2 July 2017
Double Podium delight
Brookes and Anvil Hire Yamaha light up Snetterton
Josh Brookes and the Anvil Hire Yamaha team have strengthened their position within the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship this weekend, after picking up two podiums in both races in Norfolk, with Shaun Winfield working hard picking up two top 20 finishes after a challenging weekend
Following free practice, Brookes finished sixth in the combined times, after a technical fault in FP2 where the team worked hard to replace the stricken part on Friday night, he headed into qualifying confident of a solid showing.
His team mate Shaun Winfield struggled with the set-up of his machine around the technical Snetterton track, but he soon found a breakthrough in the final session, and headed into qualifying high in confidence.
Q1 saw Winfield drop out at the first time of asking, with Brookes heading straight into Q2 after improving on his fastest time of the weekend. In the second 10-minute session, Brookes went faster once again posting a 1:47.3, sending him straight into ‘Superpole.’
After sitting and watching the opening six laps ‘BadBoy’ headed out for his lap and posted a 1:47.5, which would line him up in seventh and at the head of the third row for Sunday’s first race, with Shaun in 24th.
From the lights in race one, both riders made great starts and after lap one Josh held his grid spot of sixth place, but he soon started to make his way through the pack as he chased down the leading group.
By mid-race Brookes had worked his way into second place, and went in pursuit of race leader Shane Byrne, setting his fastest lap of the race in the process. Unfortunately, the Ducati man soon responded and past Brookes, who rode strongly, picking up a safe second place.
Winfield made up three places on the opening lap, and began to battle with a group of riders for 15th place. As he pushed hard to catch the group ahead, Shaun made a slight mistake and dropped back to 19th, where he rode a lonely race taking the flag inside the top 20.
Brookes would start race two from second on the grid by virtue of his lap time in race one, and the middle of the second row, with Shaun starting 21st, after notching up his fastest lap of the weekend.
From the lights Brookes made a fantastic start and grabbed the holeshot, with the chasing pack close behind. As the fuel load dropped Brookes continued to hold off Shane Byrne who was closing in, however with only two laps to go Byrne made his way past and Josh just couldn’t respond and crossed the line in second place, picking up his 69th MCE BSB podium.
Shaun also made a solid start and began to battle in a group of four riders, chasing down Andy Reid. Winfield again bettered his fastest lap of the weekend, as he kept swapping and changing places with Westmoreland and Zanotti.
As the race went on, Winfield lost grip with his rear tyre and just couldn’t catch the group ahead, crossing the line in 20th, picking up another top 20 finish.
After the weekend, a pleased Josh Brookes said: “It’s a reflection of the hard work we’ve done in the previous rounds, it’s like an iceberg, what you see on the TV is only the tip there is a lot of work going on in the background that has brought us to this position. We’ve had what have appeared to be difficult weekends in results but it’s a process, we have all the ingredients to make a winning bike but all the pieces have to go in the right place.
“I think this weekend is a reflection of all the hard done recently, and I hope now this us breaking through that surface and shows what the potential is for later on down the line. I’ve said it before it’s almost a replay of 2015, I have to learn the process, structure and the people and build on the weaknesses till you make them strengths, but it does feel very much like 2015 and hopefully the pattern continues.
“Qualifying seventh was clearly my lack of performance through qualifying, and having to start on the third row I only have myself to blame. But qualifying isn’t always a representation of what your race package is, but we were burning away in the background focussing on a good race pace.
“To be second to Shakey and the Be Wiser Ducati team is not a bad weekend, they set a very high benchmark and if we compare ourselves to them it’s not so bad.”
A frustrated Shaun Winfield added: “I struggled at the start of this weekend, set up wise anyway, and missing the test here before didn’t help us. We worked hard on the set up for qualifying but we still couldn’t get it right. I sat down with Josh and he helped me out with what direction I should be going in, but I couldn’t bolt his settings in to my bike because I don’t run the lap times he does.
“I got a good start in race one and ran with Zanotti, but then I nearly ran into the back of him and I had to run on, which cut my race short and I brought the bike home in 19th. I got a good start in race two again and I put in my personal best lap, and I was keeping a constant pace, which is what I wanted.
“All in all it’s been a tough weekend but I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and I can’t wait for Brands Hatch now.”
A delighted Team Owner Rob Winfield summed up: “I’m absolutely delighted with this weekend, like Josh has said it’s a reflection of all the hard work we’ve been putting in as a team. Two podiums are fantastic, it’s what we needed after the last few rounds and we’re getting closer. We’re now only 29 points off the top of the Championship, and we’re heading to tracks that Josh likes, so there’s a lot more to come, trust me.
“Shaun has struggled this weekend but he’s worked through the sessions professionally and he’s listened to Josh and learnt from him, which pushed him through the races. He’ll come back stronger at Brands, and I expect him to be fully within the points there.
“I need to place on record my thanks to everyone involved, all of our sponsors and partners, without them this wouldn’t be possible and certainly all the team, I’m bursting with pride and I can’t wait for Brands Hatch now.”
Josh now sits fourth in the MCE British Superbike Championship on 118 points, only 29 points behind Championship leader Luke Mossey.
The team now have a two-week break before they head south to Kent, and to the Brands Hatch GP circuit for round six of the MCE British Superbike Championship.