2015 turned out to be the year of Josh Brookes as he reached the top of the British Superbike ladder following several years of coming close to winning the title.
Consistency was the key for Brookes and his Milwaukee Yamaha team as they developed the brand new R1 machine throughout the year and turned it into an unstoppable bike.
The season took many twists and turns and we at The Checkered Flag are on-hand to take you through the key moments of the year.
Ellison makes the perfect start
James Ellison is often considered to be the unluckiest man in motorcycle racing after all the injuries he has suffered over the years.
Coming into the new year however there was a feeling around the paddock that Ellison, on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki, could be about to put in a strong title challenge.
Ellison’s start to the season certainly supported that feeling as he won three of the first four races to take an early championship lead.
Ellison’s luck took a familiar turn at Snetterton however with the former Moto GP rider being left battered and bruised after a crash in a wet qualifying session at Snetterton.
Ellison lost the championship lead to Shane Byrne that weekend before crashing out of both races at Knockhill.
He bounced back to a third and fourth place finish at Brands Hatch but bad luck would strike once again at Thruxton with the 35-year-old breaking his wrist after losing control of his bike on the oil from Richard Cooper’s machine.
Ellison had four none-scoring races in a row during this period and his championship dream was over once again.
Byrne takes over at the top
With Ellison suffering from injuries and mechanical issues reigning champion Byrne stepped up and took full advantage.
Byrne was already in contention when Ellison fell in the wet qualifying session at Snetterton but he took it to another level afterwards by winning both races in Norfolk and the following two in Scotland, at Knockhill.
The four-time champion looked set to continue his winning run at Brands Hatch as he took pole position but race one would throw up all kinds of problems for Byrne and his PBM Kawasaki teammate Stuart Easton.
Easton was battling for fourth position when he suffered from a horrific high speed crash at hawthorn which through him into the barriers.
The Scot was left with multiple leg injuries including ligaments damage to his knee and a lower leg fracture.
A few laps later Byrne suffered a very similar crash at the same corner whilst chasing down Brookes for the lead of the race.
He was left battered and bruised but managed to finish in second place in the second race of the day, behind the Australian.
Byrne struggled in the next couple of rounds, qualifying in 17th position at Thruxton and 11th at Cadwell Park.
Consistent Brookes takes over
Whilst Ellison and Byrne battled at the front and had their own problems there was one man who was consistently finishing on the podium.
Brookes finished on the podium nine times in the opening 10 races of the season as he continued to adapt to the brand new Yamaha machine.
Although frustrated at the lack of a victory the Australian knew that he had plenty of points in the bag.
Brookes’ fortunes turned at Brands Hatch as he stormed to a double victory in dominating fashion.
Brookes was unstoppable at the next couple of rounds, with a double at Thruxton and a double at Cadwell Park.
A rare off day at Oulton Park gave Byrne and the other challengers a glimpse of fighting back but this was only a blip as Brookes would win the next six races and take the title for the first time.
The Australian was a deserving champion and showed that consistency is the key if you are to become a champion.
The nearly-man of BSB became champion by perfecting the new R1 and now leaves the series for a new challenge in World Superbike on the team’s new BMW machine.
Best of the rest
Behind the top three riders there were plenty more that showed some potential on their new machines but injuries ultimately hampered some of their seasons.
Easton and Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran started their season’s well and were in contention for a showdown place until injuries struck.
O’Halloran suffered a broken right femur and two broken bones in his left hand in a qualifying crash at Thruxton causing him the miss the rest of the season.
Elsewhere the Tyco BMW paring of Tommy Bridewell and Michael Laverty bounced back from a slow start on the team’s new machine to become constant top five challengers.
Bridewell ended the season with five podiums whilst Laverty took victory in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch to send a message to the other teams that that he will be a challenger in 2016.
Luke Mossey is another name that I had to talk about in my season review after having a superb debut season in the top class with the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team.
After a rough few opening rounds Mossey soon found his feet in the championship with a couple of seventh place finishes around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
A front-row start at Thruxton followed along with his first podium finish after a third place in the second race of the day.
Mossey would continue to battle within the top six riders for the rest of the season and finished on the podium once again at Assen.
He ended the season in seventh position and showed great potential at the first time of asking BSB he will be one to look out for in 2016.