Josh Brookes took two pole positions and the fastest two-wheel lap ever recorded from his weekend at the Brands Hatch GP circuit on his way to securing fifth place in the 2011 British Superbike Championship yesterday.
After taking second place in Saturday's first of three races, Brookes unfortunately crashed out of Sunday's opener whilst challenging for the victory at Paddock Hill in less than perfect conditions. This gave him a sixth-row grid position for the final race of the year, but the Australian excelled on the opening lap making up 10 places.
From there he posted fastest lap after fastest lap to get in amongst the fight for second place, but after pushing so hard in the early stages to make up lost ground, he'd unfortunately used the best of his tyre, eventually finishing sixth.
"In that first race I was full of confidence knowing that I was starting from pole position. We've had an awesome weekend as far as lap times and the pace is concerned, but like a similar pattern to the rest of the year, luck just hasn't been on our side. If that first race had just stayed wet? I love it in the wet as much as I do in the dry, but it didn't stay wet and it wasn't exactly dry either and I caught one water patch in the middle of Paddock Hill bend.
"The spooky thing is I fell off running second at the first round of the year and also in the last race of the year here at Brands - both times chasing Shakey at Paddock Hill. This time I didn't go up so high and just slid off the low side! I damaged the bike pretty bad as it usually does and the last thing the guys want to be doing at the last round is working on motorbikes, but full credit to them. The bike was mint and exactly as it has been all weekend for the final race.
"I had to start from 21st on the grid, so I just put the hat backwards and went as hard as I could. I bridged the gap but by the time I got to the leading group I'd worked that hard my tyre was shot to pieces.
"I was able to pass Michael Laverty and thought I was going to keep going, but I was riding as hard as I could and started to lose ground in certain areas and Michael ended up getting back by me as well. It's a tough way to end the season but I've enjoyed it all the way. Whilst we're putting on a good show and the crowd are cheering for us, it takes all the riders to do that and I think I played my part. I certainly enjoyed racing it this year. Thanks to everyone in the team for their support and also our sponsors."
Philip Neill - Team Manager:
"Josh has shown signs of brilliance again this year and confirms without doubt that he has the pedigree to win the British Championship. It also proves the pedigree of the TAS Racing GSX-R1000. It would have been nice to come home with a race win and we probably should have won on Saturday, but Michael Laverty did a great job holding Josh off.
"One small error on a damp track on Sunday in the first race was unfortunate and we wouldn't criticise him for that in tough conditions. The new rules didn't allow him a lap time for a decent grid positions, but to ride from 21st to sixth place was one of the highlights of the season for Josh.
"Thanks to every one of the boys in the team and also to Josh. They have all done a great job this year and thanks to our sponsors: Suzuki, Relentless, Worx, Beacon, Motul, Red Torpedo and our trade partners for their support. We wouldn't be here without them and we can now look forward to the Sunflower Trophy in two weeks' time."
British Superbike Championship race two:
1: Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 2: Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +1.150s 3: James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +11.994s 4: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +12.825s 5: Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +23.993s 6: Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +27.829s 7: Tommy Bridewell (Motorpoint Yamaha) +29.403s 8: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +40.713s 9: Dan Linfoot (Tyco Honda) +46.981s 10:Karl Harris (Splitlath Aprilia) +49.918s DNF: Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS)
British Superbike Championship final race:
1: Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 2: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +4.434s 3: John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +4.440s 4: James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +4.679s 5: Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.782s 6: Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +5.785s 7: Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +12.253s 8: Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +15.963s 9: Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +16.130s 10: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +24.203s
Final British Superbike Championship standings:
1 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 647 2 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 645 3 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 625 4 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 601 5 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 598 6 Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 526