Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes secured the British Superbike crown for the first time this weekend following a stunning season a solid victory at the Brands Hatch Finale weekend.
Race one of the weekend saw the 2015 title wrapped up as Brookes secured the victory in an intense battle, mirroring the season as a whole.
Reigning champion and title rival Shane Byrne took the lead on the opening lap and was closely stalked by the Australian in the early stages of the race, and despite almost losing his chances on lap eight, Brookes made the move on lap 14 to secure the win and the championship with Byrne having to settle for second place.
John Hopkins secured the final trophy with his first podium for Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati, followed by Bennetts Suzuki’s Christian Iddon in fourth as Buildbase BMW’s Lee Jackson was able to get his career best of fifth place.
Signing 2015 off in style, freshly crowned champion Brookes took his sixth straight victory in race two.
In a similar show to race one, Brookes was behind the four time champion Byrne and made his move, this time at Westfield. Not looking back aboard his Milwaukee Yamaha, Brookes took the victory by over three seconds ahead of Byrne with Michael Laverty securing third.
Race three proved to fans that the world of racing can be unpredictable as Brookes crashed out of the final race and Michael Laverty stood on the top step of the podium for the first time in 2015.
Making his first big mistake of the season, Brookes lost the front end of his R1 on lap eight going into Graham Hill Bend which lost him his opportunity to make a clean sweep of victories at Brands.
After his podium debut in race one, Hopkins took the lead as the lights went out, followed by an early fight for the lead with Byrne, Ellison and Laverty. This four way battle gave Brookes chance to regain time on the leaders following a slow start.
Brookes’ crash early on in the race meant the leaders were able to break away from the rest of the field, as Laverty didn’t crack under the pressure from Byrne and Ellison aboard his Tyco BMW.
Despite a tense last lap battle the Irishman took the victory by 0.237s ahead of Ellison and Byrne.
Newly crowned champion Brookes describes his drama filled weekend: “I would have loved to have won all three races today. It kind of suited me to go out fighting in the last race; 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 kerb and I went down – that was it.
“I couldn’t see through Michael Laverty; racing with Shakey all year, I can almost subconsciously judge where the apex of a corner is from his riding style. But at the end of the day, it is a case of job complete and I am the British Superbike Champion. This result is for the whole team for all their hard work this season.”
“I gave it my all in the first race to try and keep the championship alive and there wasn’t much more I could do than that, explains Byrne who was gracious in defeat. “Today, there was a glimmer of hope as when he came by he wasn’t as ridiculously fast and I was able to hang in for a few more laps than before. However, there were a couple of sectors where Josh was just too strong, but I did my best.
The championship was always going to be difficult this year, well done to Josh and Yamaha, championships aren’t handed to you and you don’t win as many races as what they’ve done without deserving it. We’ll come back next year and try our best to win it back.”
Ellison had a tough final round: “That last race really was a fantastic way to end the season, obviously I’m a little disappointed not to get the win but it wasn’t through lack of trying! The entire race was an awesome battle, both Shakey and Laverty’s bikes had differing strengths so it was really hard to make a move stick. It’s great to be back on the podium and fair play to Josh, he rode an amazing season and fully deserved the Championship.”
“We kept the best to last, but all credit to the Tyco BMW lads, explains race three winner Laverty. “They have kept their faith in me and this is a perfect reward for their efforts. We’ve been building towards a win this past few rounds and since we had the upgrades at Assen, I’ve always believed we’d have top three pace.
“Coming into Brands at the weekend I was thinking I’d love stand on the top step, and after a few tweaks after race one, I really rode race two with a lot of heart – I wanted that win. In the early laps I wanted to get to the front but was scared of over working my tyre, but thankfully I had grip right until the end. I was a little weak into the second last corner and I knew the boys would have a go, but I kept going straight back at them. This win is as much for the whole team as it is for me, but thanks to the boys for giving me a great package as my S1000RR worked perfectly.”
1. Josh Brookes AUS Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 20 laps, 28m 52.991s
2. Shane Byrne GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +2.583s
3. John Hopkins USA Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati Panigale R +2.746s
4. Christian Iddon GBR Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 +4.033s
5. Lee Jackson GBR Buildbase BMW S1000RR +8.047s
6. James Ellison GBR JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10R +8.933s
7. Luke Mossey GBR Quattro Plant Kawasaki ZX-10R +9.002s
8. Danny Buchan GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +9.662s
9. Michael Laverty GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR +10.105s
10. Jakub Smrz CZE Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 +10.370s
1. Josh Brookes AUS Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 19 laps, 27m 26.648s
2. Shane Byrne GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +3.842s
3. Michael Laverty GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR +7.767s
4. John Hopkins USA Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati Panigale R +7.882s
5. James Ellison GBR JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10R +8.174s
6. Lee Jackson GBR Buildbase BMW S1000RR +8.237s
7. Luke Mossey GBR Quattro Plant Kawasaki ZX-10R +8.411s
8. Christian Iddon GBR Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 +8.615s
9. Danny Buchan GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +9.684s
10. Dan Linfoot GBR Honda Racing CBR1000RR +12.590s
1. Michael Laverty GBR Tyco BMW S1000RR 20 laps, 28m 58.931s
2. James Ellison GBR JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10R +0.237s
3. Shane Byrne GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +0.419s
4. Dan Linfoot GBR Honda Racing CBR1000RR +2.087s
5. Christian Iddon GBR Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 +2.547s
6. Luke Mossey GBR Quattro Plant Kawasaki ZX-10R +2.710s
7. Danny Buchan GBR PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R +2.735s
8. John Hopkins USA Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati Panigale R +3.166s
9. Jakub Smrz CZE Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 +3.470s
10. Howie Mainwaring Smart GBR Quattro Plant Kawasaki ZX-10R +5.274s
C Josh Brookes Milwaukee Yamaha 703
2 Shane Byrne PBM Kawasaki 662
3 James Ellison JG Speedfit Kawasaki 614
4 Michael Laverty Tyco BMW 601
5 Dan Linfoot Honda Racing 556
6 Tommy Bridewell Tyco BMW 545
7 Luke Mossey Quattro Plant Kawasaki 168
8 Richard Cooper Buildbase BMW 156
9 Peter Hickman RAF Reserves BMW 150
10 Stuart Easton PBM Kawasaki 146