The VisionTrack Ducati pairing of Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon will go into tomorrow’s final two Bennetts British Superbike Championship rounds in first and third place in the title race, separated by just nine points after taking fourth and second respectively in today’s thrilling race at Brands Hatch.
With 17 wins already to his name around the Brands GP circuit, Brookes came into the weekend as favourite and he duly delivered in the Datatag Qualifying session, setting pole position with a time of 1:24.983 for Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team.
That gave the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4R rider the advantage over fellow Aussie Jason O’Halloran but PBM team-mate Christian Iddon put himself in a great position for the afternoon’s race as he claimed third place to complete the front row.
It was Brookes who grabbed the lead on the opening lap of the 16-lap race with Glenn Irwin in second, Iddon third and O’Halloran fourth and it would prove to be the race of the season as positions changed frequently. Irwin pushed Brookes to third on lap five as Iddon also moved ahead and the next few laps saw championship leader Brookes on the end of some tough moves as he found himself back in sixth by lap ten.
He ultimately recovered to take fourth but Iddon was pressing on at the head of the field and took the lead on lap 12 with O’Halloran in second and teammate Tarran Mackenzie in third.
O’Halloran claimed the lead on lap 13 and Christian’s efforts in the final laps were centred on keeping Mackenzie at bay, which he duly did, the net result being Brookes leads the way on 238 points, seven ahead of O’Halloran, with Iddon two further points back in third with 50 still available on the final day’s racing of 2020.
Christian Iddon: “That race was insane, there’s no other way to describe it! You were focusing on trying to find a way by the rider in front of you but whilst you were doing that, two riders would come flying by so there was a lot going on. When Glenn was leading, he was controlling the race but it was perhaps a bit too slow so when I got by him, I tried to push on and edge away which helped and although Jason got the win, second has closed things right up. I’m still trying not to think about the championship but it’s hard to do that when there’s so much going on in a race.”
Josh Brookes: “It was a fantastic race which I’m sure was great to watch but I’m not happy with fourth place. We had a bike which was good enough to win but maybe I took things a bit too cautiously in the early stages. But then again, I could be explaining a different story now and hindsight is a wonderful thing. It just means tomorrow is going to be more exciting for everyone and I must now rider harder and more aggressively, I’ll do whatever is necessary and bring that to the fight tomorrow.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race (16 laps)
1 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
2 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
3 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
4 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
5 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
6 Glenn Irwin (Honda)
Championship Standings (after 16 rounds)
1 Brookes 238pts
2 O’Halloran 231
3 Iddon 229
4 Irwin 217
5 Mackenzie 179
6 Bridewell 153
Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (25) and Christian Iddon (21).