Thrux­ton BSB pre­view

Lap record- holder Josh Brookes gets set to shine at su­per-fast cir­cuit

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - OLI RUSHBY BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com @Mc­n­sport­mo­tor­cy­cle­news

‘You’re con­stantly chang­ing gear, throt­tle open on the side of the tyre’ JOSH BROOKES

The MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship heads to the fastest cir­cuit on the cal­en­dar this week­end with the su­per-quick, flow­ing Thrux­ton play­ing host to the sev­enth round of the cham­pi­onship.

The 2.36-mile cir­cuit presents a unique chal­lenge as rid­ers cover the dis­tance with an av­er­age speed of 124mph – one of the high­est av­er­age speeds of any cir­cuit in the world, in­clud­ing Mo­togp.

“Thrux­ton is unique,” ex­plains lap record holder Josh Brookes, who took the dou­ble vic­tory at the Hamp­shire cir­cuit last time he raced there on his way to the 2015 BSB ti­tle. “When peo­ple out­side the UK ask what my favourite cir­cuit is and I re­ply with Thrux­ton they’re like, ‘Where?!’.

“There’s a theme, or a style, to Bri­tish cir­cuits. They’re old style, of­ten con­sid­ered more dan­ger­ous than in­ter­na­tional cir­cuits, but Thrux­ton is dif­fer­ent. It’s so wide, it feels like it’s three times the width of most BSB cir­cuits when you’re used to rid­ing at the nar­row Oul­ton, Cad­well and even Brands.

“Thrux­ton feels more like Brno! Typ­cial UK cir­cuits have a lot of slower cor­ners, first and sec­ondgear stuff. It’s all about a short blast of power and then get­ting back on the brakes again. At Thrux­ton you spend more time in third, fourth, fifth and sixth gear. You’re con­stantly go­ing through the gears, throt­tle open while on the side of the tyre.”

The air­field cir­cuit, which still has an ac­tive run­way in­side its perim­iter, is no­to­ri­ous for shred­ding tyres, as you’d ex­pect when rid­ers are cov­er­ing 2.3 miles in 74 sec­onds, mak­ing it a think­ing rider’s cir­cuit. While the balls-out ap­proach is un­doubt­edly the fastest way around Thrux­ton on a sin­gle lap, it’s not nec­es­sar­ily the key to a race vic­tory.

“The track sur­face is so dif­fer­ent to any­where else,” says Brookes. “It’s su­per-abra­sive and I hope they never change it! It adds an el­e­ment that means you can’t just rely on rid­ing skill and tech­nique, you have to use your brain, too. You need to be

able to de­cide when is the right time to push, or hold back and save the tyre.

“You re­ally have to learn how your bike is be­hav­ing with the tyres in prac­tice to be able to do well. It’s not as sim­ple as go­ing as quick as pos­si­ble.

“You start to worry about some rid­ers as they’ve got in­sane speed in prac­tice, but then you see them in the race they can only do three or four laps be­fore drop­ping off. On the other hand, I of­ten look slow to start at Thrux­ton be­fore com­ing strong in the race, but that’s be­cause I’m work­ing on race strat­egy in prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing. That’s im­por­tant ev­ery­where, but it’s on an­other level at Thrux­ton.”

Brookes’ en­joy­ment of Thrux­ton is a good prospect for the cham­pi­onship with the Aussie hav­ing been build­ing pace over the last two rounds. At Snet- ter­ton, he fin­ished sec­ond to Be Wiser Du­cati’s Shane Byrne twice be­fore go­ing on to show pace as quick if not quicker than the se­ries leader at Brands Hatch be­fore crash­ing out. If things go well at Thrux­ton, it could be the launch of a strong and sus­tain­able ti­tle at­tack.

“We took our first win at Brands in 2015, but then went on to Thrux­ton and ce­mented our chal­lenge with an­other dou­ble,” Brookes adds. “I’m hop­ing there can be a sim­i­lar pat­tern this year!”

Brookes took a dou­ble win last time he raced at the Hamp­shire cir­cuit

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