Defending champions VisionTrack Ducati had a superb day at the second round of the BennettsBritish Superbike Championship at Snetterton today with riders Christian Iddon and Josh Brookes taking first and second for Paul Bird’s Cumbrian team.
Iddon came out on top of a five-rider battle for the lead and took his maiden Bennetts BSB victory, just over a second clear of Brookes, with the duo both moving up the order in the early season championship standings.
Strong, gusting winds on Friday had reduced considerably today and Brookes and Iddon went into the afternoon’s Datatag Qualifying session at the Norfolk venue having posted the second and seventh fastest times respectively on their factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4 R machines across the two free practice sessions.
The duo were again at the sharp end of the leaderboard during the 25-minute qualifying session and although Brookes was pushed off the front row in the closing moments, he lined up in fourth place and at the head of the second row for the 14-lap race later in the afternoon. Team-mate Iddon took seventh and both riders were confident of scoring a good result in the first race of the weekend despite the strong winds.
The race got underway in dry but blustery conditions and both riders made excellent starts, particularly Iddon as he moved up to second, one place ahead of Brookes. A safety car period soon followed and when racing resumed on the fourth lap, leader Danny Buchan immediately crashed out.
That left Christian with a one second lead over Bradley Ray with Josh in third and the battle for the lead increased as Tommy Bridewell and Glenn Irwin made it a group of five riders. On the tenth lap, Josh took the lead for the first time only for Christian to respond straightaway at Montreal and the move pushed Brookes slightly wide with Ray seizing his opportunity to move up to second.
Going into the final lap, Iddon was looking good and he duly took his first BSB win – at the 139th time of asking – with the team celebrating further as Brookes re-passed Ray and held off Bridewell on the run in to the line for second.
Christian Iddon: “It’s been a long time coming and a long old road so to finally get the win is brilliant. Paul Bird and the VisionTrack Ducati team put their faith in me when other people weren’t so sure, but Paul was, and I really appreciate that so hopefully this is just the beginning. I made a mediocre start but with all the shenanigans at the first few corners, I moved up to second and when Danny fell in front of me, I felt pretty good leading. I misread my board and almost celebrated too early but I got the head back down and, like I say, hopefully this is the start of things to come.”
Josh Brookes: “I’ve got to be happy with second place and finishing on the podium again as that’sreally important with the shortened championship, but I felt a little bit off and am missing a little something. I can’t attack in the race like I’d like, and I’ve got to look at all possibilities as to why that is, so it was a hard-fought race. There was lots of passing going on, but I didn’t feel I was riding as aggressively as I know I can so there’s mixed emotions with second and a bit of work to do.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s been a good day for the whole VisionTrack Ducati team and PBM. Our first 1-2 of the season gets us nicely back on track and gives us something to work with going into tomorrow’s races. Congratulations to Christian on his first BSB win, we are really proud that he was able to do that with the PBM team.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship round four (14 laps)
1 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
2 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
4 Glenn Irwin (Honda)
5 Bradley Ray (BMW)
6 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
Championship Standings (after four rounds)
1 Glenn Irwin 73pts
2 Iddon 59
3 Bridewell 59
4 Andrew Irwin 50
5 O’Halloran 48
6 Brookes 46
Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (25) and Christian Iddon (21).