Josh Brookes took his Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha to the teams first ever victory in an arduous race that was more about tyre life than anything else.
Race one got underway after a long delay due to a huge crash in the Superstock 1000 race, which ran just before British Superbikes. The race distance was reduced from twenty to eighteen laps.
Brookes went into the race as a favourite for the win. He is notoriously good around Thruxton, taking the double at the fastest track in the country in 2015 (his championship winning year), and holding the lap record. But it wasn’t plain sailing for the Australian. He qualified in second, but into the first corner slipped back to third as Jake Dixon had the hole shot from Peter Hickman.
A crash from Billy McConnell brought the safety car out on lap two. McConnell’s flaming FS-3 Racing Kawasaki lay in the gravel as the marshalls fought to put out the fire, leaving the grid following the safety car for six laps. Once the safety car went back in, Dixon once again got out in front leaving Brookes to challenge Hickman.
Into lap ten Hickman took the lead, and Brookes was thrown into the grasps of Shane Byrne. By lap eleven, Byrne was all over Brookes’ back tyre, but all the time he was making up time to Dixon who was sitting in second place. Dixon is good on the brakes, which is what kept Brookes at bay for so long. It was the penultimate lap where he took the lead for the first time, and one lap later brought the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha home in first place for the first time this season, from Hickman and Dixon.
Byrne had a fairly lonely ride to fourth, a decent finish for the championship leader considering the struggle he’s shown this weekend. He came to Thruxton with a set-up that worked at Brands Hatch but not around the Hampshire circuit, something that hampered him in the opening sessions of the weekend as the team focused on setting up for Thruxton.
Honda Racing had an up and down race one, with Jason O’Halloran finishing in a respectable sixth, but Dan Linfoot finishing in fifteenth. Linfoot qualified in sixth place on the grid, but just before the safety car came out he was forced back down to twenty third. It is thought that he dropped so far back as he had to avoid McConnell’s crash.
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