checkered flag, taking the title and his 12th win of the season. American John Hopkins rounded out the podium in third.
“It’s amazing,” Brookes said. “For me I feel like that kid that grew up in Bringelly, a country town west of Sydney, and went to Bringelly Public School, and rode a dirt bike around in a field, and did it for fun, and then one day it was a race, and another race, and then it turned into a career.
“To be sat here next to Shakey [Shane Byrne] and John Hopkins and be taking the British Championship is something that people have said over the years you’d never do and never get close to. I’ve always had some unknown desire since a young age to pursue motorbikes as a career, so it’s not something I can put in words, but it’s something I feel and it feels great.”
The Australian went on to credit his rival Byrne, enjoying the competition and acknowledging how it made him grow as a racer.
“Early this year I went to the German Championship, rode the IDM and during the race, I ended up third, I was in a battle with some other guys and I just thought, this is easy compared to racing against Shakey Byrne,” he said. “When you race against a guy like this week in week out, it just toughens you up and it really is a challenge and every time you think that you’ve got an advantage, he puts something into the mix that makes you eat your words.”
Byrne also credited Brookes.
"I tried my absolute hardest all the way to the end and I promised the team I’d give 110 percent,” Byrne said. “I did everything to keep the championship alive, and these championships don’t come on the back of Kellog’s Frosties packets – you have to earn them and Josh certainly earned it this year. There’s no disputing the fact he’s won however many races it’s been, been on the podium as many times as he’s been, you can’t not deserve a championship after all that.”
Brookes carried on with his winning ways, taking his 13th win of the season in race two, besting Byrne once again and was joined on the podium by Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty.
After locking up the title, Brookes was going for it. Unfortunately for the newly crowned champ that ended up in an off-track excursion. Photo Courtesy of BSB
In race three, Brookes lucky streak came to an end and he ended up in the grass. Although it would’ve been nice to sweep the weekend, Brookes had plenty to be happy about.
“I would have loved to have won all three races,” said Brookes. “There’s been times when I’ve made a reference to myself and Randy Mamola, the guy that’s famous for coming second. There were so many times that I went home from the racetrack, just thinking about what I could to combat Shakey Byrne and how I can stop coming second, and how I could improve something to make that step. Unfortunately for Shane, we’ve exchanges positions, and I’m able to enjoy the feeling that he’s had for so long.”
Brookes also felt it was fitting to ‘go big or go home’ in that last race. The title was locked up. The season was at an end. What did he have to lose?
“It kind of suited me to go out fighting in the last race,” he said. “I had nothing to gain and was not prepared to run around in sixth place. I was going for the front, going as hard as I could and was just unlucky to clip the curb and I went down – that was it. But at the end of the day, it is a case of job complete and I am the British Superbike Champion.”
The honors went to someone else for a change – Laverty, who topped JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Ellison and Byrne.
2015 Brands Hatch British Superbike Race One Results:
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