Round ten of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park today saw the VisionTrack Ducati pairing of Christian Iddon and Josh Brookes endure differing fortunes and whilst Brookes took eighth, teammate Iddon was celebrating with the champagne as he took an excellent second place.
Riding Paul Bird’s factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4Rs, the duo had found the going tough in both of the free practice and the Datatag Extreme Qualifying sessions to start the 16-lap race from row three of the grid for the Penrith-based team.
It was Iddon who made the better of the starts to jump up to fifth at the conclusion of the opening lap with Brookes three places further back and whilst the Australian wasn’t able to make many moves forward, the opposite was true for Iddon.
Indeed, Tyneside-based Iddon gained a place each lap before taking the lead on the fifth lap, a position he held all the way until lap 14 as just a second covered the top six riders for those entire nine laps.
Jason O’Halloran pushed Iddon back to second on lap 14 but Christian immediately retaliated as he set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap. The Yamaha rider wasn’t to be outdone and he went quicker still on the final lap to take the win by three-tenths of a second.
Nevertheless, Iddon claimed his third podium of the season to move back up to fourth in the championship standings with Brookes’ eight points seeing him hold onto third ahead of Sunday’s two races.
Christian Iddon: “I made a great start from seventh on the grid and just picked them off one by one in the first few laps; the bike felt really strong, particularly on the brakes and I felt really comfortable. At the same time, I didn’t really want to take the lead when I did so I tried to set a manageable pace and hit all my markers particularly when I realised I wasn’t able to make the break. Jason had shadowed me for a long time and when he came by, I was more than a match for him on the brakes, but his mid-corner speed was a lot better than mine. We both set our fastest laps of the race at the end which shows how hard we were trying but second is a good start to the weekend.”
Josh Brookes: “I’m smiling through gritted teeth but deep down I’m very disappointed. There’s nothing I can say to make the result any better but eighth is not where I nor the team need to be. We need to improve in Sunday’s two races, that’s for sure and Christian has proved the bike is capable of challenging for a win so it’s down to me. I’m not going to say any more other than tomorrow’s another day and we’ll come out fighting.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round 10 (16 laps)
1 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
2 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
3 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
4 Andrew Irwin (Honda)
5 Glenn Irwin (Honda)
6 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
8 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
Championship Standings (after ten rounds)
1 Glenn Irwin 168pts
2 O’Halloran 138
3 Brookes 130
4 Iddon 126
5 Bridewell 124
6 Ryde 114
Meanwhile, PBM driver Frank Bird was in action at Donington Park where he was making his debut in the BRDC British F3 Championship for the Fortec team. The 21 year old Penrith born driver qualified in 12th place for the opening race meaning he was hopeful of a good result but sadly his race ended on the first lap when he was involved in another driver’s accident and forced to retire.
Frank Bird: “Qualifying was quite good having only driven the car for the first time on Thursday, we were 0.7 seconds off pole and right in the mix with some of the championship contenders. However, the race start was terrible, mainly because I wasn’t used to the clutch, so I didn’t get away well but then another driver spun in front and we all had to take evasive action. I got forced off track and got two punctures as well as damaging my front wing so that was game over. Not an ideal start but I’ve got two races tomorrow to make up for it.”
Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (25) and Christian Iddon (21).