It was a perfect summer day of racing action at Thruxton, as the fastest circuit in the UK welcomed the British Superbike Championship and a legion of avid fans through the gates for the JG Speedfit round.
Supporters streamed onto the spectacular viewing banks and filled the grandstands to enjoy two epic BSB scorchers, plus a huge array of supporting action and plenty of off-track entertainment too.
Josh Brookes took his second Thruxton double in as many years to the delight of his Milwaukee Yamaha team, while two new riders visited the BSB podium in the form of James Westmoreland and Luke Mossey.
Following a scintillating qualifying session it was Brookes on pole for race one ahead of John Hopkins who showed an impressive return to form this weekend on the Ducati, with youngster Mossey in third.
When the lights went out for the opening contest, Brookes maintained the lead while Hopper fought a bucking front wheel to just stay in second. As the race began to settle, however, the Suzuki of Christian Iddon dropped oil on the entrance to the high-speed Church Corner and the red flags came out as Showdown contenders James Ellison and Richard Cooper fell.
Brookes, Hopkins and Dan Linfoot broke away from the pack after the red flag period, and had it not been for late mechanical issues for Hopper the trio would have locked out the podium. Hopkins’ heartache was joy for Westmoreland who inherited third across the line.
Race two was another thriller, with Brookes and Hopkins once again leading the way. Championship challenger Shane Byrne – who had been struggling earlier in the weekend – worked his way through the field, and with a late crash for Hopkins who was again in second, ‘Shakey’ secured the runner-up spoils and young charger Mossey got his first podium.
Brookes rounded off a brilliant weekend by securing the race lap record at Thruxton – one that has stood since way back in 2006 when Gregorio Lavilla posted a time of 1:14.890s on his Ducati. Now Brookes holds the record at 1:14.884s, and said, “I’m really happy and it’s the cherry on top of a great weekend, especially as it’s stood for so many years.”
There was battling abound in the support series, with highlights from the Supersport feature race which was dominated by Luke Stapleford, a sensational resurgence by Alastair Seeley in National Superstock 1000 and some elbows-out action from the youngsters in the British Motostar and KTM British Junior Cup.
With big screens at the Chicane and Complex fans didn’t miss a moment of the action, and the packed pit lane walk and trade area made it a full day of fun in the sun.
Double race winner Josh Brookes said: “We were carrying confidence in the team this weekend, and Thruxton has always been a good circuit for me. I got my first win here, one of my favourite ever races was here and I had a double here last year, so to achieve another double is really pleasing. I need to thank the Milwaukee Yamaha team – they put a great bike under me this weekend. It was typical of my style to crash doing a burnout, so congratulations to me for that!”
Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs said: “What a brilliant weekend we’ve had here at Thruxton. Crowd numbers were up on all three days, and today fans in the packed-out grandstands and on the banks were treated to some amazing racing. Watching these bikes flat-out and nudging 200mph on a track where there aren’t really any straights is something you don’t get anywhere else in the country, and you can see how rewarding it is for the riders when they get it right. Big congratulations to Josh Brookes on another double win here – he’s becoming something of a specialist!”
“Thanks must be given to all our hard-working marshals, officials, medical staff and everyone else who makes the event possible, and of course to all the fans that came along to support such an amazing motorsport event here in Hampshire. We’re already counting down the days to the next exciting instalment of BSB at Thruxton.”
All images by Ian Hopgood Photography / www.ihphotography.net