Josh Brookes completed his second consecutive golden weekend of the 2015 MCE British Superbike Championship by taking victory in race two at Thruxton.
Riding the #25 Milwaukee Yamaha, Brookes commanded the pace to win by 5.5s ahead of his championship rival Shane Byrne, while Luke Mossey finished third for Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
Brookes continued his race one-winning form by jumping ahead of pole-sitter Dan Linfoot at the start. The Australian rider then stretched out a small but manageable lead to John Hopkins, who had also usurped Linfoot, in the opening laps.
Brookes made confirmation of his impressive pace by breaking Gregorio Lavilla’s 2006 lap record with a 1:14.884 effort early on. However, Hopkins refused to be shaken off and continued to press hard in pursuit of the championship leader, bringing the lead gap down to half a second.
The safety car then made an appearance on lap 10 as marshals attended to the felled Jack Kennedy, who had impressed in the early stages during a frantic duel with Byrne’s Kawasaki. Kennedy, who walked away from the incident, had been on course for a top five finish but an error heading into the tight Campbell right-hander ensured a premature end to his day.
The brief intervention from the safety car allowed the field to bunch up behind Brookes and Hopkins, who had been pulled back into the clutches of the chasing pack after making a break in the first half. Brookes seemed to have control of the field as he backed off prior to the restart, but soon found himself slowing again as he approached the safety car on the entrance to the chicane.
This slight misjudgement gave Hopkins his best chance to take the race lead, but the American’s hard work would count for nothing as he slid off his Ducati at the chicane on lap 16. Hopkins’ uncharacteristic error gave Linfoot, who had been shadowing the leading pair all race, second position overall, while Mossey was on course for his best-ever British Superbike result in third.
With three laps to go, Brookes was seemingly home and dry, although the dice for second was still wide open. Mossey was the first to move, dragging past Linfoot’s Honda in the back section. Linfoot appeared to be measuring himself up for a response but was interrupted by a ruthless Byrne who scythed past both riders at the chicane on the following lap.
Byrne’s superior brakes served him well in the final section, but for the rest of the 2.3 mile tour (on which Superbikes average around 110 mph) the former MotoGP racer was placed under immense pressure from his younger rivals.
However, it was in Byrne’s favoured chicane section where Mossey decided to launch his next attack, sweeping around Byrne’s outside in a brilliant display of precision. Mossey looked set to hold on for a memorable second place finish, but another late-braking masterclass from Byrne once again pushed the 22 year old back to third.
Brookes continued to push at the head of the field and was rewarded with a comfortable victory as a result, while Byrne crossed the line in second ahead of Mossey, who probably would have taken the place if there had been an extra lap. Tommy Bridewell returned from his scary race one crash to dispatch Linfoot and take fourth place overall, while Michael Laverty finished sixth to maintain his fifth position in the standings.
The win means that Brookes’ recently acquired championship lead over Byrne has been extended to 12 points as the BSB circus heads to Cadwell Park on August 21-23.