VisionTrack Ducati’s Josh Brookes put in two stunning rides at Brands Hatch this afternoon to win both Bennetts British Superbike Championship races and in doing so, clinched the 2020 crown in superb fashion.
The Australian put aside the disappointment of yesterday’s fourth place finish to score maximum points in both 20-lap races today to secure his second title, adding to the one he won in 2015 and also giving Penrith-based Paul Bird Motorsport an unprecedented eighth BSB title.
There was further celebration for the Cumbrian team with Christian Iddon taking third and fourth on the day to clinch third overall in the final championship standings to make it another excellent season for the team, who successfully defended the title they won last year for Ducati with Scott Redding.
The opening race of the day saw Brookes and Iddon start from third and fourth respectively on the grid and it was clear Brookes was in determined mood. He grabbed the lead at the third corner on the opening lap, promptly opening up a gap over the rest of the field on the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4R.
Brookes controlled the opening race thereafter to take his fourth win of the season ahead of fellow Aussie Jason O’Halloran with Iddon in third meaning all three riders were still in contention for the title going into the series finale with Brookes leading O’Halloran by 12 points and Iddon just 18 points adrift of his teammate.
The final race of the season saw Brookes and Iddon start from second and fourth on the grid and once againBrookes took the lead immediately and was never headed. Despite extreme pressure from both Tarran Mackenzie and teammate O’Halloran, he swept to a 19th victory around the Brands Hatch GP circuit and a 54th career win, clinching the title in the process.
For Iddon, his title challenge just fell short as he ended the second race in fourth place which saw him clinch third overall in the standings, a superb effort in his first year with the team.
Josh Brookes: “It feels awesome to win the title and a lot of my talking was done out on the track today. When I’m under pressure, I seem to be able to find that little bit more and get the results when I need to, which is exactly what I’ve done today. I had to ride aggressively in both races and although I only needed to finish third in the final race to clinch the championship, I didn’t want to win the title with a third, I wanted to win. It’s been a hard fought year and I was pushed hard all weekend but the bike worked really well and it felt natural to go out there and win so a big thank you to everyone at the PBM team.”
Christian Iddon: “When I left the pre-season test at Donington Park in 18th place, I would have settledfor third in the championship but in reality, I’m disappointed. To take it to the final race of the season was always the plan and congratulations to both Jason and of course, my teammate Josh for winning the title. I can’t thank Paul Bird and the whole VisionTrack team enough, they have been superb and to end up first and third in the championship is a fantastic effort. And I guess I should be happy with being the best non-Australian in the standings!”
Paul Bird, Team Owner: “That went to plan and congratulations to Josh who rode impeccably under such pressure. He never buckled at all and he deserves the championship, I’m just glad he got out of bed the right side today! I’d like to thank Stuart Higgs and his team for their hard work in getting the championship on although it’s been strange and sad without the fans. Well done to Christian too, he’s been a pleasure to work with this season and third in the final standings is a great achievement on his first year in the team. That’s eight titles and 123 race wins now so thanks to our sponsors, my friends and my family and a special mention for my dad, without whose help none of this would be possible so this one’s for him.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round 17 (20 laps)
1 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
2 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
3 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
4 Andrew Irwin (Honda)
5 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
6 Luke Mossey (BMW)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round 18 (20 laps)
1 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
2 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
3 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
4 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
5 Glenn Irwin (Honda)
6 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
Final Championship Standings (after 18 rounds)
1 Brookes 288pts
2 O’Halloran 267
3 Iddon 258
4 Glenn Irwin 226
5 Mackenzie 215
6 Andrew Irwin 172
Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (25) and Christian Iddon (21).