Defending champions VisionTrack Ducati faced some contrasting conditions for rounds 13, 14 and15 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park today but riders Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon excelled to emerge first and second in the title race going into the final round.
With torrential rain wiping out most of yesterday’s proceedings, organisers re-arranged the schedule so that for the first time in series history, three races would take place today with grid positions determined by free practice times from Friday which put Brookes on pole for the first 15-lap race and Iddon on row two.
It was still cool and damp for the opening race but both of Penrith-based Paul Bird’s riders made good starts and were immediately running inside the top four on the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4 Rs with Iddon up to second and Brookes fourth initially. A drying track eventually saw Iddon consolidate second place with his Australian teammate elevating himself onto the podium also in third.
The result meant Tyneside-based Iddon held a slender championship lead going into race two where by now, the sun was shining with a completely dry track all around the 2.5-mile GP circuit. 2015 champion Brookes soon worked his way to the front, taking the lead for the first time on lap five from where he controlled proceedings to take his 52nd career BSB victory and with it, the lead of the 2020 series for the first time. Iddon couldn’t match his first race finish but battled to sixth to drop to second in the standings.
The final race of the weekend looked like it would serve up another race win for Brookes as he led for the first half of the race but in the end he had to settle for third with Iddon just missing the podium in fourth meaning Brookes enjoys a 16-point lead over his teammate going into the final three races of the season at Brands Hatch in a fortnight.
Josh Brookes: “The target is always to win a race at the slowest possible speed as the faster you go, the more you risk. In the second race, I had a couple of minor issues, so I tried to maintain my rhythm and the lead which I was able to do for the win. It was a lot trickier in the first race when I had to ride more conservatively due to the damp. The bike was moving around a lot, so it was all about consolidating the points. In the final race, I tried to keep the lead for as long as possible, but I didn’t have the pace to win so brought the bike home for some more good points. It’s been a strong weekend and great to lead the championship going into the final meeting at Brands Hatch.”
Christian Iddon: “The main focus was to leave Donington Park still with a good chance of thechampionship and I’ve managed that and got the boxes ticked. It was good to get on the podium in the first race in the damp conditions, but I struggled quite a lot in the second race with a couple of issues. We improved the bike for the final race but fourth was the best I could do although maybe I should have tried a different plan in hindsight. I’m just 16 points off the championship lead with all to play for at Brands Hatch, although we missed a couple of opportunities to close the gap today but either way, I’m looking forward to it.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “First and second in the championship is all we could really ask for going into the final round of the season, so we are very much in the game. Both riders have been consistent this weekend and scored good points in very difficult conditions at times. We’ll now go back to the workshop and prepare for Brands Hatch in the hope that we can emulate our 1-2 finish in the series of last year which would be a remarkable achievement.”
The final round takes place at Brands Hatch in Kent on October 16-18.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round 13 (15 laps)
1 Andrew Irwin (Honda)
2 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
3 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
4 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
5 Ryan Vickers (Kawasaki)
6 Gino Rea (Suzuki)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round 14 (15 laps)
1 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
2 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
3 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
4 Gino Rea (Suzuki)
5 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
6 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round 15 (15 laps)
1 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
2 Glenn Irwin (Honda)
3 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
4 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
5 Gino Rea (Suzuki)
5 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings (after 15 rounds)
1 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) 225 points
2 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 209
3 Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 207
4 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha) 206
5 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha) 179
6 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati) 146
Pictures courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (podium) and Christian Iddon (21).