Josh Brookes got his Bennetts British Superbike Championship title attack firmly back on track at Oulton Park today (Monday) as the Be Wiser Ducati rider celebrated a double race win in Cheshire to fire himself back into the top six in the early standings after a tough opening round.
Brookes had been strong throughout the weekend as the 2015 champion arrived in Cheshire determined to make amends for a non-point score at the Silverstone season opener.
The Be Wiser Ducati ace became the third different rider to claim a victory in 2019 as he held off Tommy Bridewell in the opening race. Ducati became the third race-winning manufacturer so far this season, and marking the first triumph for the new V4R.
Brookes and Bridewell made a breakaway at the front of the pack with the Oxford Racing Ducati rider shadowing the Australian throughout the 17 lap race but he couldn’t find the opportunity to make a pass and, despite piling on the pressure, the Be Wiser Ducati team emerged victorious.
Jason O’Halloran had initially been holding third place over the opening laps but the McAMS Yamaha rider was soon under threat as Danny Buchan carved his way up the order from sixth to close in on the Australian by the tenth lap.
O’Halloran was defending but the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider was determined, made his move and gradually edged out an advantage to the finish line. The battle for fifth went down to the wire between Scott Redding and Peter Hickman, with the Bennetts BSB rookie holding off the challenges of the Smiths Racing BMW rider despite his circuit knowledge to claim a hard-fought fifth place.
Keith Farmer was the leading Tyco BMW to cross the finish line at the chequered flag, claiming seventh place as teammate Christian Iddon was forced to retire despite battling in the top five during the opening stages of the race.
At the start of the second race Brookes again launched to the front of the pack on the Be Wiser Ducati ahead of O’Halloran and Bridewell, but the Oxford Racing Ducati rider was instantly on the attack and on the second lap and moved ahead of the McAMS Yamaha.
O’Halloran was fighting hard but he was soon under pressure from Iddon and Buchan. Iddon edged the Tyco BMW down the inside at Old Hall on lap four with Buchan then diving down the inside at Lodge to push O’Halloran back down the order.
Redding was also on the move and he was shadowing O’Halloran for fifth place; which he grabbed on the run into Old Hall at the start of the sixth lap as Mackenzie closed in on the pair. Mackenzie was pushing his teammate and he also made a move as the Australian continued to push on despite still suffering from a shoulder injury from last week’s test.
As Brookes held off Bridewell for the win in the closing stages, Buchan celebrated his third consecutive podium finish for FS3-Racing Kawasaki, with Redding holding fourth after fending off the final push from Mackenzie over the closing laps.
Iddon claimed his best result of the season in sixth place for Tyco BMW ahead of O’Halloran and Farmer who battled with his McAMS Yamaha rival until the finish. Andrew Irwin managed to get the better of rookie Ryan Vickers in the closing stages to finish ninth ahead of the Superbike rookie.