For Josh Brookes to have one race crash on a British Superbike Championship weekend is rare but for him to have two on the same day is both unimaginable and unthinkable.
But that’s exactly what happed at Brands Hatch on Sunday and it’s left him with a major battle to reach the Showdown.
It’s been a mixed season so far for the 2015 and 2020 champion but recent races have seen him edge ever closer to the front on the MCE Ducati and the start of the weekend at Brands followed a similar pattern.
Sixth in qualifying was his first time on the front two rows since the mixed conditions at Oulton Park in May and he ran with the leading group for the majority of Saturday’s 15-lap Sprint race. Sixth was still far from the desired outcome but the positive aspect was that he was only four seconds off the podium with the ten points moving him up to eighth in the standings. Briefly.
“Starting from the second row in Saturday’s race was a bit more like it but just before the start, the bike temperature went up to 120 degrees,” he said. “I thought it was from the heat of the day or from being held on the line a long time and although it dropped, it only went to 110 rather than the 90 it usually runs at.
“It distracted me in the early laps and allowed the front five riders to get away but when I realised it wasn’t going to get any worse, I concentrated on getting into a decent rhythm. It was a bit frustrating as we’re so close to the front group now but we’d made progress and to move into the top eight of the championship and the final Showdown spot was something.”
However, that was as good as it got and Sunday was most certainly a huge disappointment for him and the team. Sunday’s first 20-lap race saw Brookes drop back to the edge of the top ten in the early stages and the race was only six laps old when he was one of several riders to come to grief at Stirling’s.
The final race of the weekend was even worse though as some jostling in the first few corners with Rory Skinner ultimately ended with Skinner making contact with Brookes at Westfield halfway round the first lap and he crashed out. Zero points on the day meant he dropped back from eighth to 11th in the championship table.
“Today’s clearly been disappointing and whilst I thought yesterday was tough, today’s topped that. In the first race, I felt like I was riding well and hanging with the front group so I was waiting to see how the longer race would affect people but, sadly, I never got far as the front went with no warning.
“I’ve never crashed there before and never even had any moments so I can only assume I was going too quick, carrying too much lean angle or applying too much front brake. Something caused it.
“In the second, there was a lot of jostling in the first few corners and a bit of desperation by some riders which was a bit strange as it was going to be another long race. I don’t understand why riders bump and barge into others on the first lap when the race is 20 laps long.
"It’s been a damaging day so all we can do is dust ourselves down, quite literally, and look ahead to the next round.”
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