It was a double podium return to British Superbikes this weekend for the Fastest Newcomer ever at the Isle of Man TT races. Knockhill in Scotland was the venue for the fourth round of one of the hardest fought domestic championships in the world after a break of five weeks to allow teams to compete at the NW200 and TT Races.
|Brookes on his way to a double podium at Knockhill
Photo: Tyco Suzuki
Many wondered whether Brookes would take time to readjust to the shortest of short circuits after his heroics in the Irish Sea but from Friday First Practice it was clear that the Aussie had only taken heart from his recent performances. After qualifying second by just 0.001s to championship rival Shane Byrne in a thrilling Extreme Qualifying session on Saturday afternoon the Bringelly man had the bit firmly between his teeth come race day.
Race one went almost to plan after Brookes took the lead and looked to make a break from the pursuing Byrne, the pair coming together in the latter stages of the race at the Real Radio Hairpin without issue before Byrne passed Brookes cleanly on the following lap to take the win. Race 2 was a different story as Byrne set the pace for the rest to follow, gapping the chasing Brookes by 2.5s at one point but the determined Aussie dug deep and closed the gap, missing out on the win by just 0.814s after jumping a kerb losing precious tenths on the final lap. Brookes was awarded the Flying Haggis Award in memory of Steve Hislop for posting the fastest lap of the two races in his Race 2 pursuit of Byrne.
Brookes said “In race one I wanted to lead and push to try and make a break on Shakey, but I hit a bit of a wall with my lap times, as the rear tyre was spinning up more than normal – maybe with the track temperature today. We did come together at one stage when he tried to make a pass but it’s wasn’t a big impact, but Shakey came back past and I had to settle for second.
“In race two it was mentally tough watching Shakey ride away from me, but it also spurred me on and I actually made some time back on him towards the end of the race. I just focused on narrowing it down bit-by-bit and seeing the gap come down gave me energy and encouragement.
“I did a brilliant lap to win the Steve Hislop Award, which is a great honour to receive, and we are now second in the championship. It’s all about moving forward now and trying to bridge that gap to Shakey from the next round at Snetterton at the start of July.”