Thrux­ton BSB: Ti­tle fight wide open

Fast Aussie loses out on dream dou­ble af­ter penul­ti­mate lap crash

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - OLI RUSHBY BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com @Mc­n­sport mo­tor­cy­cle­news

Josh Brookes and Anvil Hire Yamaha were on course for a fairy­tale dou­ble at Thrux­ton this week­end right up un­til the mo­ment the Aussie dra­mat­i­cally crashed out of the lead of the sec­ond race.

Brookes was in im­pe­ri­ous form in the open­ing en­counter as he seemed to cruise com­fort­ably to his first race vic­tory since leav­ing the se­ries as cham­pion in 2015. An in­tel­li­gent ride in race two saw him bide his time be­fore pounc­ing on his ri­vals to take the lead and it all looked set to go his way un­til he tucked the front on the penul­ti­mate lap, hand­ing vic­tory to Smiths BMW’S Peter Hick­man.

The crash is his sec­ond in as many rounds af­ter he also lost the front while chas­ing down Shane Byrne for the lead at Brands Hatch last time out, but the 2015 cham­pion is adamant the crash wasn’t down to him push­ing too hard this time.

“Right now I’m in that mo­ment where I’m hop­ing I’m go­ing to wake up and it’s all a bad dream,” a dev­as­tated Brookes told MCN af­ter the race. “I’ve had an­swers for ev­ery crash I’ve ever had. At Brands Hatch, I was push­ing too hard. I’ll hold my hands up to that. I was try­ing to run lap record pace ev­ery lap to catch Shakey and I fell. That was my fault, but I just can­not un­der­stand what hap­pened here.

“I had a per­fect gap, it wasn’t so big that I started to lose con­cen­tra­tion and make mis­takes and it wasn’t so small that I could be pres­sured into one. I thought I had just enough to bring it home with a lap-and-a-half to go. The bike felt good, I had no warn­ing. It was bizarre. The data shows I was slightly wide in the cor­ner be­fore but I was back in po­si­tion by the time I’d got to the cor­ner where I crashed. This is go­ing to haunt me for a long time.”

De­spite his race two DNF, Brookes’ sta­tus as a cham­pi­onship chal­lenger is now plain to see. Although he cur­rently sits fifth in the stand­ings he’s shown the pace to win and con­sis­tently run at the front.

“It’s not just win­ning that feels good, it’s the change from not win­ning” he said. “It’s al­most like I be­came a lit­tle com­pla­cent in 2015. I’d won so many races I started to ex­pect it and you shouldn’t in this game as I’ve just shown with the crash. But that said, we’ve shown we’ve got the pace to chal­lenge for the cham­pi­onship and that’s what we’re go­ing to do, but if it’s not my year, it’s not my year!”

With the ques­tions sur­round­ing the pedi­gree of the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team now an­swered, Brookes says he’s con­fi­dent the bike is in a good place but re­fuses to rest on his lau­rels as the Show­down ap­proaches.

“The bike is very good to ride and I think in years gone by it could have dom­i­nated. But this year it’s so com­pet­i­tive that you can’t dom­i­nate. Yes, we’re in a good place with the bike now but we can’t just take that and sit still. No­body else is go­ing to do that so we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas and keep find­ing im­prove­ments.”

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