Josh Brookes secured pole position at Thruxton in Hampshire in a thrilling three-part British Superbike Championship qualifying shoot-out yesterday (1 August).
At the fastest circuit in the UK, fans poured in to see their BSB heroes reach speeds of almost 200mph as they battled to secure a top grid position for this weekend’s JG Speedfit round.
The riders ran a scorching pace all day, blitzing the lap record around the 2.37-mile tour. As the bottom 22 were eliminated in the first two sessions it came down to a top ten showdown, with the unusual upset of series leader Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne going out in Q2 – he will start 17th tomorrow.
With just eight minutes to post a time in Q3, it was last year’s Thruxton double winner Brookes who produced a stunning effort of 1:14.464s to grab pole for Milwaukee Yamaha ahead of the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati of John Hopkins, who is enjoying a highly praised return to form. Youngster Luke Mossey completes the front row, setting the stage for an enthralling pair of races today (2 August).
The fans also enjoyed some sensational on-track entertainment from the supporting cast today, including British Sidecars, British Motostar and a British Supersport Championship sprint race.
As well as a full bill of racing action tomorrow, there’s plenty on offer off-track at Thruxton. The state-of-the-art skid pan will be running thrilling passenger demonstrations all day for just £5, while the circuit’s incredible array of supercars are on display to showcase the amazing experiences on offer throughout the year at the Hampshire speedbowl.
Souvenirs, bike gear and more are available in the huge trade village, and fans can take in every breath-taking moment of racing via giant screens at the Chicane and Complex.
Pole-sitter Brookes said: “I knew I had a little bit in reserve for Q3 but I didn’t think it was that much. I put everything on the line and produced a really good time and despite a small mistake on my last lap I improved again and secured pole position. I’m really pleased for the Milwaukee team, they’ve given me a bike I can really push this weekend and that’s given me a lot of confidence. It’s good to see some changes at the front with John back and Luke right up there too – I’m sure the fans at Thruxton are going to enjoy it tomorrow (Sunday).”
Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs said: “What a great start to the weekend we’ve had, and it’s only going to get better from here. It’s a really exciting front row for tomorrow, and with some of the championship front-runners in the mid-pack, I think we’re on for a really cracking day of racing.”
“We’re working hard to give people plenty to see and do here at Thruxton, and it’s great to see fans coming and having a spin on our skid pan and checking out the awesome supercars we’ve got at the circuit too. There’s nothing like a top-level race meeting to show off how exciting Thruxton really is!”
Tickets for race day are available to buy on the gate for £32 – for more information visit www.thruxtonracing.co.uk
For a full event timetable, click here
All images: Ian Hopgood Photography / www.ihphotography.net