Josh Brookes finally has the win he has craved so much in recent weeks after taking the chequered flag in race one of the day at Brands Hatch.
The Milwaukee Yamaha rider took victory in an eventful race which saw pole-sitter Shane Byrne crash out in spectacular fashion whilst chasing the Australian down.
The reigning champion’s teammate, Stuart Easton, also suffered from a huge crash at the same corner whilst chasing down the top three.
Brookes was joined on the podium by Richard Cooper, who has been impressive all weekend so far and showed that he has the pace to stick with the leaders.
James Ellison returned to the podium thanks to a third place finish, much to his relief after a disappointing couple of rounds.
The Tyco BMW paring of Tommy Bridewell and Michael Laverty were next up in fourth and fifth places respectively, with the returning John Hopkins just behind them in sixth on his Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati.
Luke Mossey (7th) managed to get the better of Dan Linfoot (8th) late-on in the race, with James Westmoreland and Billy McConnell rounding out the top 10.
It was Byrne who made the best start, along with Cooper who made his way through to third from his second-row starting position.
As is always at the case at the start of a race at Brands Hatch, it was crowded going through the Hairpin and a collision between Jason O’Halloran and Peter Hickman sent both men into Danny Buchan and off the track. Josh Waters was also forced to go off the track but was able to re-join at the back of the pack.
By the end of the first lap Ellison had made his way up to fourth, with Easton right on his tail in fifth. Laverty had made a poor start and found himself down in sixth at the end of the first lap.
James Rose suffered a big crash coming out of Hawthorn at the end of lap one, with Michael Rutter falling out of the race a couple of laps later.
By the start of lap four Brookes was all over the back of Byrne and the Australian made his move going through the hairpin.
Moments later there was a terrible crash for Easton coming into Westfield. The PBM Kawasaki rider was sent flying into the gravel trap at high speed, with his machine flying well over the tyre wall. Early reports suggest that there have been no fractures suffered by the Scot, despite being stretchered away from the scene.
Following a safety car period Brookes began to pull out a lead over the chasing pack. Meanwhile further down the field, Chris Walker was forced to retire from the race due to a technical problem.
Byrne set the fastest lap of the race on lap 10 but soon suffered the same fate as his teammate. The reigning champion lost control at Westfield and was sent crashing into the tyres. Once again, early reports suggest that Byrne hasn’t suffered any fractures from the huge crash.
Following another safety car period it was Bridewell who made the best re-start, going round the outside of Laverty at Paddock Hill Bend. Just before the re-start Taylor Mackenzie pulled into the pits with a technical issue on his Team WD40 Kawasaki machine.
In the closing stages there was a good battle for fifth between Linfoot and Hopkins for fifth, with the American initially taking the place at Paddock Hill Bend. Linfoot was having none of it however and re-gained the position at the Hairpin.
Back at the front, Brookes continued to lead without any real threat coming from the chasing pack. Cooper was putting in a good performance in the corners to keep Ellison behind him.
Hopkins managed to get the better of Linfoot once again for fifth position, with Mossey also getting the better of the Honda rider.
At the front Brookes took the chequered flag for the first time on the new Yamaha R1 machine and cuts Byrne’s championship lead down to 10 points going into race two later today.
Brands Hatch Race One Results
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