Josh Brookes’ hopes of retaining his Bennetts British Superbike Championship may remain slim but the VisionTrack Ducati rider still, crucially, has a chance and was happy to be back contesting the wins once more at Oulton Park.
There’s no doubt his upturn in form is continuing to gather pace and, after claiming pole position, a brace of second place finishes at the weekend helped reduce his deficit to the championship leader from 69 points to 51 with 150 points still on offer.
“Irrespective of wins and podiums, I’m just pleased to be back in the fight again and it’s nice to be racing hard at the head of the field,” he said afterwards.
“I felt good leading on Saturday and although Jason (O’Halloran) got by on a few occasions, it was never more than for a few corners although I could see he was making a few mistakes. When the attack came from Tarran (Mackenzie), I didn’t have the grip to fight with him and couldn’t get close to even attempt a pass, but I can’t complain with second.”
The weekend then took a dip as he, uncharacteristically, crashed out on the final lap of Sunday’s opening encounter having lost the front on the way into Druids. He was lying fifth at the time and had he picked up those points, the championship table would have looked even better.
“I can’t lie, I’m distraught with dropping the bike on the last lap of Sunday’s first race, not just for losing points but for actually doing it as that’s not me. I lost a place on the last lap on Saturday so was determined it wasn’t going to happen again and wanted to maintain my pace right up until the end but obviously, the grip from the tyres wasn’t there and I just lost the front.”
Both he and the team regrouped for the final race of the weekend and whilst he, like the rest of the field, had no answer to the blistering pace set by Tommy Bridewell, he was very much the best of the rest to take his second runners-up position of the weekend.
Whilst again disappointed, understandably, not to have won at one of his favourite, and most successful, venues, he was able to see the bigger picture and recognise how both he and the team have turned their fortunes around.
“The team did a great job in getting the bike ready for race two and whilst I could only admire Tommy riding into the distance, I think we can be proud of the results this weekend. Of course, I want to win but to come from as far back as what we were a few weeks ago, to where we are now is testament to everyone’s hard work.”
“At the same time, now I’m back in the fight, I want to win races again, so we’ll keep pressing on. With everything that’s happened this weekend, the championship’s been turned on its head and I’ll keep fighting and keep giving 100% as always.”