Josh Brookes claimed his second victory of the weekend at Brands Hatch after overhauling Lee Costello and James Ellison in a thrilling finish to race two. A track which started wet before drying out created a fascinating tactical battle while the conditions also caught out Alex Lowes and Shane Byrne who both crashed out, ensuring the title race will go down to the wire in race three.
Lowes and Byrne started either side of Brookes on the front row with the two championship contenders opting to start on a wet front and intermediate rear tyre. Brookes chose intermediates all round but it was the wet-shod James Westmoreland who stormed through from the second row to lead at Paddock Hill bend. It didn’t take long for the drama to unfold as Lowes lost control under pressure from Brookes at Druids, crashing out of the race inside two corners. With only a three point lead over Byrne, Alex could have been forgiven for thinking his big chance had gone but the situation was neutralised on lap six when Byrne suffered a near-identical crash, sliding out on the exit of Druids.
With the riders enjoying varying levels of confidence in the treacherous conditions, sizeable gaps were opening up throughout the field with Ellison, Costello and Westmoreland in a class of their own. Costello was the wildcard having not finished in the top ten of a BSB race prior to this weekend but the Halsall Racing rider rode with the assurance of a seasoned campaigner, taking the lead on lap five thanks to an error from Ellison.
At half distance, Brookes was twenty seconds adrift of the leader but as the circuit became drier and drier, the intermediates on the Tyco Suzuki came into their own and the chase was on. Closing in at two seconds per lap, the Australian was up with Westmoreland three laps from home and breezed past on the exit of Clearways but five seconds still separated him from the top two. Just two laps remained.
With the fastest lap of the race on lap 19, the gap was slashed to 2.2s and Ellison had no answer when the Suzuki attacked at Westfield. Costello and the Halsall Racing squad had a maiden win within their grasp when Costello fended off the initial threat from Brookes but Lee’s worn-out wet tyres couldn’t find enough grip exiting Clearways, allowing the sensational Brookes to snatch victory by 0.196s. Ellison completed the podium places with Westmoreland fourth ahead of Chris Walker, PJ Jacobsen and Dan Linfoot.
|2013 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship – 1 Race To Go|
|1||Alex Lowes||623||2||Shane Byrne||620||3||Josh Brookes||596|
|4||James Ellison||578||5||J. Westmoreland||555||6||Ryuichi Kiyonari||522|
|(Photo Credit: Jon Jessop, Honda, Tyco Suzuki, Motorsport Vision, Buildbase BMW)|