Aug 6, 2011
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British Superbike Race One winner Josh Brookes is flanked by second-place Michael Rutter (left) and third-place Gary Mason (right). Mason is a former AMA Pro and a Daytona 8-Hour winner. Courtesy www.britishsuperbike.com
Relentless Suzuki by TAS and Josh Brookes secured their first win of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship season at Brands Hatch this afternoon after a dramatic opening race that saw several of the leading contenders lose out.
Brookes said: "It was always going to be a tough race and everyone on the grid was rushing to get on intermediate tyres and that was what I had opted for so I felt that was the right choice. I saw Michael (Rutter) had slicks on and knew he would be fast towards the end of the race. I pushed where I could and took it careful where necessary but it proves what a great team we have that we could work through these kind of situations."
As the conditions changed before the race the tyre choice was crucial and as the track continued to dry several of the riders were forced to pit and change to slick tyres during the race including HM Plant Honda's Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Tommy Hill with the title contenders ending the race 16th, 17th and 19th respectively.
On the opening lap Kawasaki WSB's Joan Lascorz took the lead into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time ahead of Byrne and Hopkins with Hill tucked in behind off the pole position. However Byrne took the lead on the second lap, diving down the inside of Lascorz at Graham Hill Bend.
Byrne held the lead until the third lap when Brookes took the lead at Sheene Curve and then he continued to edge out an advantage. Byrne meanwhile dropped down the order rapidly and was forced to pit but only could end the race 16th. John Hopkins had moved second by the fifth lap and pushing hard on the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki and was running strongly in the early stages however he was coming under pressure from Gary Mason on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki. He passed at Paddock Hill Bend but Hopkins fought back and it wasn't until the eighth lap he was able to make it stick.
Mason held second place until the penultimate lap when Michael Rutter on the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati charged through after opting for slick tyres. He stole second place to relegate Mason to third. Hopkins held on to fourth place despite coming under pressure from Chris Walker in the closing stages who had his best result of the season in fifth. James Westmoreland scored a strong sixth place after moving ahead of Graeme Gowland on the Mirror.co.uk BSB Evo who took seventh place ahead of Michael Laverty on the Swan Yamaha. Jon Kirkham and Glen Richards rounded out the top ten.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch Grand Prix, race one result:
1. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS)
2. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +2.072s
3. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +2.322s
4. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +6.022s
5. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +8.111s
6. James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +10.783s
7. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +11.626s
8. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +18.849s
9. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +22.729s
10. Glen Richards (WFR Honda) +26.227s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch race one:
1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 214
2. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 195
3. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 165
4. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 137
5. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 136
6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 121
The next round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship is a triple-header round on the Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch this weekend.
More, from a press release issued by British Superbike Championship organizers:
BROOKES STORMS TO VICTORY AS BYRNE AND HILL FAIL TO SCORE POINTS
Top six finishers race one, 15 laps
1 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 22m 53.718s
2 Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati) + 2.072s
3 Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +2.322s
4 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Suzuki) +6.022s
5 Chris Walker (Pr1mo Kawasaki) +8.111s
6 James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +10.783s
1 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 214pts
2 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Suzuki) 195pts
3 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 165pts
4 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 137pts
5 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 136pts
6 Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 121pts
Josh Brookes made light of his fourth row start to storm through the pack and take his first victory of the season in the opening race of the eighth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship run in the damp of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
The Aussie took charge of the race with hard riding aboard his Relentless Suzuki as his team's choice of fitting intermediate tyres proved to be a winner on an afternoon when both of the title chasing duo of Shane Byrne and Tommy Hill finished out of the points having gambled wrongly with tyre choice.
Both pitted to change to slick tyres as the circuit dried, and for both there was some consolation to make up for their nil points scores as they secured front row starts for the first of tomorrow's (Sunday) two races, with Hill having his Swan Yamaha on pole ahead of the Kawasaki of Joan Lascorz and the Byrne's HM Plant Honda.
Lascorz had led the opening lap from Byrne with Samsung Crescent Suzuki's John Hopkins third ahead of Brookes who had charged through to be fourth at the end of the opening lap. Lascorz was soon slowing, dropping back into third place and then pitting, with Byrne going into the lead on the second lap from Hopkins.
Next time around, Brookes was in the lead from Hopkins with Gary Mason on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki third from Byrne and the leader in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class Graeme Gowland on the WFR Honda.
Brookes was charging clear, running two seconds ahead, as Mason attacked Hopkins to grab second place while further down the pack Rutter, who had opted to run with slick tyres on his Rapid Solicitors Batham Ducati, was gaining places by the lap.
Rutter was running fourth, having overcome his long standing rival Chris Walker, going into the final third of the race while out front Brookes was comfortably clear of Mason and Hopkins. Rutter found a way ahead of Hopkins as the American's Suzuki bucked out of line, with four laps to go and the Ducati rider was soon reeling in Mason.
Rutter was through to second place on the penultimate lap but the victory belonged to Brookes who took his first victory of the season by two seconds and those points moved him ahead of reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari into fifth place in the standings.
Mason matched his previous best result as he took third place with Hopkins fourth and closing within 19 points of Byrne at the top of the standings. Walker was fifth on the Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki ahead of James Westmoreland on the Motorpoint Yamaha.
Gowland, the winner of the BSB-EVO class, finished ahead of Michael Laverty on the second Swan Yamaha and Samsung Suzuki's Jon Kirkham as Glenn Richards, the BSB-EVO class leader, completed the top ten finishers aboard his WFR Honda.
The eighth round continues on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) with races at 13.15 and 16.35.
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